A shining example of modern engineering, the Central Control Building at Bilgin Architects, designed in Konya, Turkey, does everything smart to ensure the smooth running of the solar power plant. Being able to deliver 1,350 MWp from around the globe, the plant ranks among the biggest in its category, all thanks to the ample sunlight of the region. It’s an eco-friendly electric power plant, hence contributing to the fight against climate change.

Kalyon Karapınar 1.350 MWp SPP - Central Control Building by Bilgin Architects-Sheet1
Kalyon Karapınar 1,350 MWp Solar Power Plant Central Control Building_©Egemen Karakaya
Kalyon Karapınar 1.350 MWp SPP - Central Control Building by Bilgin Architects-Sheet2
Modern Engineering_©Egemen Karakaya

Karapınar: A Desert Climate 

Being a relatively arid climate, the desert region of Karapınar in Turkey thus provides a significant potential for energy generation with its plentiful resources. Although previously unsuitable for agriculture, the conversion of a 20-square-kilometer area into an energy-focused zone will be spearheaded by Kalyon Energy. This initiative will set up in place the largest solar power facility in Europe, with a capacity of 1,350 MWp, in this exceptional setting. It places the management system, advanced in sustainable energy technologies, in the Central Control Building, and at the same time, it manages the operation of the facility and at the same time symbolizes the technological advancement in sustainable energy. Strategically positioned in the desert, it is seamlessly integrated with the expansive solar arrays, with little or no shading and optimal energy efficiency.

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Karapınar, A Desert Climate_©Egemen Karakaya

Eye-catching Facade Inspired by Sky

The Central Control Building’s exteriors are not just for looks; they fit right in with the scenery and sky, merging the building with its surroundings. By reflecting a lot of light, the exteriors become part of the landscape, stretching the building’s outline into the distance. To save energy, the exteriors have two layers to reduce heat absorption. Bilgin Architects’ careful planning and use of parametric codes have created a facade that is both eye-catching and useful. When you take a closer look, you’ll notice that the square façade has some interesting differences: some parts are smooth, while others have tiny holes, each varying in size. This intentional mix not only improves the overall appearance but also has practical benefits.

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Eye-catching Facade_©Egemen Karakaya

After conducting thorough experiments and trials, Bilgin Architects developed the final design through innovative approaches like tapping into electricity from the outer surface. The additional outer surface, with its different degrees of opacity, cuts down on the sun’s harsh rays hitting the main outer surface by a remarkable 65%. This not only boosts energy efficiency but also heightens the visibility of the outer surface, adding to the overall aesthetic appeal. To ensure a cozy indoor environment, four different grades of stainless steel were utilized to craft four unique see-through surfaces. These surfaces, varying from completely solid to partly see-through, were strategically arranged on the outer surface following a specific set of guidelines. The code determines how panels are distributed to meet the lighting and transparency needs of the indoor areas. When viewed from the inside, these panels become see-through curtains, creating beautiful shadows that subtly change the indoor atmosphere. Through careful management of light and shadows, Bilgin Architects have not only designed an aesthetically pleasing exterior but also developed immersive indoor spaces that interact with natural light.

Single-Story Architectural Oasis

The Central Control Building, a single-story structure raised above the ground, contains a variety of spaces where people, nature, and technology come together. Its shiny exterior blends in with the surroundings but also offers a glimpse into the interior. The entrance area blurs the line between inside and outside with its courtyard, guiding visitors through different areas like a cafeteria and a multipurpose hall suitable for different activities and gatherings. The oasis in the middle of the building contrasts the dry landscape of the area, adding a touch of greenery. By using native plant species that need very little water, this eco-friendly oasis establishes a small climate system inside the building. Acting as both a central area for movement and a protected place for people to gather, the courtyard determines how the space is arranged in the building, dividing private and shared areas and guiding the paths people take around its edges.

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Architectural Oasis_©Egemen Karakaya

This dual-purpose courtyard is a central part of the architecture, functioning as a passive natural cooling system and a passive natural heating system simultaneously. The trees protect the building from the heat of summer and let in sunlight, providing better indoor temperatures in cold winter months without heating and cooling equipment. The courtyard also uses rainfall to feed the plants that grace the area and thus is another sustainability factor that can be observed in the natural world. The courtyard is more inviting to guests as they roam through it and end up on a rooftop terrace, lush with nature and another perfect place to chill and sit back. The views from the terrace are simply outstanding when one gazes at the solar facility, and the green roof adds a layer of insulation to the Central Control Building.

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The Entrance_©Egemen Karakaya

Well Adapted to Invisible: The Entrance

In the design, the entrance plays a crucial role as a connection point between the outdoor and indoor areas. Unlike traditional entry doors that can disrupt the Central Control Building’s flow, architects seek to blend function and beauty seamlessly. The architects’ central focus is on maintaining a consistent design approach that emphasizes harmony and continuity in the surroundings. The staircase elegantly leads visitors towards the building’s core, serving as the main marker for the entrance. The natural flow of the progression subtly leads to a moment of revelation. As visitors climb the stairs, they are greeted by two doors seamlessly integrated into the double façade, offering a breathtaking view of the inner courtyard at the heart of the Central Control Building. These intentional design decisions create an entrance that harmoniously aligns with the overall aesthetic vision. This careful attention to detail elevates the entrance from a functional feature to a spiritual gateway, beckoning visitors to explore and discover the space with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

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Ground Floor Plan_©Bilgin Architects
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Section_©Bilgin Architects
Kalyon Karapınar 1.350 MWp SPP - Central Control Building by Bilgin Architects-Sheet9
Section Detail_©Bilgin Architects


01_Kalyon Karapınar 1,350 MWp Solar Power Plant Central Control Building_©Egemen Karakaya

02_Modern Engineering_©Egemen Karakaya

03_Karapınar, A Desert Climate_©Egemen Karakaya

04_Eye-catching Facade_©Egemen Karakaya

05_Architectural Oasis_©Egemen Karakaya

06_The Entrance_©Egemen Karakaya

07_Ground Floor Plan_©Bilgin Architects

08_Section_©Bilgin Architects

09_Section Detail_©Bilgin Architects


  • ArchDaily. (2024). Kalyon Karapınar 1.350 MWp SPP – Central Control Building / Bilgin Architects. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/1013310/kalyon-karapinar-50-mwp-spp-central-control-building-bilgin-architects?ad_medium=gallery [Accessed 10 Apr. 2024].
  • BILGIN Mimari Tasarım Ofisi. (n.d.). Kalyon Karapınar GES – Merkezi Kontrol Binası. [online] Available at: https://bilgin.studio/tr/works/scada/ [Accessed 10 Apr. 2024].
  • XXI Magazine. (n.d.). SCADA | Kalyon Karapınar SPP Central Control Building. [online] Available at: https://xximagazine.com/c/scada-kalyon-karapinar-spp-central-control-building [Accessed 10 Apr. 2024].
  • Pagliacolo, E. (2024). Bilgin Architects’ Powerhouse in the Turkish Desert. [online] Azure Magazine. Available at: https://www.azuremagazine.com/article/kalyon-karapinar-central-control-building/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2024].

Simay Karadogan is an architect living in Istanbul. She is someone who loves to write, especially for his profession, and admires many subjects related to a structure. Advanced building technologies, smart and sustainable buildings, construction management and computer-aided architecture are among her favorite areas to read and research.