Meydan shopping square by
Foreign Office Architects


Photographer Cristobal Palma has sent us a set of photos of the Meydan shopping square in Istanbul, Turkey, designed by Foreign Office Architects.

The complex was completed this summer.

All photos are © Cristobal Palma and used with permission.

The following text is from the developer, Metro Group Asset Management:

Meydan is more than a commercial property. Its transparent structure, and its adaptation to the topography create an artificial landscape where it is a pleasure to be. The center of this ensemble of shops, cafes, restaurants and movie theater complex is like the piazza of a central European town that has grown over centuries.

The roof of the complex is extensively covered with vegetation, and some parts can even be walked on, creating a small park. In the middle of the square is a water feature that has a fountain in summer, and can be used as an attractive skating rink in winter.

Meydan is Turkish for a market place or meeting place. Since the “Meydan” opened in Istanbul in late summer, as the first ever “shopping square,” it heralds a new generation of shopping centers. It is the green center and the soul of a newly created district of the city on the Bosporus.

The square can also be used for other sporting events like beach volleyball or inline skating, and maybe even for Turkish weddings. The bright terracotta-red of the floor slabs reflects the natural color of the red loam earth in this area.

The edges of the square are vertically bordered by a continuous glass skin, behind which the store operators can show their wares towards the square. Daylight floods into the shops through the extensive glass areas, and the shops are visually open to the square.

The highest point of the shopping center is the movie theater complex; its perforated brick façade can be seen as a landmark from afar and is also lit up at night.

The modern, seminal architecture of the shopping square is the work of London architects FOA, Foreign Office Architects.

Posted on Wednesday December 12th 2007 at 5:12 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • pop

    non mais c est trop plastique…

  • floyd landis

    It looks dangerous. It’s pretty clear they don’t have building codes in Turkey. Or maybe the code just says “all building shall be fascist”.

  • roadkill

    why dangerous… it is not very good looking… but no more dangerous than Trafalgar square…. you being condescending!


    Sucks. I mean really. Their starting point was clearly that other project of theirs. It’s ashame how many architects try to hone some personal stylistic groove to transplant on any site.

    It’s just post-rationalized flair.

  • Bozo

    Love it,
    Lets grab our boards and grind all over it.

  • Loo-Wee Con

    it’s not necessarily horrible, but i agree that parts of it resemble FOA’s yokohama port terminal, in fact that one image of the lady with the baby carriage looks as if it is actually taken at yokohama port terminal. same surface plane angles, light fixtures, and hand-railings.

    yes, and why does it “look dangerous”, mr. landis?

  • I agree with Water. Look at all those poor people who have to use this place everyday. It’s horrible.

  • bawmis

    you nay-sayers are all wankers….compared to a normal mall this project is a great leap forward so lets have some respect. its not the first time an architect as reused one of their own ideas, nor is it the last. they gave gehry a pritzker. Its a mall people! a mall! and id take it over any sprawling mess of box stores id ever seen.

  • togon

    what d you mean HAVE to use this place? they’re not forced to use the place.

    yeah, bozo, looks like an x-games park heh.

  • mert ucer

    shopping centers shouldn’t have building codes, and yes, we have lots of inspiration from our multi-cultural history. but it doesn’t mean that we have to build mosque-style crap everywhere.

    i agree with bawmis, this is foa-style building and looks much better than other horrible malls. for example this building is near really big box of IKEA.

  • ab

    this mall is pretty far away from the city, usually I find FOA’s work interesting but because it’s too far away from the city I feel so lazy to go and visit it when I’m in Istanbul.

    There’s something interesting about this project as well but the scale of the buildings are a little bit weird. maybe it’s because of the way the photographs are taken…

    I’ve heard Farshid talking about the project in London, she wasn’t very enthusiastic about it… which is normal since the building is not really in the “city”, I wouldn’t be too excited if I was the architect for such a project. There’s an IKEA, highway and shitty illegal houses next to this building. We can’t expect them to be very inspired of anything there.

    To sum up, I think in this context, in Umraniye, its not a failure project at all. FOA should do one more project next to the Bosphorus, or near Taksim Square or Sisli. Where the city is. I’m very surprised to see this many people using this mall.

  • Chapmaniac

    Stick to cycling Floyd-you clearly dont know what fascist architecture is…this is a beautiful response to the landscape and a creation of meaningful public space

  • ChrisC

    It’s interesting that no-one has yet gone beyond criticism of this project’s architectural language (‘style’) to discuss the merits of the suburban/out of town shopping centre as a building type and a social phenomenon. We know they’re unsustainable, car-dependent, culturally imperial giants, with little interest in the strengthening of the humane, civic city centre, and we know they’re on the retreat in Western Europe and the UK, so why do architects like FOA allow themselves to experiment with such a backward typology?

  • sillybug

    It may not be much to look at, but I agree that this is a fresh change from air-conditioned, artificially lit, noisy, enclosed shopping malls. One can come here with all his/her family, shop, eat, enjoy the open air and easily spend at least half a day without growing claustrophobic.

  • burang

    sorry i can understand what is related to poverty and this place?

