Concept design and medical planning for Koc University’s Medical Sciences Campus, located in Istanbul’s Topkapi district, was prepared in collaboration with Cannon Design. From the early stages of the project, design workshops were organized with representatives of different parties, including doctors, nurses, professors, and the management team. In addition to the concept design and medical planning, Kreatif Architects also carried out the revisions that became necessary as the planning permission was altered following the completion of the first stage.
Project Name: Koc University Medical Sciences Campus
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Client: Koc University
Covered area: 240,000 m2
Project type: Health / Education
Architects: Kreatif Mimarlik + Cannon Design
Project Team: Aydan Volkan, Selim Cengic, Evren Yildirim, Ebru Kefeli, Birkan Kankatan,
Melek Altinok, Veli Firfir, Gulistan Soylemez, Ozgur Ozal
Photos: Omer Kanipak, Orhan Koluksa – Yercekim Architectural Photography
The project is based on the idea of creating a spatial organization flexible enough to respond to possible future needs and requirements while functioning as an innovative research center for the medical industry. The design also encourages the integration and collaboration of different disciplines for a better medical education.
Academic education and professional application functions are carefully positioned to mutually support each other. The campus consists of a medical faculty with research and training programs, a university hospital with a capacity of 440 inpatients, a nurse school, an advanced simulation center, high-security research labs, dormitories, social facilities, and sports halls. Accordingly, the design is shaped to create visual and physical connections between the research, training, and the hospital blocks.
The formal architectural language is formed by abstracted contemporary forms and materials, of which the origins may be traced back to the forms of another campus of the university located in a remote district of Istanbul. The forms and materials associated with hints of traditional Turkish architecture. Large eaves and stylized bay windows on the south wing reflect such concerns.
The building is formed mainly by two rectangular long blocks aligned on a narrow lot. The southern wing is designed lower and is distanced from the other one with a smooth curve to provide more natural light reaching to the atrium and to the northern wing. The opening between the wings creates an inviting entrance to the hospital. The terrace above the main entrance provides a secluded and peaceful public space for patients, doctors, students, and visitors.
The atriums used in the structural design are important architectural elements that ensure the integrity of the interiors and exteriors. Moreover, the spaces at mezzanines and basement floors can have access to far more daylight because of the skylights placed in these open spaces. The first stage of the project constitutes the medical school and the hospital at the front side of this complex, while the nurse school and future extensions such as dormitories, techno-park and social facilities are located on the north-west side that is completed in the second stage. Due to the sudden changes in the legal building regulations that occurred during the construction, the blocks in the second stage could not be built at the same height as the first-stage-blocks, as they had been previously planned. Therefore, the spatial design was revised due to some of the canceled functional programs proposed for the second stage.
Spaces such as classrooms, labs, patient and intensive care rooms, and supporting functions such as cafeteria, dining room, and offices are all either linked to an atrium in between the blocks or are visually connected to the sunken gardens. Thanks to this spatial organization all spaces, particularly those on the ground level, can benefit from the natural light no matter how further deep they are located from the facades.
One of the main challenges of the project was separating the hospital’s circulation routes from other units. Different user profiles such as patients, students, academicians, and visitors can only encounter each other only at specifically designated points to maintain high hygienic standards. Service roads surrounding the campus and basement floors are reserved for other circulation scenarios including emergency access, delivery of goods, and waste extraction.
The main principle of the design was to exclude items and decisions that could raise the cost of construction and maintenance. That is why long-lasting, easy-to-clean, and low-maintenance materials and details were preferred throughout the complex. The design also avoids luxury to create a peaceful and unobtrusive architecture that would become a neutral but comfortable context for both patients, students, and employees whose lives focus on recovery, education, and research.