Credit to its unique geographical position; straddled between South-eastern Europe and western Asia, picturesque Turkey has always been perceived as a bridge or a barrier between these two continents throughout the history of its known 4000 years. A period this long given Turkey centuries of fabled and picturesque architecture. 

9 examples of modern architecture in Turkey
Izmir Opera House _©Ozel Office

Eminent widely for its Ottoman architecture, Turkey’s architecture kept evolving through Neoclassical, Bauhaus, Art Deco, International to Brutalism, and finally into Contemporary and Modernism, with utmost felicity. The economic liberalization in the 1980s led to the attraction of the private sector’s architecturally dominant buildings with new materials in an otherwise government-dominant territory. This reform allured notable architects around the world to Turkey and to produce modernist architectural masterpieces.

Of the many, here are the ten splendid examples of buildings portraying modern architecture in Turkey:

1. Selçuk Ecza HQ

Based in Istanbul, the Selcuk Ecza Headquarters is an office building designed by Tabanlioglu Architects to look more like a cluster of houses linked by roof gardens, patios, streets, and atriums. The five-story building has three stories for office use and two underground floors for car parking. Over the parking lot, the first basement floor is at level with the sunken garden. 

The offices, multi-purpose rooms, workers dining hall, sports, and lounge zone, also have convenient access to the lush landscape. Its design aimed at bestowing the office with a more home-like comfortable atmosphere. Because of the building’s transparent glass facade, the interior spaces get illuminated with ambient daylight. 

A mesh-like envelope has also been yielded to improve the performance of passive climate control.

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Selcuk Ecza Headquarters_©Thomas Meyer
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Interior of Selcuk Ecza Headquarters_©Thomas Meyer
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Night View of Wire-mesh Envelope around Glass Façade of Selcuk Ecza Headquarters_©Thomas Meyer

2. Varyap Meridian

With a LEED sustainability accreditation and an innovative approach in planning, the Varyap Meridian is one of Turkey’s first and finest mixed-use buildings. An engulfing number of 1500 residential units, a 300-key hotel and conference centre, commercial office space, and associated landscaped areas with outdoor pools, landscaped water features, public squares, and sub-grade parking are all part of the development. 

The Meridian’s architecture incorporates Istanbul’s distinctive setting and history, with a radiant tiled facade that ranges from terracotta to blue to white.

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View of Varyap Meridian_©Nikola Sarnavka
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View of C Blok Varyap Meridian_©Varyap
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View of Meridian Tower from Outdoor Pool_©Archinet

3. The Farm Of 38° 30°

The Farm of 38° 30° is a quintessential and boutique dairy factory whose monumental form follows a contemporary approach. Wonder how it got its unusual name? Being located in the village of Afyon Tazlar, its coordinates of “38° 30° Valley of Art” were the driving force behind this name. Rather than simply being a production space the building also maneuvers as a cheese showroom and a museum. 

In an ellipse enclosing an enclosed courtyard, the structure encompasses the sequential production mechanism and spaces, thereby allowing the visitors to observe the production of cheese through the transparent facade in a unique 360° inviting environment.

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View of The Farm Of 38° 30°_©Alp Eren – ALTKAT Architectural Photography
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Entrance of The Farm Of 38° 30°_©Alp Eren – ALTKAT Architectural Photography
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The Cheese Production Room_©Alp Eren – ALTKAT Architectural Photography

4. Antalya Aquarium

The analytical and innovative design of the Antalya Aquarium aimed at spinning the relationship between the ground and undersea level upside down. The key aspects of design were determined with the intention of vanishing the Aquarium in the site’s profile and harmonising with the topography. The façade is adorned with undulating waves in varying colours, reflecting the fluid nature of water. 

The entrance foyer on the ground floor houses a visitor information zone, an amphitheatre, and dining facilities. A ramp leads visitors to a public exhibition path, which includes a winding sequence of fish tanks and a 131-meter immersive tunnel.

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Antalya Aquarium_©Ket Kolektif, Courtesy of Bahadir Kul Architects
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Winding Underground Tunnel_© Antalya Aquarium, Antalya, Turkey – POLİN GROUP (

5. Sancaklar mosque

Distant from the surrounding suburban communities, the 700-square-metre Sancaklar Mosque defies the traditional architectural styles set by the iconic mosques designed in earlier history. The contemporary and brutalist nature of the mosque creates an atmosphere that emphasizes solely on the essence of the religious space. 

The structure was developed into a plaza composed of shallow terraced steps, and was designed by Turkish firm Emre Arolat Architects using a combination of light grey stone and reinforced concrete. Grass tufts have sprouted around the lodged stonework in the sloping landscape, assisting in integrating the steps and roof into the surrounding landscape consequently forming rows of steep, earthen steps leading down to the harmoniously sunken structure.

