Zorlu a living work of art unique performance spaces for Istanbul
Zorlu Centre Istanbul, Turkey
Zorlu wanted to create a unique shopping experience within Istanbul, and within their competition-winning scheme Tabanlioglu architects linked commerce with culture.
AMPC created a brief for two theatres, a rehearsal hall/recording studio, foyers and backstage support areas with good technical access for lorries. The large theatre is designed primarily for amplified sound and occasional unamplified concerts, while the small theatre is designed for recitals and drama. Each theatre provides a unique and intimate theatre experience in Istanbul.
Zorlu Centre Conception
AMPC’s concept for the 2300 seat musical theatre included the room form, the seating layouts, stage engineering equipment and the infrastructure for performance lighting and sound. Moving architecture included the expanding and contracting proscenium area, the vertically moving front of house lighting bridge. The circular form of the lighting bridges the ceiling became a signature feature of the theatre. The architects EAA took the theatre form and draped it with continuous timber fins.
AMPC’s concept for the 750 seat drama theatre was to bring the audience as close as possible with one balcony that sloped towards the stage, embracing the performers. The technical equipment and lighting bridges were concealed by the walls and ceiling surfaces.
Both theatres are semi-submerged below ground with a terraced roof form with large spans above. The audience descends down a continuous flight of stairs to the main entrance and the foyer has three levels.
Zorlu Centre – 01
AMPC were immensely helpful and flexible, respectful of the financial challenges and cultural priorities
Zorlu Centre Gestation
During the gestation of the project state-of-the-art stage engineering was developed with 12 stage lifts, 92 power flying line sets and up-and-down stage bars, over 1000 dimmer circuits, and a full sound system, including surround sound in the musical theatre. The drama theatre has motorised line sets and a lighting and sound rig appropriate to its scale.
AMPC was also responsible for finding an international theatre operator with BK consultants. Nederlander programmed the cultural centre for three years, and AMPC worked with their staff to develop the rehearsal room Hall into a recording studio and refine the loose equipment specification to their needs.
Zorlu Centre – 02
Entering the theatre was like entering a living, breathing work of art.
Zorlu Centre Birth
The birth of Zorlu PSM took place with performance of Jersey Boys, followed by performances by Fazil Say, James Galway, Istanbul Orchestra, Cirque Eloise. In its early years, the number of performances went from 150 the first year to 500 the second season, and 800 planned for the third season. Such was the synergy between commerce and culture that five additional stages were added within the shopping area and programmed as part of the Zorlu PSM outreach.