Soundwaves frozen in time: Istanbul TV and Radio Tower nears completion

The dual skins of Melike Altinisik Architects’ Istanbul TV And Radio Tower, a 369m tall new telecommunication structure, is set to transform the Turkish city’s skyline.

by Devanshi ShahPublished on : Mar 30, 2021

Defined city skylines are often viewed as markers of a city’s identity. At 369m, Istanbul TV and Radio Tower, designed by Melike Altinisik Architects (MAA), stands apart from its immediate context, in hopes of creating a new visual language for the Turkish city. Having won the design competition, the construction of the tower began in 2016, and now the structure is almost complete. As opposed to designing a simple tower that addresses the immediate function of being an infrastructural building, the design plays with the larger implications of a tower in an urban setting. The scale of the structure requires a multi-fold examination. One scale would be from the ground level, at a very human-scale, which is driven by the idea of spatial experience. Another would be at a macro-level, juxtaposing the presence of the tower in the larger context of the city itself. The two scales also outline two different ways of experiencing the structure; visually and spatially.

01 min watch Scanning the Tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower | Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
Scanning the Tower Video: Courtesy of Melike Altinisik Architects

When viewed from a distance, the upper section of the tower’s facade looks like a soundwave frozen in time. This is one of the defining features of the tower. While the studio initially studied the wind patterns of the region to ensure the stability of the structure, they used their study to generate and develop a unique facade that would envelop the concrete core. The space created between the vertical core and the organic spindle is not functional. However, the rhythmic nature of this section of the tower does have an impact on the skyline of Istanbul. The silhouette of the building is never constant. Depending on the direction that one is looking at the building, the outline of the structure will change. This may also create an illusion of the structure being in motion.

  • The base of the structure includes a public plaza | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The base of the structure includes a public plaza Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The base of the structure includes a public plaza | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The public plaza anchors the tower Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The base of the structure includes a public plaza | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    Depending on the direction that one is looking at the building, the outline of the structure will change Image: Courtesy of NAARO

As is the trend with most public buildings, part of the structure’s programme includes a public plaza. The tower sits on a raised plaza designed as part of the structure’s public program. The structure is also set to house a two-storey 360-degree view restaurant and an observation deck, located 400m above sea-level. Boasting a view from Asia to Europe, the tower has a hyper-awareness of the significance of its location in a larger global context. The public foyer, at the base of the structure, will include cafes, exhibition and media spaces. The entrance podium is open to the public and not restricted to the technical functions or programs of the TV and Radio Tower.

  • The interior of the space expresses the same dynamic movement along its surface as the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower | Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The interior of the space expresses the same dynamic movement along its surface as the tower Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The interior of the space expresses the same dynamic movement along its surface as the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower | Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The space created between the vertical core and the organic spindle is not functional Image: Courtesy of NAARO

The interior of the space expresses the same dynamic movement along its surface as the tower. Fragmented with the use of fluidic lines, the core concept of the space is to facilitate surprise encounters, that are slowly revealed as one experiences the spaces. This experience is also accommodated in the more technical aspects of the structure. For instance, two panoramic lifts are fitted along both sides of the building. As it ascends it will reveal more of the city to its occupants. The concrete core of the structure is nearly invisible, hidden between the exterior and interior skins of the building.

  • The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The interior of the tower features sinuous surface manipulation Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The interior is designed to facilitate surprise encounters, that are slowly revealed as one experiences the spaces Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The concrete core of the structure is hidden between the exterior and interior skins of the building Image: Courtesy of NAARO
  • The fragmented inner skin of the space incorporates the light fitting for the interior of the tower | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
    The tower offers endless vista of the city of Istanbul Image: Courtesy of NAARO

The tower by Melike Altinisik Architects from Turkey is topped by a 145-meter steel mast and is already functioning as a telecommunication centre. It is expected to open its doors to the public later in the year. Structures like this often bring to the forefront a conversation on the aesthetical aspects of urban design. Moving away from the urbanist understanding of how cities are defined, structures like Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower allows for the conversation to move away from creating space to actively shaping a skyline. The structure itself is innately interesting, but it is also important to read it as it stands in Istanbul and the transformative vision it encapsulates.

01 min watch Time-lapse of the tower's construction | Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower by Melike Altinisik Architects | STIRworld
Time-lapse of the tower's construction Video: Courtesy of Melike Altinisik Architects

Project Details

Name: Istanbul Camlica TV and Radio Tower
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Area: 29000m2
Year of completion: 2020
Architect: Melike Altinisik Architects (MAA)
Design team:
Project Design Team: Melike Altınışık in collaboration with Daniel Widrig
Project Architects:  Özge Çağlayan, Tuğba Okçuoğlu, Ayça Yontarım
Project Team:  Melih Altınışık, Tan Akıncı, Begüm Aktaş,  İrem Coşkun, Gül Ertekin, Büşra Güler, Çiğdem Nur Kebapçı, Selçuk Kişmir, Thomas Kleinow, Samed Tezgah, Ahmet Ünveren,  Alev Cansu Ovalı
Architectural Assistants: Ali Arslan, Yunus Emre Demirkıran, Zoe Georgio, Mazyvdas Samuolis, Beste Sensöz,
Competition Team: Melike Altınışık in collaboration with Daniel Widrig and Florian Dubiel (visualisation)

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