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Sloping Landscape leading to sunken structure_©Thomas Meyer
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Concrete-Lined Prayer Hall_©Thomas Meyer
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A Pool of Shallow Water to the Entrance_©Thomas Meyer

6. Raif Dinçkök Cultural Centre

Situated in the town with a dual nature of lush nature to one side and industries on the other, the Raif Dinçkök Cultural Centre Cultural Centre aims at reconciling these conflicting aspects. Perforated weather-resistant steel with a rusty surface was chosen for exterior surfaces, as a reverence to industry and the resilient forces of nature. The facade also allows air and light to penetrate this steel skin.

The significance of an aesthetic role in the Raif Dinçkök Cultural Center transitions into an incredibly fluid distribution of internal spaces, which is completely independent of the outer envelope: the visitor has the sense of being in a wide-open space, notwithstanding the many events that take place there, such as seminars, exhibits, studies, and entertainment.

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Rusty Metal Mesh Façade of Raif Dinçkök Cultural Centre_©Archilover
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Liminal spaces within Raif Dinçkök Cultural Centre_©Courtesy of Emre Arolat Architects
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Raif Dinçkök Cultural Centre_©Courtesy of Emre Arolat Architects

7. Levent Kanyon Mall

Kanyon Mall is a vibrant and energetic space with a family of bold architectural forms that form a dynamic and iconic composition. The perspectives of Kanyon continually shift, resulting in a vibrant and energetic space that engages users. A central open-air walkway binds the citizens, carving soft curves in the building forms to create a dramatic “canyon” effect. 

The 600-foot-long canyon offers an exploratory route that connects the project’s workplace, residential, retail, and entertainment users with a variety of courtyards, terraces, an amphitheatre and other spaces where staff, residents, and visitors can interact. The project’s flexible and natural layout is enhanced by landscaping and water features.

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View of Levent Kanyon Mall_©Izzet Keribar
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Central Open-air Walkway_©Izzet Keribar
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Exploratory Route with Interactive Spaces_©Izzet Keribar

8. Odunpazari Modern Museum

Situated at the threshold of a small scale complete with Ottoman wooden houses, the Odunpazari Modern Museum reflects the town’s streetscape quality in its design. The design strategy of the museum comprises stacking together small boxes to accentuate the museum’s volume in aggregation to create urban scale architecture. The interlocking and stacked boxes appear in disparate sizes to produce different scales of exhibition space within. 

Large-scale artworks and installations can be seen in the ground-level boxes. The concrete front-timber cladded boxes get smaller as you get further up the levels, enabling you to view smaller, more personal works of art.

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View of Odunpazari Modern Museum_©Batuhan Keskiner
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Skylight Atrium at Odunpazari Modern Museum_©NAARO
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Informal classroom at Odunpazari Modern Museum_©Batuhan Keskiner

9. Çamlıca TV and Radio Tower

The Camlica TV and Radio Tower tower that unfurled its doors in September 2020 peaks at a total height of 369 metres (589 feet) above sea level, is visible from all over the city and will serve as a social centre in contrast to its technological purpose. Cafes, bars, observation decks, and exhibition spaces will be found on the TV and radio tower and its surroundings. 

When perceived from distinct viewpoints around the area, the telecommunications tower’s silhouette evokes a sense of movement and rhythm. The project’s goal is to reflect Istanbul’s development as a megacity.

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View of the Tower_©Melike Altınışık Architects_
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Fluid Form of the Tower_©Melike Altınışık Architects_
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Lobby of the Tower_©Melike Altınışık Architects’

10. Sur Yapi Offices

The Sur Yapi offices had dynamic purposes over time; first as a sales office for a nearby commercial complex and then as headquarters for a construction company. Thus, the building had to be designed for multi-purposes and nothing too specific. The warm and natural coloured structure has three floors: two underground and one above ground. 

The Sur Yapi office building also accommodates an exhibition hall. The southern glass facade is enveloped by a wooden panel facade to tweak up interior illumination by protecting from excessive sunlight and also to provide natural ventilation. The facade that faces north towards the residential complex offers more of an open design rendering the overall structure with a modern, functional and provocative design.

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Southern Facade of the Suri Yapi Offices_©Gurkan Akay
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Northern Facade of the Suri Yapi Offices_©Gurkan Akay
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Interior of the Suri Yapi Offices_©Gurkan Akay


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An architecture student who is a besotted reader and believes that writing is for the soul. She is always receptive and surmises that learning is growing which is fuelled by her fascinated for history, travel, architecture and literature.