Istanbul Modern Closes Ahead of Renzo Piano’s Multimillion-Dollar Revamp

Turkey's leading contemporary art museum is getting a new home on the city's historic waterfront.

Istanbul Modern. Photo via Flickr.

Turkey’s leading museum for contemporary art, the Istanbul Modern, has announced it will close on March 18 as preparations begin for its new home designed by the Italian starchitect Renzo Piano.

Construction of the new building will kick off this year and is expected to take about 36 months. The new Piano-designed museum will be built on its current plot on the historic Istanbul waterfront. The new institution is set to become part of the city’s ambitious Galataport development project, which is restoring and redesigning the cultural and historic sites in the neighborhood. The Galataport district overhaul started in 2016 and is expected to cost around $1.2 billion.

For the next three years, Istanbul Modern, which is run by a private foundation backed by the Eczacibasi family, will move to a temporary location in the nearby Union Française building, which is due to open in May. Istanbul Modern, which opened inside an old maritime warehouse in 2004, is one of the main locations for the Istanbul Biennial.

Late last year, Renzo Piano’s official Instagram account shared two architectural renderings of the planned Istanbul Modern project, but took them down shortly after. According to images of the deleted posts reproduced by the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, the glass-walled museum will extend across five levels, with three above ground and two below.

Renzo Piano. Photo ©Belen de Benito.

Renzo Piano. Photo © Belen de Benito.

A spokesperson for Istanbul Modern declined to confirm whether the images posted by Piano are the final designs, but said that official renderings will be made available this summer.

Piano is no stranger to building art museums on the waterfront. He designed the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Centro Botín in Santander, northern Spain.

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