Concept Languages
Turkish and Foreign Language School

Team  Neriman Mutlu Kara · Jonathan Phillips Type  Gut renovation Role  Design through construction Client  CL Eğitim Danışmanlık Hizmetleri Ltd.  Şti. Budget  70.000 ₺Size  170 m² Location  Etiler, Istanbul Year  2011
Reception looking to a classroom (left) and the instructors' preparation area (right).
The client for this interior architecture project is an established private language school. The work involves the gut renovation of a rental space in a speculative office building in Etiler, Istanbul to be designed in conformance with the requirements of the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Planning considerations include the zoning of public, semi-public, and work areas, as well as the organization of space within an irregular pattern of existing structural columns. The space is leased, so maximizing value for cost is a primary concern.
Instructors' preparation area (right) and hallway to the classrooms (left).
The instructors' preparation area is integrated into a “functional” wall extending across the space. New casework, existing shelving units, and a mechanical chase are integrated into this wall which serves as an acoustic barrier between the public areas and the classrooms.

In line with the school's mission to maintain a relaxed, informal atmosphere for clients and instructors alike, the instructors' preparation area is open to the reception area where students mingle before and after their courses. Meanwhile, a central hallway leads to a vestibule from which one enters the classrooms.
The brief included three classrooms of varying sizes as well as two smaller rooms for individual lessons. The school’s largest room may be used as either a seminar or a lecture room in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry of Education. All rooms have ample natural light.

Subtle changes of color and drops in the ceiling level are used to articulate the geometric volumes of which the classroom spaces are comprised. The line corresponding to the top of the existing windows is continued around the rooms, both at the taller-than-standard doors and across the top of niches in the walls. This line serves as an implied cornice and suggests a continuity throughout the school.

Casework and furniture design and selection as well as lighting design were included in the brief.
Reception and client waiting area.
The raw space is defined by nineteen regular windows along three sides of its perimeter, the rhythm of which can be apprehended in the final design even though the space is subdivided. Furthermore, the plan is laid out so that natural light enters the lobby area from all three sides.
To provide natural light to two executive classrooms for individual instruction, partially translucent glass walls open onto a vestibule along the exterior wall of the building. The wide threshold separating these rooms from the vestibule is articulated by the floor material and a drop in the ceiling height. These rooms are designed to potentially be converted into e-learning classrooms at a later date.
Given the restricted budget, many materials and fixtures were selected from among overstock items, and the design was made to accommodate them. The existing marble flooring in the restrooms and kitchenette was left in place for the same reason. The deliberate simplicity of the detailing throughout the space accommodated the low level of workmanship that was anticipated given the budget.

The move to a new space was part of a broader expansion and branding effort, and work for this client also included graphic identity and a website.
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