SALT Galata

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SALT Galata

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 Robinson Crusoe and a restaurant that Doors Group designed specifically for SALT Galata.


In the interior of the restaurant, you’ll find Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin’s personal library. When you see the spectacular view from the exterior of the restaurant, you just might feel as if your breath was taken away. 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. These days, Gülsün Karamustafa’s installation takes up the space. 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. 


Currently, the first exhibition of the project series, ‘Foto Galatasaray’, is displayed here. This exhibition unearths the 200,000-image archive of Maryam Şahinyan, who worked as a studio photographer between 1935 and 1985. The fourth floor is a space that’s set aside entirely for special events. SALT Galata’s true exhibition space is a white cube located on floor -1. The first exhibition to be displayed here is ‘Scramble for the Past: A Story of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, 1753- 1914’, conceptualised and prepared by Prof. Dr. Zainab Bahrani, Prof. Dr. Zeynep Çelik and Prof. Dr. Edhem Eldem. The selected documents tell the rich and complicated story of how archaeology made its way over an expansive geography, from Greece to Egypt, in a chronological format. The exhibition focuses on the time period between the establishment of the British Museum – considered to be the first ‘museum’ in the world in the modern sense – in 1753 and the establishment of the Evkaf-ı İslâmiye Museum (known today as The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum) in 1914. In addition to works borrowed from the Archaeology Museums, ‘Scramble for the Past’ also features several artists’ works considered to be necessary in terms of chronology. (> March 11, 2012)


Of course, 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.


Venue name: SALT Galata
Address: Bankalar Caddesi 11

Opening hours: Tue-Sat 12.00-20.00; Sun 12.00-18.00.
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