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Meydan Shopping Centre in Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world and continues to grow. The district of Ümraniye, where the present shopping centre is situated, is a clear example of this development. In fewer than 60 years, it has grown to a thousand times its former village size and has now been absorbed by the expanding metropolis. What was missing, however, was an urban centre. In 2005, a German wholesale and retail trading group already established in Turkey invited five international architectural practices to take part in a workshop and develop a prototype for a “shopping square”. The urban planning proposals by Foreign Office Architects were unanimously placed first. Their concept was based on the word “meydan”, which means a market or meeting place. Laid out around a central piazza with fountains are shops, cafes, a restaurant and a cinema. Broadly cantilevered roofs provide protection against the sun, shading the glazed shopfronts that line the square. An ample, gently rising pedestrian route links the square – which can also be used for sporting events and festivities – to the nearby housing district. Red brick pavings and sloping areas generate a calm atmosphere and turn the need to shop into a pleasant stroll.