52.000 m2









Only 10 minutes away from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport and 25 minutes from the city center by car, ZONE is a mixed-use center of commerce located on a plot of 35,000 square meters. Designated as an industrial facility in the zoning plan, the site is at an urban threshold where residential areas end and industrial production and storage facilities begin, connecting (or separating) two different functional zones. The most important aspect of the project development story is that, as is often the case with architects, we did not only produce the architectural design and supervise construction, but we pushed the resulting product beyond the client’s demands after questioning the site’s urban development potentials. The land was purchased in 2015 with the initial aim to develop small/medium scale facilities for industrial production or warehouses for logistics. However, when we analyzed the strategic location, its rapidly increasing value, the parcel’s mathematics due to zoning, and the architectural qualities of buildings for medium/small scale production, it was clear that the site promised a lot more value than what the client planned for due to its economic and urban importance. The pine forest on the site’s 250-meter northeastern façade was one of the crucial factors which added to this value. After several meetings with the client, we agreed that a building which could simultaneously serve production, office, and exhibition functions when necessary, or one that could only be used for office or exhibition purposes on demand would fulfil the site’s promises. We also agreed that the new program could be interpreted to develop a new, desirable, and self-sufficient section of the city. As we were drawing the conceptual framework for the project, we also thought that the architectural qualities of the building and our interpretation of the zoning regulations in the area could trigger a positive transformation of the existing urban environment. With a gross floor area of 50.000 square meters which consists of 70 independent units in the form 2 or 3 story-high buildings, ZONE did not only aim to produce a unique urban character and atmosphere, but also opened to discussion the nature of a modern center of business, commerce, and production. Instead of proposing a couple of building blocks which could occupy the entire 27,000 square meters of buildable area allowed by the zoning regulations, we preferred 10 detached blocks which occupied 15,000 square meters of buildable area. Thus, it was possible to realize a building complex neither entirely at the scale of the industrial building nor at the scale of the typical residential building, but at a hybrid scale which registered the change at the urban threshold. It was particularly important to conceive of the complex like a part of the city with streets and public spaces and to establish a strong relationship with the project’s surroundings by emphasizing the elements of landscaping and urban design. As the basic components that make up this piece of the city, we designed two- and three-story blocks, all of which can take natural light and fresh air. The blocks receive natural light from two directions whenever possible and are entered directly from the ground floor as necessitated by commercial functions. The most essential element which played a formative role in articulating this architectural language and creating the urban space is the prefabricated reinforced concrete construction system, which the project budget almost imposed. Prefabricated construction is usually discussed with reference to its limitations rather than its potentials regarding the existing stock of implementation in Turkey. Therefore, the most difficult but key challenge of the project was the research and experimentation that we undertook on prefabricated construction. ZONE was born out of the concerted effort to produce high quality in architectural design and building construction after thinking on and finding alternatives to the solutions previously realized by this common and simple system, both at the scale of building and detailing. The load-bearing skeleton is of prefabricated reinforced concrete elements and the facades were clad by using 20 cm-thick prefabricated and self-insulated glass fiber reinforced concrete panels. Using these specially developed prefabricated facade panels floor to floor eliminated the need for a wall on which cladding is usually attached and made it possible to use an extra 20 cm of depth in space after the panels were anchored on the building’s structural frame. While this gain might seem small regarding a single unit, 2000 m2 of extra space was made possible in the whole building complex and the façade fully returned the investment for its development. With ZONE it was possible to combine two construction techniques which were usually utilized to produce different building types and qualities, that is, a cheaper construction system usually preferred for industrial structures utilized for a building of much higher quality and for contrasting functions. As it was possible to span about 11 meters by the pre-stressed prefabricated beams in each independent unit, completely flexible interior spaces could be realized to meet different user demands. From the start in 2016 to 2021 when the building was completed, the construction process withstood the impact of an extraordinary series of unfortunate events all over the world and especially in Turkey. Against all these odds, the client was completely dedicated to the project and maintained a harmonious relationship with the architect from the earliest conceptual design phase to the very end. This unconditional support which ensured the project to be realized without compromise is as valuable as the architect’s efforts in realizing the final qualities of the building.