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Istanbul Modern Moves to Temporary Location While Construction of New Building Is Underway

Istanbul Modern, Turkey’s first modern and contemporary art museum, has announced that it will temporarily move its operations from Karaköy, where it has been located since it first opened fourteen years ago, to the historic Union Française building in Beyoğlu while it works on building a new home. It will permanently close its current venue, a former maritime warehouse called Antrepo #4, on March 18.

Designed by architect Alexandre Vallaury in 1896, the Union Française will need to be renovated before Istanbul Modern can present programming there. Located on Meşrutiyet Street, the space is expected to open to the public in May. A spokesperson for the institution said that upcoming exhibitions and other events will be announced next month.

According to Hurriyet Daily News, Renzo Piano’s architecture firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, was tapped to design Istanbul Modern’s new building, which will be constructed over the next three years in the center of the Galata Port development project, a $1.2 billion initiative that aims to transform the Galata Port area into a tourist destination. The controversial project has since come under fire for not adhering to its master plan.

Since the initiative’s start, a historic post office that was supposed to be preserved has been demolished, and the 1940s Karaköy Passenger Lounge building, which was registered as a cultural asset, has sustained significant damage. As a result, complaints have been filed with Istanbul’s prosecutor’s office, and construction has been delayed.

Funds for the Istanbul Modern’s new building are being provided by the institution’s founding sponsor, the Eczacıbaşı Group, as well as a consortium behind the redevelopment project. Doğuş Group and Bilgili Holding are also backing the new facility.