Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Bigger Fantabulous.... or Folly?

Maslak financial district in Istanbul, Septemb...Image via WikipediaOn Friday I posted about CittaSlow. Today we have the opposite. A city rushing ahead to meet the future. I say wait...

I'm probably not the only person who looks at Dubai's grandiose plans - a mini-world of man-made islands, or the famed Burj Khalifa looking out across the flat desert - and thinks "Why?" Apparently, Istanbul seems to be a little jealous though.

Don't get me wrong. I love Istanbul from the bottom of my heart. New. Old. It's all good. When the city makes the news, the real estate broker in me needs to share things like:

This Bloomberg article from 2/3/2011:
Istanbul Favorite European City for Property, PwC Survey Says

"Istanbul is the best place in Europe to buy or develop property as Turkey’s economic growth contrasts with declines across much of the region, a survey of 600 real estate professionals by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP showed."

Europe’s next world cities: Istanbul and Moscow? – Greg Clark, Senior Fellow, ULI Europe

"The lessons from the global indexes are clear. Istanbul and Moscow are importantly located cities, ideally situated to host global firms and attract large scale investment to match their political and cultural significance. Europe may need them to succeed if the continent is to be competitive in the longer term. However, both powerhouses have struggled to improve their social and physical infrastructure and openness sufficiently to develop their knowledge and business credentials, which is holding them back from taking their recent progress to the next level."


Luxist: Istanbul Sapphire Is Europe's Tallest Tower

"Need more proof that Istanbul is becoming one of the most cosopolitan cities in Europe? Check out the Istanbul Sapphire, the 261-meter skyscraper that will be the tallest residential building in Europe once it is completed in late 2009. The skyscraper has been under construction for three years and recently reached full height. It will have 64 floors and offer 174 private residences. The total cost of the project is currently $200 million and around 40 percent of the whole project has been sold. The tower is also home to a shopping center, fitness center and spa, restaurants and includes vertical gardens and a viewing terrace." (Turkish Daily News)

Do we really need the tallest residential building in Europe to make our point? With golf at 160 meters above the ground? OK...maybe the shopping mall is an awesome idea....and I DO love the name Sapphire... Again though, I say wait a minute. Why do we need this obscenely tall building on the Istanbul skyline? It dwarfs everything around it....though it must have an awesome view over the city's seven hills and beyond.

As you can see, I'm torn. Go forward? Hold back? Well, what did I expect from a city known for it's dichotomies? Maybe Istanbul Sapphire fits right in.... Next thing you know, Trump will be building down the street. Oh, wait...what's this? Trump Towers Istanbul?  blah-de-blah  "first to bear the Trump name in Europe."

What was that other guy saying about infrastructure? ;)

Here's the developer's clip for Sapphire, in English:

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Sarah said...

People will always push the limit, and it sounds like Istanbul is just one of those places where it happens. I don't know very much about it as a city, so thanks for sharing this!

Old Kitty said...

I always find this penchant for building taller, grander, gigantic monoliths baffling in the extreme. I understand the ambition and the architectural challenge of creating a city of ultra modern gradoise design with brand new sparkly shiny buildings that reach towards the skies and yet, I don't understand the why or what for. Or maybe I do. The basest of human nature includes this thirst to conquer be it other creatures or space or mountains or anything that challenges and so there's this bit between us rooted to earth by gravity and the vast beautiful heavens that probably drives some humans crazy! LOL!! Ok, I am talking drivel now. but human nature never ceases to amaze me, truly.

Take care

Cruella Collett said...

I guess the size of buildings has an effect on how a city is viewed. Imagine Tokyo without those tall buildings. Or New York. Nearly impossible. But if I try to imagine buildings like that in Oslo, for instance, it's equally impossible. The building need to fit the city. I haven't been to Istanbul yet, but I can't imagine it's needed. It sounds like a city that already has so much charm - why fix something that isn't broken?

Unknown said...

I understand the human desire to build bigger and better than the next guy but with all the earthquakes, why would anyone want to live in such a high building?

LTM said...

very cool... it reminds me of these Emerald high-rises they're building down in Orange Beach. It also makes me wonder what it is about these guys and their giant high-rises? *wink* :D

I like that video clip. I don't play golf, but I want to swim in that pool overlooking the forest... :D xoxo

Golden Eagle said...

This sort of thing really interests me. (and not just because I love architecture.) Huge buildings obviously are a way of making a statement, and there are so many ways of playing around with symbolism in writing.

Matthew MacNish said...

That building looks really cool. But I thought the tallest building in Dubai was called Burj Dubai. I'll have to check again.

KatOwens: Insect Collector said...

I heard a lecture recently about eco-cities, which are being developed by Siemens (great plot for a novel, or what?) around the globe. It was fascinating.
The minute I read your description of Sapphire I couldn't help thinking of all the book-related disasters that could happen there!

Deniz Bevan said...

Urk, not me! I almost wish we could go back to the old skyline... all churches and mosques and two or three storey wooden buildings, blending in to the hills... Ah well, a girl can dream. said...

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