ISTANBUL

Despite pandemic-related delays, Turkey has completed nearly 60% of the construction of Istanbul’s iconic new Ataturk Cultural Center, a landmark step in the nation’s art and cultural life.

A total of 57% of the construction is completed, as work continues on the new building, whose cornerstone President Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid back in February 2018.

The new building bears the signature of Murat Tabanlioglu, the son of Hayati Tabanlioglu, who was the architect of the first building.

Work on the new complex is being carried out according to social distancing rules as part of novel coronavirus measures.

The rough construction of the building, which will consist of five interconnected blocks, has been completed. Work continues on other aspects of the complex, such as its external wall, aerated concrete, acoustic walls, acoustic suspended ceilings, and plaster.

Work on the building’s moving stage continues. The opera stage to be featured in the new building and the colorful outer shell of the opera sphere are both taking shape. The mechanical stage systems for the main opera hall were ordered from abroad.

The opera and main hall are set to open at the end of 2021, as orders will arrive late due to the pandemic.

Orders for all assembly products to be used in the construction of other parts of the building were placed. Assembly work continues for the incoming parts.

A four-story parking garage for the use of visitors and staff has also been completed.

Work on electrical and mechanical systems for the lower floors of the iconic building is also continuing.

The construction of Istanbul’s iconic cultural center is expected to be completed by year’s-end, Turkey’s culture and tourism minister said in June.

In fall 2017, Erdogan announced the new project for the Ataturk Cultural Center, known by its Turkish initials AKM, and said it would be a “symbolic” site of Istanbul.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the cultural complex in Istanbul’s teeming Taksim Square was attended by Erdogan along with many Turkish actors, artists, and musicians.

The new building will boast a world-class opera hall that seats over 2,000 people, a theatre hall that seats over 800, backstage rooms, and fair areas.

The center will also boast meeting rooms, administrative offices, restaurants, and art galleries.

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