SALT (institution)

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This article is about SALT, a cultural institution in Istanbul. For the SALT treaty, see Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
Established 2011
Founded by Garanti Bank
Location SALT Beyoğlu
Istiklal Cd. No:136
Beyoğlu, Istanbul

SALT Galata
Bankalar Cd. No:11
Karaköy, Istanbul

SALT is a not-for-profit institution located in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. Opened in April 2011, SALT hosts exhibitions, conferences and public programs; engages in interdisciplinary research projects; and sustains SALT Research, a library and archive of recent art, architecture, design, urbanism, and social and economic histories to make them available for research and public use.[1]

SALT is a member of L’Internationale, an organization of six European art institutions (Moderna galerija Ljubljana [MG, Ljubljana, Slovenia]; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía [MNCARS, Madrid, Spain]; Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona [MACBA, Barcelona, Spain]; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen [M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium]; SALT [Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey] and Van Abbemuseum [VAM, Eindhoven, the Netherlands]), and artists’ archives, based on the shared use of collections and archives. L’Internationale proposes a space for art within a non-hierarchical and decentralised internationalism, based on the value of difference and horizontal exchange among a constellation of cultural agents, locally rooted and globally connected.


SALT builds upon the foundations and activities of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre, and Garanti Gallery, all of which have been dissolved. SALT’s mission is to explore critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and cultivate innovative programs for research and experimental thinking. Assuming an open attitude and establishing itself as a site of learning and debate, the institution aims to challenge, excite and provoke its visitors by encouraging them to offer critique and response.

SALT Beyoğlu, SALT Galata and SALT Ulus[edit]

Imperial Ottoman Bank Headquarters, 1896

SALT’s activities are distributed between SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata in İstanbul, and SALT Ulus in Ankara within an integrated program structure. The architectural renovation of SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata was undertaken by Mimarlar Tasarım, the office of Aga Khan Award for Architecture winner Han Tümertekin, with specific interiors commissioned to design and architecture offices from Turkey. SALT Beyoğlu’s commissions include Suyabatmaz-Demirel and Ömer Ünal; while SALT Galata features interior spaces designed by ŞANAL, Superpool, Arif Özden and Tanju Özelgin, Autoban, ZOOM/TPU and Ömer Ünal.

SALT Beyoğlu opened April 9, 2011. The original building of SALT Beyoğlu was constructed between 1850 and 1860. Opening on Istanbul’s pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi with the name Siniossoglou Apartment, the building initially functioned as retail space on street level, with domestic residences on its upper floors. When, in the 1950s, the Beyoğlu district’s population fell into decline,[2] the building ceased to function residentially, its space instead used for retail, political and artistic activities. Redesign of the building for contemporary use combines conservation of Siniossoglou Apartment’s original architectural elements, reinforcement of its structure, and a reorganization of the internal layout. SALT Beyoğlu hosts 1,130 square meters of exhibition space on three levels, as well as the Forum, Walk-in-Cinema, Shop and Garden.

SALT Galata opened November 22, 2011. Originally designed by Alexander Vallaury as the 19th century Imperial Ottoman Bank headquarters, SALT Galata is organized to enable a challenging, multi-layered program that includes SALT Research, offering public access to thousands of print and digital resources; spaces dedicated to research; workshops; an exhibition and conference hall; as well as the Ottoman Bank Museum.

As a physical entity SALT Ulus does not compete in terms of scale and prestige with SALT’s venues in Istanbul. The building in question is the annex of the former Ottoman Bank on Atatürk Bulvarı across one of the Republic’s main landscape projects Gençlik Parkı in Ankara. Used today as Garanti Bank, the main building was designed by Guilo Mongeri and was constructed in 1926. The annex housing SALT Ulus was a later addition, also commissioned to Mongeri, to provide lodging for traveling bank inspectors. Unused since 2002, this building was repurposed after the establishment of SALT, and opened as SALT Ulus on April 3, 2013. SALT Ulus is a site for exhibitions and programs, and hosts young researchers for extended periods in two research residency offices.

SALT Research[edit]

Comprising an extensive library that focuses on the arts, architecture, design, urbanism, and social and economic history, as well as an archive of physical and digital documents, SALT Research is the hub of SALT Galata and fills the building's 650 square meter central atrium. The floor and mezzanine of the atrium previously served as the bank branch and still house the entrances to the original bank safes.

Designed by ŞANAL Architecture Planning, the library’s facilities have been developed to be user-centered; to meet Library 2.0 standards; and to reflect SALT’s desire to encourage research, learning and debate. Taking Alexander Vallaury’s fusion of diverse architectural styles as a starting point, ŞANAL designed the different elements of SALT Research to respond to the history of modern design in Istanbul. Users of SALT Research may conduct online catalogue searches of the archive and library, watch art videos and other moving image material, and study archival documents on large digital screens.

