Istanbul Repatriation Center

Due to the growing number of unregistered migrants in Turkey and the increasing need for a repatriation centre, the Turkish government, with the support of the European Union, requested a design for a new building to be located in Arnavutköy, on the European side of Istanbul. Located 12 kilometres from the newly opened Istanbul Grand Airport, the building aimed to accommodate more than 2,000 refugees in humane conditions before their eventual transfer to their countries of origin.

Although these residents were confined, we still viewed them as guests. We therefore proposed a building design that would respect their needs, offering the comfort of airy courtyards and open views of the surrounding landscape. This approach – combined with the request for an easy-to-construct, prefabricated and modular building system – resulted in the idea of interconnecting horizontally oriented building blocks. However, the irregular form of the land and the elevation interval of more than 20 metres posed a considerable challenge.

Considering the diverse background and profile of the building’s inhabitants, various zones had to be planned, including family, female and male as well as other specific subdivisions. Each of these sections would have separate gardens, facilities and security zones.

Here, the shape of the landscape inspired the building design, which was characterised by the positioning of a series of perimeter blocks on various levels. To maintain a harmonious design while offering some variation, we opted for a modular, rhythmic façade that was transparent to prevent a sense of isolation and support the idea of community. We selected an earthy colour scheme with tactile elements to create a welcoming ambience and suppress feelings of alienation. The result is a balanced, harmonious and robust building composition that offers a respectful space to its unfortunate visitors.

Project Data

Location Istanbul, Turkey
Function Adminstrative
Size 2400 m2
Year 2018 – 2019
Client Governorship of Istanbul

The project resulted in a balanced, harmonious and robust building composition that offers a
respectful space to its unfortunate visitors