Forum Studio received the ASLA Illinois Chapter's Merit Award for the Pearl of Istanbul project in Istanbul, Turkey.
Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul has long been an amalgam of cultures and a record of civilizations past and present. Today, Istanbul is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Expanding democracy, global investment, and abundant tourism are reshaping the region for generations to come. The Pearl of Istanbul is at the heart of this transformation. Envisioned by Turkey's business and civic leaders, championed by Istanbul's Mayor, and designed by the urban planning team, the Pearl marks Istanbul's arrival as a global destination.
Situated in a natural cove just outside of the bustling city center of Istanbul, the Pearl takes full advantage of its connection to the Marmara Sea, the natural beauty of the site's topography contributing to the region's reputation as a cosmopolitan resort.
The centerpiece of the development is a marina, comprised of a string of manmade islands. The islands are conceived as an alternative to a utilitarian seawall; they harmonize with, and extend, the region's natural landscape. Changes in scale -- from the monumental to the intimate -- accommodate a variety of uses that will include nightlife and entertainment as well as family-friendly activities and academic marine research facilities. Connected by pathways and organized around a central "pearlescent" node, the Pearl's islands form a calm harbor with more than 500 boat slips and commercial terminals for cruise ships. In the inner harbor, floating islands reduce impact on existing marine habitats and allow for future flexibility.