In the beginning of 20th century, the urban movements towards cities resulted in the need for high quality urban residences for the urban bourgeoisie. In the Nişantaşı-Teşvikiye district where the hotel is situated, an urban fabric constituted of adjacent buildings up to 7-8 storey high created a modern urban space characterized by density and continuity. This fabric can be conceptualized as a structurereigningthe whole district which has an architectural quality, created through the principles of proportion and order.
The site in which St. Regis Hotel is located, is one of the plots which constitutes this structure. The new building infills its plot and sustains principle of density and continuity. The mass of the building follows Neo-classical/Renaissance order of base-body-coronetcharacterising the existing urban fabric. The building adapts itself to daily uses: the base exposes itself to the ground level, accompanying the life on the street. The rooms in the body of the building are exposed to three different sides that circumscribe the plot. The coronet settles on the roof with a set back from the facade and the articulation of mass is completed.
The main entrance of lobby faces Maçka Street. Retail units on the ground level and the Brasserie keeping the corner, in relation to the street and the lobby, creates encounters between hotel visitors and domestic-upper-middle-class.The facade articulation of the building is affected by the contrast between Abdi İpekçi and Maçka Streets. Urban fabric at Abdi İpekçi side stands for the structure which the new building is mimetically dependant on. Vertical proportions of the openings on facade is the most dominant character in visual memory. Parts of facade occupied by each room is divided into three vertical parts, forming a vertically stretched and deepened grid to inherit the massive impact of the “existing”. The fragments are widened where the room behind gets larger, where the grid becomes heterogeneous.
Feeling of containment in urban space, constituted by the début-de-siècle buildings that holds two sides of Abdi İpekci Street, melts into air when you turn the corner and face Maçka Park.
The facade of the hotel that faces Maçka Valley is exposed to ‘nature’ –sun and wind- as well as the Istanbul scene which has been naturalised with the distance brought by the green gap in-between. It builds a shutter system to protect itself from the south-west sun and that are operable by the visitors providinga “living facade”, a changing composition due to time of day, weather and user preferences.
This reference to the existing urban structure has been continued in the interior design. The sense of place in this respect was sought for in an exclusive research regarding the period of 1910s-20s, the turn of Maçka’s destiny in terms of social & urban context. A harmony that is comprised of the traces of this period and today’s contemporary inclinations were thought to be of greatest importance.
The main issue of St Regis Istanbul building was to exactly fit in the modern urban context caharacterized by density and continuity both physically and socially. The user profile of the Nisantasi-Tesvikiye district and the amenities the building offer coincide, as well as the architectural massing and surface caharacter follow the existing order. Even the interior design while having a contepmporary style, also sustains the soul of the district, dating back to the period of 1910’s-1920’s. As a matter of sense of place, the urban and social continuity created the main vertebra of the design.
The continuity of the pavement with special outdoor design, together with art installations welcomes the street user and becomes a part of the street itself. “Love” by Robert Indiana and “Luke” by Tony Cragg, “Luke” by Tony Cragg at the main hotel entrance and finally, “LOVE” the iconic Pop Art sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana located at the intersection of the Macka and Abdi İpekçi Street, just at the entrance of St. Regis Brasserie, brings a new vibrancy to the urban life of Nişantaşı, and marks the entrance to Istanbul’s 5th Avenue with the most beautiful emotion.Moreover, the museum quality collection which can be viewed throughout the hotel is a combination of contemporary pieces from the Demsa Collection, the client’s collection, and art commissioned especially for The St. Regis İstanbul and includes masterpieces by celebrated Turkish and International artists, highly contributing to the cultural life and creating a social link with the city user.
The surface texture of the two main façades were determined according to both existing diverse urban fabric of the two streets and directions they face. On the east façade, where the continuation of the classical order was crucial, there was no need for a shutter system, other than the curtains in the room to keep privacy, while on the south-west facade, facing the large Macka Park,needed extra environmental precautions. The user-operating shutter system applied to this façade had to be designed both to provide shading in the afternoon and keep the panorama of the park and Bosphorus. Aluminum shutter system was composed of vertical lamellas, angled with careful calculations accroding to the south-west sun rays and panorama on south, that made it possible to get rid of the uv effect, while keeping the vision to the panorama.
As the unavoidable result of such a contextualistic approach, tha majority of building materials were chosen locally. All kinds of natural stone used at various parts of the hotel were supplied from Turkish querries, the most significant of which is the marble applied in hotel bathrooms,in the Marmara marble, famous for being the material of traditional Turkish baths in Istanbul. All of the supplies and sub-contractors were chosen through local cmpanies, that provides ease of access when needed.
EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture was founded in 2004 by Emre Arolat and Gonca Paşolar in Istanbul, as the continuation of Emre Arolat’s experiences at his parents’ office, Arolat Architects, since 1987. Today, EAA has turned out to be one of the largest architectural offices in Turkey with a team of more than 50 people, reintegrating parents Şaziment and Neşet Arolat as partners. The firm continues its practice at İstanbul and London offices with many prestigious national& international projects in that design is elaborated to the smallest detail. EAA displays a prominent presence in academic realm with Emre Arolat’s lectures, jury positions and studio tutorage at schools of architecture as Berlage Institute-Delft, Pratt Institute-New York, Middle East Technical University-Ankara. EAA’s works has been honored with many eminent awards as Aga Khan Award, The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, World Architecture Festival Awards and AR Emerging Architecture Award.