Swanke Hayden Connell Architects' 43-storey tower in Istanbul
Foster and Partners, Benoy, Aecom and HOK visit Turkey on trade mission
Swanke Hayden Connell has won its first tower in Istanbul for 10 years, amid signs Turkey is shaping up to be a valuable market.
The news comes as executives from four major practices returned from a three-day joint trade mission to the city led by trade minister Lord Green, CBI director general John Cridland and UKTI chief executive Nick Baird.
Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, is being tipped by economists as an emerging market with long-term potential.
Faced with an expanding population – and an Olympic bid for 2020 – the government has begun a major push on infrastructure, including a third Bosphorus crossing, high-speed rail, schools and hospitals.
The country bounced back quickly from the global financial crisis. Its growth rate of 8% for the last two years was one of the world’s fastest.
With inflation and unemployment both around 10%, a substantial trade deficit and rising fuel prices, things are looking tougher this year. But the UKTI believes the longer-term outlook remains positive.
Nick Birchall, principal in charge of Swanke Hayden Connell’s Istanbul office, said: “Europe has fallen on its knees but Turkey is a honeypot for architects willing to invest in a local office.
“You don’t see many headlines and it doesn’t have a flash stand at Mipim but it has become a very strong economic nation.
“It has all the ingredients to be one of the top emerging economies in the world.”
Swanke, one of the few UK architects with a registered office in the city, has been working there for 16 years but has tripled its team in the last five.
Its order books include the second phase of a mid-rise residential development in central Istanbul, a masterplan for a student suburb, corporate fit-outs and offices.
Its most recent win is a 43-storey office tower on the Asian side which it landed through an unusual procurement process.
Rather than holding a design competition with four invited architects – which would have cost it $120,000 – the client offered Swanke $40,000 to devise three options and the Palladium Tower is due to complete in 2014.
The promise shown by Istanbul is strong enough to have lured Foster and Partners back to the city it quit in 2009.
The practice shut its office there at the height of the global financial crisis, when it also closed Berlin and shed hundreds of staff.
But last week partner Zak Ayache returned to the city on a scouting mission led by trade minister Lord Green.
Three other senior architects were also on the three-day trip: Anthony Leslie from HOK, Benoy’s David Coyne and David Whitehouse from Aecom.
Aecom is one of a handful of UK architects with an office in Istanbul, along with RMJM and Swanke Hayden Connell.
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18 May 2012
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