  • linus

    Regardless of whether I think it’s a good building or not – I think for a suburban shopping mall it’s quite OK, regarding the budget usually given for these projects; I’d go there! – I find it ridiculous discussing why and how foa or any other office deals with this typology or not. We all know there are breadNbutter projects (like this one) and there are really elaborate projects in high quality locations.
    Both types are dealt with in different ways ;).
    And where do You think they get the money and time to deal with their elaborate projects in an elaborate way?
    Problem is whenever a “starchitect” does an unimportant project everyone gazes at it and expects something totally extraordinary. Cmon. It’s a mall (and a nice mall as far as I can see). It’s not the national opera house.

  • Morais

    It is not an easy program to work (beacause of the scale, etc.)…the 1st impression is positive…gona be there soon and then i talk about !

  • Seems to be a continuing saga of the “surface” as a tool to go beyond object and landscape, a merging….it seems to be handled very well

  • Eloise

    Lets asses this project at a small, scale detail level: The brick work is beautiful. I’m filled by the tension FOA is able to create by making a digitally-driven form in a classic, simple material like brick. Typological questions aside (good questions aside) at the level of detail and material, it is very strong.

  • Gunner

    Too much site, and not enough program or context to work with. The scale of the “piazza” is way to large, (greatly exacerbatred by the massive ramp leading to it) and it has a terrible relationship to the buildings. The result is superficial aesthetic gimmics which attempt to recapture a human scale. Definately an interesting and unique composition but doesnt seem to be grounded in much logic. How does this thing grow or develop? Its definately not good enough or smart enough to be timeless. On a more picky note, I hate these railing and lamp details. The lamps look like magnified hair follicles, on the testicle that is this project.

  • M

    Well executed, but I wonder if FOA question the program and brief of this vast site?

    Which also raises the question, is architecture becoming less and less site and cultural specific and more and more image conscious?

  • Ryan

    i agree with Ab :

    istanbul is an enormous city, and this concept would be much better suited to a more densely populated site. the forms and spaces created are obviously suited to create situations for large amount of people at once, which i doubt will ever be the case in a low sprawl/slum context such as this project.

    surround this thing with tall buildings and high-rise residential or mass transit points, and you are starting to come closer to realizing the full potential of this low, undulating, multilevel piazza idea.

    aside from that, i have to give some credit to FOA for attempting to redefine the market typology, and creating something aside from the “boxes in a field” idea of a mall. while still a little too awkward for my taste (and still regurgitated yokohama), they are being pretty innovative here…

  • pap

    hello azhar,congrats…..i love it…. simply because as this site proofs its an architectural project thats loaded like eastwoods rifle,…it triggers far more discussions beyond todays so over evaluated architectural stylistic language, questioning the typologie of the mall and delivering maybe not the best but fairly the freshest answer seen lately,…cu

  • neden özellikle türbanlı bayanların fotoğrafı çekilmiş anlayamadım.Türkiye’de sadece türbanlı bayan YOK!!!!!!

    • croc

      yeah you're right but there are a lot of them. So you better get used to it!!

  • good discussion here! i’m not sure yet if i should like this project or not… well its not a project anymore its realiszed… for me its not that close to yokohama… its only the photographer and some small construction details with the rails/lighting… the way they work with space is totally different… where they questioning the mall? hmm… not really imho they just replaced the mall idea with a mall/market mix idea…

    if this is perfect for site and context… imho not but im not living in istanbul so im not to one to finally judge it

  • rese

    been there, not bad work but there are better buildings in Istanbul and this place is in Istanbul but not downtown, I think Kanyon is a better example for an open air shopping mall..

  • korhan


    I am from İstanbul and I have to mention that this building is an “innovation” for İstanbul. It should be mentioned that shopping mall investments in Turkey are attractin many local and foregin investors into Turkey and nearly all of the projects are just like closed boxes. Verbal section: shop unit-corridor-atrium/gallery-corridor-shop unit. This building cracks this concept for İstanbul..

    “Meydan” means square, piazza in Turkish, should also be perceived by the eyes of ordinary citizens of Istanbul who are never heard of Yokohama city. One of them says it is good to breath fresh air while shopping. In fact the effect and concept of this mall is just simple..Also it is the first time a mall is developed which should be accessed without security guards and X-Rays at the entrance area. This shows also social and cultural attitude of this project.

    When the details evaluated of course photgrapher only pictured nice vistas.. Below coverings of the “green shell” are not closed properly. Hardscape bricks are started to turn into white under heavy rain..

  • Partan

    Looks a little bit too much like the Yokohama airport,
    with the landscapy bits..

  • Sara

    I should say that (to korhan mainly) “Meydan” is basically a persaian word and means square; a public space for gathering, marketing, and social activities. It is not Turkish. And I think because it is also used in turkish and Farshid Moussavi is Iranian, so it is a proper name…

  • Easy question: colours?

  • berbay

    actually 'meydan' is Arabic, not Persian :)

  • Clayton

    It looks incredibly hot. Why does the ground have to be covered in bricks? Why is the only grass on roofs? I'd like to see a lot more greenery. The second photo makes it look like a total pain to even walk into.

  • Babak

    First of all “Meydan” is not the word for “Market” and second, it is not Turkish. It is Persian! It sucks that in the western world (especially in Europe) people think everything “oriental” is from Turkey.

    The Turkish people came to that area in the 12th century and everything cultural they have (also the food) is just an cheap interpretation of what they found in the culture of the people that were already there and the neighboring countries – you can see that for example in the mixture of their holidays: the new year’s eve is Roman, their Bayrams are Arabic and Nowrooz is Persian.میدان#Persian