Murat Tabanlıoğlu | impressions

Tabanlıoğlu Architects

World Architecture Festival 2018 | Prominent features of the project

The WAFX Prize is awarded to future projects that identify key challenges that architects will need to address in the coming years and was created as part of the World Architecture Festival’s 10th-anniversary celebrations in 2017 (WAF 10 Manifesto), where 11 winning future projects which address the Manifesto issues were entered for the prize. Key challenges spanned diverse topic areas, including climate, energy & carbon, water, ageing and health, re-use, smart cities, building technology, cultural identity, ethics, power, and justice.

Ataturk Culture Center was selected for Cultural Identity as it has been a focal point for the city since the building was constructed in the 1960s and was redeveloped after it burned down in 1970. Tabanlioglu’s design evaluated by indicating that the structure reasserts its place at the heart of the city’s arts and culture scene. Not only will the new center have one of the largest opera houses in the world, but will also feature galleries, libraries, cafes, and restaurants for visitors. The new centre forms a bond between past, present, and future, and unites through design, the urban fabric and culture of Istanbul and people.


This year, better organized, 2018 Amsterdam was a little different from the previous WAF events. Other than that, no big surprises. Like a decent restaurant, you find what you expect to find.

The organization has been developing with joining partners and a large number of sponsors, this year I guess they have been even more supportive. The communication team is very successful, not to mention the power of Paul Finch. Like WAFX, new award programs added that means new focuses to discuss. The judges are basically architects who won in the previous years and more importantly, they are at the same time competitors of another session. I believe this makes WAF special. Like all good friends join there, to evaluate each other’s work, for the good of architecture. All the presenters and judges are enthusiastic to tell and listen to each other. It’s an exchange and learning process.

While it is actually a very short time for an architect to explain his project, it is necessary to set up an effective narrative in order to make this possible and provide an environment for transferring a very valuable piece of information to the followers in a short time. Within a day, it is possible to listen to the story of almost ten well-intentioned architectural projects, the development process and details of the spatial organization directly from its designer. Besides, this year the festival’s theme was ‘Identity’, and keynotes were rather striking like Rem Koolhaas mentioned subjects like today’s digital age, publications, politics, and his recent projects in the countryside.

Next to the architects assembly, WAF creates a beneficial atmosphere for related companies to come together and to reach designers in person, they usually manage to start a permanent fruitful relationship.