SALT E-publishing[edit]

SALT’s e-books can be read in PDF and e-publication formats; they are downloadable to tablets and readers and printable. This easily accessible e-platform is available universally and, along with all of SALT’s activities, is free of charge. The first version of SALT’s e-publishing platform also provides a unique new service - readers are able to select chapters they would like to read from different e-books and construct a personalized book. After determining the title, cover, and selected contents, the customized book will be ready for download in a few minutes and sent to their e-mail address.

SALT Research Funds[edit]

SALT Research Funds were initiated in 2013 to further SALT’s dedication to experimental thought, research, social change and the multi-dimensional and critical evaluation of these concerns. In the first year, SALT awarded SALT Research Funds to six research projects engaged in issues of the built environment, questions of modernism, politics of memory and overlooked histories.[3]


Laboratory (April 9-June 1, 2011; SALT Beyoğlu)

“I am not a studio artist” (April 9-August 7, 2011; SALT Beyoğlu)

Modern Essays 1: Across the Slope (June 16-October 1, 2011; SALT Beyoğlu)

Becoming Istanbul (September 13-December 31, 2011; SALT Beyoğlu)

Modern Essays 2: Istory (November 1-December 31, 2011; SALT Beyoğlu)

Foto Galatasaray (November 22, 2011-January 22, 2012; SALT Galata)

Modern Essays 3: Modernity Unveiled / Interweaving Histories (November 22, 2011-January 22, 2012; SALT Galata)

Scramble for the Past: A Story of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, 1753-1914 (November 22, 2011-March 11, 2012; SALT Galata)

İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanAbbe: Post ’89 (January 27-April 6, 2012; SALT Beyoğlu)

It was a time of conversation (February 8-April 22, 2012; SALT Galata)

I decided not to save the world (March 20-May 20, 2012; SALT Beyoğlu)

Translated By (April 6-July 8, 2012; SALT Galata)

Modern Essays 4: SALON (April 13-June 24, 2012; SALT Galata)

İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanAbbe: 68-89 (April 20-August 26, 2012; SALT Beyoğlu)

Modern Essays 5: Graft (May 25-August 26, 2012; SALT Galata)

In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art (May 30-August 26, 2012; SALT Beyoğlu)

İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanAbbe: Modern Times (September 21-December 30, 2012; SALT Galata)

Hassan Khan (September 21, 2012-January 6, 2013; SALT Beyoğlu)

The Performance of Modernity: ATATÜRK KÜLTÜR MERKEZİ, 1946-1977 (September 21, 2012-January 6, 2013; SALT Galata)

1+8 (January 24-April 14, 2013; SALT Galata)

“Scared of Murals” (January 31-April 21, 2013; SALT Beyoğlu)

Modern Turkey’s Discovery of the Ottoman Heritage: The Ali Saim Ülgen Archive (February 8-April 7, 2013; SALT Galata)

It was a time of conversation (April 3-June 2, 2013; SALT Ulus)

太平天國/Taiping Tianguo, A History of Possible Encounters (May 8-August 11, 2013; SALT Beyoğlu)

Trespassing Modernities (May 8-August 11, 2013; SALT Galata)

subREAL (May 8-August 11, 2013; SALT Beyoğlu)

Modern Turkey’s Discovery of the Ottoman Heritage: The Ali Saim Ülgen Archive (June 12-September 15, 2013; SALT Ulus)

One, No One and One Hundred Thousand (September 10-December 26, 2013; SALT Galata)

A Promised Exhibition (September 10, 2013-January 5, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu and SALT Galata)

Modern Essays 5: Graft (September 26-November 30, 2013; SALT Ulus)

Crowds and Power (December 5, 2013-February 16, 2014; SALT Ulus)

Dismantling the Archive: Representation, Identity, Memory in an Ottoman Family (January 21-March 23, 2014; SALT Galata)

Works from the Collection of L'Internationale (February 27-April 6, 2014; SALT Ulus)

MC⁹ (March 7-May 25, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu)

GLOBAL TOOLS 1973-1975: Towards an Ecology of Design (March 11-April 11, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu)

You don't go slumming (March 22-May 18, 2014; SALT Galata)

Rabih Mroué (April 2-July 14, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu&SALT Galata)

Disobedience Archive (The Park) (April 22-June 15, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu)

A Promised Exhibition (April 22-June 21, 2014; SALT Ulus)

The Clock (May 9-25, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu)

SUMMER HOMES: Claiming the Coast (September 5-November 16, 2014; SALT Beyoğlu)

Into the Country (September 11-November 1, 2014; SALT Ulus)

From England with Love, İsmail Saray (September 13-November 2, 2014; SALT Galata)


  1. ^
  2. ^ “Effects of Revitalization in Historical City Center of Istanbul.” Evren Ozus and Vedia Dokmeci. International Real Estate Review. Vol. 8 No. 1: pp. 144-159, 2005.
  3. ^

External links[edit]

  • Autoban [1]
  • Beyoğlu Municipality official website [2]
  • Kulturkreis [3]
  • Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz [4]
  • Mimarlar [5]
  • Ömer Ünal Design Studio [6]
  • Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Center: History [7]
  • ŞANAL [8]
  • Superpool [9]
  • Suyabatmaz-Demirel [10]
  • ZOOM/TPU [11]