Fitas Passage
by Alper Derinboğaz

This adaptive re-use project brings life back to one of Istiklal Street’s original arcade buildings, the Fitas Passage.

Istiklal Street, a significant axis in the heart of Istanbul, is a vibrant pedestrian street that has witnessed radical changes in the urban fabric over the years. It has become a route that is passed through rather than a public space that people choose to spend time in.

Paying homage to this while revitalising the building’s relationship to the public, the project delivered a new façade onto the street and interior renovation.

The existing mid 60’s building holds a significant place in collective memory due to the cultural activities it has accommodated over time.

One of the modern examples of the city’s arcades is the Fitas Passage, dating back to the 1960s. Merging many new and unique functions, it gained an important place in the collective urban memory while adapting itself to the ever-changing identity of the street.

Accommodating one of the biggest cinemas in Beyoğlu, one of the first national prêt-à porté brands, a bar and even a concert hall where important bands of the ‘70s took stage.

However, due to transformations to the physical urban texture and the shifting of the shopping culture to the nearby Şisli district, many of the original functions ceased to exist and the ‘passage’ quality was lost within the building.

The adaptive re-use of Fitaş project aims to overcome this situation and restore the passageway character with small interventions to the original structure.

It establishes a connection between the lively Istiklal Street and the isolated texture of Kurabiye Street behind.

The interrelationship of the different functions on other floors is as crucial as the passageway function. In this way, the building is both a horizontal passageway and a vertical street.

The new façade is inspired by the 1970’s vertical signboards that helped form the identity of Istiklal Street.

The façade elements emphasise the verticality of the structure, perceived not only front-on but also from a pedestrian viewpoint.

The openings are positioned according to the functions inside, while the windows point to different views outside, emphasising the connection with Istiklal street at every level.

Derinbogaz aimed to add depth to the façade by shaping it not just as a plane, but as an articulated interface with intermediate spaces that allow the morning sunlight to penetrate into the passageway.

Author Alper Derinboğaz
Team Egemen Kaya, Bahadır Kantarci, Ece Avci, Gamze Kaya, Doruk Kayali
Location Istanbul, Turkey
Surface 11.300 sqm
Client Sifisan Fitaş
Collaborators Nova (Contractor), Kerem Basci and Erhan Gemalmaz (Project Managers),
Ersin Biderci (Site Manager), Sigma Engineering (Structural Engineering),
Kreon (Lighting Design), Yetkin Basarir (Graphic Design)
Photography Orhan Kolukisa (Yercekim), Marc Goodwin (Archmospheres)

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a project powered by Itinerant Office

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