Istanbul-based architecture firm opens first NYC office

Tabanlioğlu has worked with Madison Equities among other developers

Rendering of 118 East 59th Street (Credit: Tabanlioğlu Architects)
Rendering of 118 East 59th Street (Credit: Tabanlioğlu Architects)

Istanbul-based Tabanlioğlu Architects has set up shop in Lower Manhattan with its first ever office in New York City.

The firm, led by Murat Tabanlioğlu, announced on Monday that it’s opening a new office at 111 John Street. The firm, which has offices in Dubai, Doha and London, was founded in 1990 by Tabanlioğlu and his father, Hayati Tabanlıoğlu.

Downtown Manhattan has attracted a number of major architecture firms over the years. SHoP Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; and Hill West, formerly Goldstein Hill & West, all have offices Downtown. Tabanlioğlu’s new John Street office space — 3,000 square feet on the 26th floor — coincides with the firm’s push to expand its work in New York and the United States.

“New York City is the world center of business, commerce and design,” Murat Tabanlıoğlu said in a statement. “We are excited to expand into this great market.”

So far, the firm’s work in the city is limited. The firm designed two condominium buildings on East 13th Street for the Amirian Group, which are currently under construction. The company also created concept renderings for 118 East 59th Street, a long-stalled condo project on the Upper East Side. The designs were produced for Madison Equities, though the site is still owned by Euro Properties. In a recent interview with The Real Deal, Tabanlioğlu described the design as lego-like and partially inspired by Piet Mondrian’s colorful geometric paintings.

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The firm also created similar designs for Madison for a “brother building” on East 47th Street and Lexington Avenue, but the developer ultimately didn’t purchase the site.

Madison Equities’ Robert Gladstone, who recently indicated that he’s still eyeing the 59th Street property, did not return messages seeking comment.

The firm’s other work includes Istanbul Sapphire, the tallest building in Turkey, and Astana Nurly Zhol, a newly-opened train station in Kazakhstan. Tabanlıoğlu’s U.S. expansion comes at a time when international superstar architects — like Zaha Hadid, Bjarke Ingels, Rafael Viñoly and Christian de Portzamparc, to name a few — are increasingly selected for high-profile projects in the city.

Cagri Kanver, who works as an investment advisor for GD3 Real Estate, said that he connected Tabanlioglu and Gladstone. He’s worked for other architecture firms, including Perkins + Will as a go-between for international clients.

“Investors follow him and listen to me,” he said of Tabanlioğlu. “It all filters through me. I will only put it together if the design is good.”

(To view a list of architects in TRD’s database, including projects they’ve worked on, click here)