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Santral istanbul ext2.JPG
SantralIstanbul exterior
SantralIstanbul is located in Istanbul
Location of SantralIstanbul in Istanbul
LocationEyüp, Istanbul, Turkey
Coordinates41°03′59″N 28°56′46″E / 41.0665°N 28.9461°E / 41.0665; 28.9461Coordinates: 41°03′59″N 28°56′46″E / 41.0665°N 28.9461°E / 41.0665; 28.9461
TypeArt museum, Energy musueum

The SantralIstanbul (Turkish: Santralİstanbul), opened in 2007, is an arts and cultural complex located at the upper end of Golden Horn in the Eyüp district of Istanbul, Turkey. The center, consisting of an energy museum, an amphitheater, concert halls and a public library, is situated within the Silahtarağa campus of Istanbul Bilgi University that was formerly the first power station of the Ottoman Empire.

Arts, cultural, educational and social buildings of SantralIstanbul, having an area of 118,000 m², are all housed in the facilities of the former Silahtarağa Power Station, which served from 1914 to 1983 for supplying Istanbul with electric power. The site is named after the Turkish word "santral" for power plant.

History of the power station[edit]

Energy museum - Control room

Redevelopment project[edit]

The redevelopment plan was an idea of Oğuz Özerden, a young businessman and founder of Istanbul Bilgi University. He succeeded to persuade Erdoğan's government, and finally obtained the rights from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources to establish and administer a cultural complex and its third campus on the site of the former power plant.[1] The related protocol foreseeing the transfer for a 20-years term was signed on May 1, 2004 at the Khedive Palace in Istanbul.[2]

The transfer did not go off without a hitch due to a lawsuit filed by the Chamber of Electrical Engineers' Istanbul branch, which had developed 2001 a plan with Istanbul Technical University to establish an electro-techno park. However, the Ministry of Energy preferred the project of Istanbul Bilgi University.[3]

The project's concept has similarity with Tate Modern in London, is however much more comprehensive having a technology museum, an amphitheater and concert halls, a public library and residents for visiting artists. The redevelopment project was realized in Istanbul Bilgi University's partnership with Doğuş Group, Ciner Group and Laureate Education, Inc. and with the main sponsorship of Kale Group and the City of Istanbul.[4] The cost of the project exceeded US$45m, far more than the budgeted US$30m.

İhsan Bilgin, Dean of the School of Architecture at Istanbul Bilgi University, was responsible for the architectural coordination, while the master plan was carried out by the architects Nevzat Sayın (public library) and Emre Arolat (multi-purpose hall). Han Tümertekin joined the team for the design work on the energy museum. The architectural work was completed in three years. Recently, some parts of the complex are still under construction.

SantralIstanbul's preliminary opening was held on July 17, 2007 in presence of Prime Minister Erdoğan. Three foreign exhibitions were on the show. Visiting hours during this period were limited between 19.00 through 23.00 hours due to ongoing construction works at the site.

Modern art museum

The official opening took place on September 8, 2007. It is expected that around 1.5 million people will visit SantralIstanbul. Former directors were Serhan Ada and Kerim Goknel. From the beginning of 2012 the complex is running by Istanbul Bilgi University Board.

Modern art museum[edit]

The Modern art museum, with 7,000 m² floorspace, consists of two new buildings constructed upon the rests of two plant buildings. The architects developed the new buildings in the original dimensions on the basis of old photographs showing the steam generating water-tube boiler section of the power plant, from which at one a wall and at the other one the grounds only had survived.

The reinforced concrete buildings have steel and glass exteriors, and are five stories high. The two buildings are connected with a glass passage. The galleries are separated with mobile drywalls in gray and white matching the colors of rust and brown. The facades of the buildings are covered with gray-colored aluminium mesh, which on the day allow the daylight enter the interior, and at night make the buildings shining like a lantern in the darkness. They can be used also as a projection screen. Today, the building is no longer an art museum, it has been transformed into an educational complex filled with classrooms.

