Lofty heights: Turkish Architect firm wins Jumeirah contract

Award-winning Tabanlioğlu Architects was catapulted onto the world stage when its Loft Gardens development in Istanbul gained recognition at the RIBA International Awards. Leonard Stall speaks to Murat Tabanlioğlu about the company's latest project – at Jumeirah Beach Residence

Tabanlioğlu Architects, already a leader in its native Turkey in design and development, is making an impact on the international stage, following the critical acclaim it received after winning a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award for its Loft Gardens development in Istanbul in 2011 – loft apartments in a high-rise tower complete with gardens, terraces and internal streets.

The award for Tabanlioğlu’s Loft Gardens is a first, for both a project, and an architect, from Turkey. Now, the firm is set to tackle its first project in the UAE, in Dubai, in the form of a beachfront tower in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).

Like Loft Gardens, the new tower in Dubai, set alongside the Ritz Carlton hotel, will seek to add something different, and to contribute to the neighbourhood and community in the area. Murat Tabanlioğlu comments: “I want to make something special here.” The development will include a hotel as well as residences, two branded restaurants, a beach club and gym, offering a hybrid, between ‘city life and resort’. It will also include a Mosque.

“At the moment there isn’t a Mosque in JBR. Our Mosque will be very modern and contemporary, but it will be very much part of the building.

The build time is estimated at 30 months, and Murat will oversee the project from his new office, alongside the development, which will be the new headquarters for Tabanlioğlu across the Middle East. Already, the architect – which has also won numerous awards at Cityscape Dubai in the last few years, including the Middle East Architect Award for Architect of the Year in 2010 – is looking at projects and competitions across the region from its new home, from a contemporary Mosque in Saudi Arabia to a museum in Qatar. 

“For many years, the Middle East has always been the arena of architectural opportunities as the investments in the region support architectural development,” comments Murat.

He adds: “Being from Turkey, we have a historic bond with the people and culture of the GCC and UAE, and we can understand and provide specific solutions to the contemporary needs of the region.”