AKM restoration to go out to tender this month, works to end in two years
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
No significant changes in the Atatürk Culture Center building’s structure will appear in the restoration work plans, and the ministry will sign a protocol with a sponsor for the restoration, scheduled to start in October. AA photoRestoration of the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM) in Istanbul’s Taksim will be put out to tender this month by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, following a dispute that severely delayed the project.
No significant changes in the building’s structure appear in the restoration work plans, and the ministry will sign a protocol with a sponsor for the restoration, scheduled to start in October and be completed in time for Republic Day in October 2013.
In order to turn AKM into a world standard culture and arts center, a cooperation protocol was signed on Oct. 8, 2008, between the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture. After signing the protocol, talks started with Murat Tabanlıoğlu, son of AKM’s first architect, Hayri Tabanlıoğlu. Murat proposed to prepare the architectural project free of charge, and the first contract was signed on Oct. 17, 2008.
The architectural plans were approved by the Council of Protection on Dec. 24, 2008, and all other projects related to the restoration were signed May 29, 2009. The plans aimed to reinforce the building against a possible earthquake and make it suitable for an increased number of stage performances.
When the project went out to tender on June 29, 2009, among 14 companies that tendered, the most suitable one was invited to sign a contract on July 22, 2009. But the Culture, Art and Tourism Laborers’ Union (Kültür Sanat-Sen) filed a suit against the Culture and Tourism Ministry over the cancelation of the project. With the court’s order to stay development, the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency stopped all works related to the restoration of AKM.
The agency brought together representatives from the State Theaters General Directorate, State Opera and Ballet General Directorate, professional organizations and the architects of the project to discuss the demands for AKM. The project has been revised, approved by the ministry and presented to the Council of Preservation.
Despite the reconciliation, Kültür Sanat-Sen did not withdraw the lawsuit and the council did not receive the project for consideration.
The court cancelled the project in its decision May 16, 2009, and the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency stopped all restoration plans.