Temporary exhibitions[edit]

  • "Modern Aspects" from Centre Pompidou in Paris, France (July 17, 2007–July 26, 2007) - 1st floor
  • "Touch me Istanbul", digital art from ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany (July 17, 2007–July 26, 2007) - 2nd floor[5]
  • "An Interpersonal Journey" selected videos from MUSAC in León, Spain (July 17, 2007–July 26, 2007) - 3rd floor[6]
  • "Light, Illumination , & Electricity", supported by the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) in collaboration with the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art (Cairo, Egypt), ZINC – ECM de la Friche Belle de Mai (Marseille, France), NOMAD (Istanbul) and SCCA Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia (September 1, 2007–November 30, 2007)
  • 10th Istanbul Biennial, film festival (September 8, 2007–November 2, 2007)[7]
  • "Mahrem", videos, photographies, plastics and installation of 9 artists from 6 countries on women's head and body covering in Islam (October 17, 2007–November 21, 2007)[8]
  • "Modern and Beyond", 450 artworks of 100 Turkish artists from 1950 to 2000 (September 8, 2007–February 29, 2008)[9]
  • "Uncharted: User Frames in Media Arts", contemporary artworks involving the large-scale use of digital and interactive media, (21 March-16 August 2009), co-curated by Peter Weibel, Bernhard Serexhe and Atif Akin[10]
  • Kesişimler-Dönüşümler (English: Intersections-Transformations) by Ahmet Güneştekin, Istanbul (March 1, 2012)[11]

Notable contributing artists[edit]

Energy museum[edit]

Public library[edit]

The public library, housed in two of the former boiler houses, is scheduled to open in 2008. The facility, the biggest library in Turkey, will be able to serve around 1,000 people at the same time and open to late hours in the night every day.

Multi-purpose halls[edit]

A new building is planned for multi-purpose halls, which is still in-planning state.

Educational buildings[edit]

Four blocks of educational buildings with two or three floors are constructed in a simple structure not to outdo the functional buildings surrounding. The design is devoted to the footsteps of the old buildings, however they have large glass exteriors enabling insight.

Residents for artists[edit]

It was expected that annually around 1,000 scholarships as artists, architects, designers, philosophers, scientists and specialists for various areas of culture will stay at the residents within the complex. But today the residency program is no longer available.

Cafes and restaurant[edit]

There are three cafes in the center. A chain restaurant called "Otto Santral" turns into a discothèque in the late night hours and also hosts different events and live music. But after the new regulations on alcohol, Otto had to close down. Today the same space hosts a new restaurant called Papaz, which doesn't serve alcohol. [12]

Admission and transport[edit]

A shuttle bus service free of charge is provided for the visitors departing from Kabatas pier, Trump Shopping Mall and the Dolapdere campus.

Eski Silahtarağa Elektrik Santrali (Former Silahtarağa Power Station)
Silahtar Mah. Kazım Karabekir Cad. 1


  1. ^ Newspaper Radikal July 21, 2007 Archived June 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (in Turkish)
  2. ^ Newspaper Yeni Şafak, May 2, 2004 (in Turkish)
  3. ^ Newspaper Turkish Daily News September 8, 2007 Archived September 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Newspaper Radikal September 10, 2007 (in Turkish)
  5. ^ Yapı (in Turkish)
  6. ^ Newspaper Akşam July 15, 2007 (in Turkish)
  7. ^ Santralİstanbul
  8. ^ Antoloji (in Turkish)
  9. ^ Arkitera September 11, 2007 (in Turkish)
  10. ^ Radikal National Newspaper March, 16 2009
  11. ^ "Güneştekin'in sergisi Santralistanbul'da". Sabah (in Turkish). 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  12. ^ Newspaper Milliyer September 17, 2007 (in Turkish)

External links[edit]