RMJM designs Varyap Meridian - the greenest project in Turkey

UK-based international architectural practice RMJM (Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall) has revealed design details of the $1 billion mixed-use development - Varyap Meridian - one of the ‘greenest’ projects in Turkey.

The new luxury development in the Atasehir district of Istanbul is designed by RMJM’s New York and Istanbul studios.

The 372,000 square meter development for Varyap, the real estate and construction arm of Turkey's Varlibas Group International, is set on a highly visible site that features panoramic views stretching from the Bosphorus Strait in the west, to the Prince's Islands, and the Sea of Marmara to the south.

The project includes a 60-story tower, 1,500 residential units, a five star hotel, offices and conference facilities with landscaped public areas, and parking facilities. The residential section features 1,500 flats with 450 different models, ranging from studios to five-bedroom penthouse apartments. The project is designed to serve about 20,000 people.

The development, scheduled to be completed in 2011, is designed to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainability accreditation from the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and would be the first mixed-use development of its kind in Turkey. The design of the scheme will be in conformity with the environment and habitat, and will also set a new standard in sustainable design for Turkey.

Sustainable and green features incorporated into the design includes rainwater harvesting facilities, optimized water usage and reduced energy consumption, wind turbine technology, cooling water pools that enhance the external landscape, and a co-generation plant that will produce electricity for the development. The design has also integrated the environment and cultural elements of Istanbul, for instance, a spectral tiled facade, ranging from terra cotta to blue, to white.

Eco material selections and waste management, and saving 40% of energy and water will provide minimum consumption costs for the project residents. The design consideration on local topography will ensure panoramic views beyond the site, along with minimizing solar heat gain to the building facades.

Chris Jones, RMJM’s urban studio director and design principal, said that the firm has responded with a design that simultaneously addresses Istanbul’s culture, climate, architectural heritage, and cosmopolitan attitude, along with maximizing panoramic views of the Bosphorus, Marmara Sea, and Prince’s Island.

The development is located in Atashier, slated to become the new financial district and business center for the country. This process began in 2007, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed the headquarters of top banks to relocater from Ankara. The new district is intended to surpass Levant, Istanbul’s current financial district, with the transition due to be completed by 2010.

Atasehir is considered to be ideal for development thanks to its significant location at the intersection of Sabiha Gokcen Airport and Istanbul's new subway projects, and at the intersection of the two main roads between Istanbul and Ankara. The Mass Housing Administration (TOKÝ) is directing the planning of the center.

RMJM was selected through a design competition hosted by Varlibas Group.

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