Istanbul residents have been dreading this moment: construction has broken ground on an enormous International Financial Center designed to position the Turkish economy among the world’s top ten. Despite some green concessions, including green roofs, on-site renewable energy generation, and plenty of urban green space, locals who must contend with greater traffic congestion and other hazards are unlikely to be moved.
International design firm HOK released details and renders of the Istanbul International Financial Center, which is expected to create a powerhouse for the country’s major financial institutions, including state-owned and private banks and various financial governing bodies.
In addition to their role as overseers of the project’s masterplan, HOK will be constructing two high rise towers.
Slated for a 170 acre site that will include a total of 45m sq ft of office, residential, retail, hotel and parking space, the mixed-use complex will also feature urban green spaces – including planted roofs – that will leave some semblance of green to soak up the city’s growing emissions and tame the heat island affect.
Public transportation also plays an important part of the brief, as does sophisticated data and security management, but construction of this scale, which is already underway, will wreak havoc in the already-densely populated city.
Environmental activists in Turkey have been on high alert recently as the government has been pushing a new “nature law” that would permit opening of natural areas currently protected by law in the event of a poorly-defined public interest requirement.
Additionally, despite the country’s susceptibility to earthquakes, the government is still pushing nuclear energy, an issue that sparked yet another outcry by local residents.
In an effort to become an economic giant, the Turkish government has neglected to consider the environmental and social impact of unchecked growth, and the populace will suffer as a result.
The project is slated for completion in 2016.