Time Out says
Designed in 1892 by the Frenchborn Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury for Bank-ı Osmanî Şahane, the SALT Galata building is one of the most handsome structures in the city. The project to re-structure and re-functionalise this space was overseen by Mimarlar Design, under the supervision of Ağa Han-recipient architect, Han Tümertekin. The focus here, of course, was in creating a space that could respond perfectly to SALT’s multi-layered programme needs. The result? In one word, incredible.
The stairs, the interventions that Autoban (the masters of reworking marble) did on the marble to draw attention to its production process, the offices, the auditorium, the library... Each one leaves you in awe – even the bathrooms. Could you fall in love with a bathroom? At SALT Galata, it’s quite possible. Moving back outside, where neoclassical and orientalist architectural details grace the front and back facades of the building, you’ll also find the bookshop Robinson Crusoe and a restaurant that Doors Group designed specifically for SALT Galata.
One of the institution’s most magnificent, unique areas that touches upon our researching spirit is SALT Research, which opens up digital and printed resources for access. The library located to the left of the entrance is like a temple to the building. This section places the institution’s mission of research, sharing and formation of new ideas in the centre of the building. Nearly 40,000 titles focus on areas such as art, architecture, design, urban planning, social history and the history of economics; the resources include over 100,000 printed materials and upwards of a million documents that have been transferred to the digital arena. This section encompasses the entire archive and library resources of the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Centre, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center and Garanti Gallery. The archive consists of books, magazines, articles, CD/ DVDs and theses as well as digital resources.
The ateliers on the first floor consist of a large, divisible space as well as two fixed meeting areas. The institution’s mission of sharing finds life here. The second floor, meanwhile, houses enviable offices. The Open Archive on the third floor is also an area that’s redesigned for each exhibition, a space where SALT’s research on archive subjects is exhibited and opened up for interpretation.
The permanent collection of the Ottoman Bank Museum remains firmly intact in this building, sharing -1 floor with the exhibition space. The museum was re-designed in an area within the building’s vaults. Its archive and theme were carried out by Edhem Eldem, while the design belongs to Bülent Erkmen. Lastly, on floor -2, there’s an auditorium that seats 219, suitable for discussions such as seminars, conferences and debates as well as feature film showings, presentation events and performances.