Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Bosphorus straits divides the city into a part that sits on the European continent, and a larger part on the continent of Asia. The militarily and economically strategic position of the city, on the western portion of the Silk Road, and on the shipping route between the Aegean and Black Seas, has kept it cosmopolitan and prosperous since its foundation 660 BCE, when it was called Byzantium. In 330 it became Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, named for Emperor Constantine the Great. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1453/857 AH and renamed the city Istanbul. It served as their capital until Ankara became the capital of the modern nation of Turkey.
There are three linked buildings in this expanded urban campus - a tall new construction containing teaching spaces, a squat renovated administrative block, and an indoor swimming pool. And there are three principles guiding the design - maximising internal light, creating open meeting-places, and responding to context. To achieve this last aim, the material qualities of the steel structure are laid bare, wherever possible, and combined with aluminium, glass and ceramics to create a fragmented appearance deemed to be in keeping with the urban surroundings. The interior design is based on the university's 'well-established utilitarian policy', favouring basic, inexpensive details and materials.