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With its wide range of architectural solutions for projects ranging from mixed-use schemes to cultural developments, Murat and Melkan Gursel Tabanlioglu of Tabanlioglu Architects reconfirmed their commitment to the Middle East with the recent opening of offices in Dubai and Qatar.
The husband-and-wife team showed off their work at last month’s Cityscape Global, where they also presented a new monographic book, Tabanlioglu Architects: Transparency and Modernity, which focuses on their architectural approach on harmony in building design and creating “places for people”.
Tabanlioglu’s current project under construction in the UAE is the Crystal Towers in Jumeirah each Residence, which will include residential and hotel units, a shopping mall, restaurants, a beach club and a modern mosque.
What is your road map in the UAE in terms of new projects?
As you know, we have offices in Dubai and Doha, and it’s been more than two years now that we are present in Dubai. Taking pride in our awards and reassured by our performance, we are open to new relations in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).
Dubai is still a showcase for world architecture. But it is not only Dubai, as Abu Dhabi and other GCC cities are asserting a great demand for urban development. This creates a valuable medium for architecture and urban design. We are willing to be a part of it and contribute to world architecture, while being a part of the regional development.
Are you targeting projects in connection with the World Expo 2020?
We are already in the region, so I trust we will naturally be included in projects within the scope of the World Expo 2020.
You have also expanded to Qatar. What are your projects there? Are other GCC countries on the radar?
We are involved in an ongoing cultural project in Doha. Due to a confidentiality agreement, we did not announce it. And yes, we are focused on the region as it is open to contemporary living standards.
The Gulf region is a very attractive and joyous professional medium for us. We are familiar with its requirements, yet there is a great opportunity to learn and share.
There is a lot of competition in the UAE market. What are you doing to distinguish yourself?
We have the courage to compete with the best architectural practices. In addition, besides being a close neighbour, we are part of the Muslim world and we know the culture, naturally.
Our signature brings prestige to investments in Turkey, so we have the positive influence to convince our clients about what we believe is right, in terms of good architecture and future planning of a new urban lifestyle.
What can the architectural practice contribute to Dubai’s vision to become a smart city?
Architecture is able to combine new and old, history and the future, private and public, technology and aesthetics, etc. In that sense, we believe smart-local should be the guideline.
How do you create an architectural landmark?
Attempts to open space for citizens, using a building’s symbolic or functional value, are important, or else the city will become a ghost city where you don’t see people, and people cannot reach each other.
What would you consider the most outstanding achievement of your work and why?
Every project is unique. In all our projects, even if it is a private investment, our major concern is to be a natural part of the urban texture and lifestyle, respecting the values of the past and existing assets. And we want our work to motivate the future.
Where do you get inspiration from? Do you try to preserve a certain philosophy or heritage in your architectural design?
Despite the most contemporary techniques and methods, there should always be something local in the design, or else the building will be generic, not specific.
How many projects are you currently working on and where is your geographical focus?
We are currently working on almost 30 projects simultaneously, nearly half of which are in Turkey. The rest are in the Mena and in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Real estate and construction have been booming in Turkey over the past years. Are there still big opportunities for architectural firms in Turkey?
The strongest performing city, Istanbul, being the locomotive and economic indicator of Turkey, is still open to new investment. This is echoed in other Turkish cities.
Source: Amo Maierbrugger, Special to Property Weekly