According to the zoning plan for İstanbul, which was prepared by the French architect and urban planner Henri Prost between 1936-1937, Topçu Kışlası (Artillery Barracks) and the nearby cemeteries would be turned into a park, and an opera house would be opened in Taksim Square. With the suggestion of Prost, the French architect Auguste Perret came to İstanbul to conduct the opera house project, but the project couldn’t be finished due to the Second World War.
The opera building, whose project was made by architect Feridun Kip and architect Rükneddin Güney and whose foundation was laid on May 29, 1946, couldn’t be completed due to lack of funds. It was thus assigned to the Ministry of Public Works in 1953, and the construction continued in 1956 with the project of the Master Architect Hayati Tabanlıoğlu. It was opened on April 12, 1969, so the plays of State Opera and Ballet and State Theatres would be staged there.
Following the fire which occurred on November 27, 1970, while Arthur Miller's The Crucible was on stage, the building was repaired and reopened on October 6, 1978, under the name Atatürk Culture Centre. The building which was given its final shape by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Master Architect Hayati Tabanlıoğlu is accepted as a typical example of the simple and functional architectural understanding of the 1950s. AKM has become the most advanced place to stage performing arts in Türkiye, especially with the deep and wide stage of its Grand Hall, its deep and wide stage, the advanced mechanical capacity of this stage, and various elevators that were designed for different uses.
As the building, which continued to serve until the 2000s, had become dysfunctional in many respects, authorities started to look for a solution. With the protocol signed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in November 2008, Tabanlıoğlu Architecture was assigned to the renovation project of Atatürk Culture Centre, which was taken by İstanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency. In 2012, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism opened the building to be preserved in its current form and only for repair and renovation works. After the renovation, it showed that the destruction in the building was more than expected.
On November 6, 2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shared with the public that the Atatürk Cultural Centre project would be rebuilt in Taksim.
Atatürk Culture Centre, which opened its doors to visitors with a magnificent opening ceremony on October 29, 2021, accommodates these units: A 2040-seat Opera Hall, an 802-seat Theatre Hall, a Gallery, a Multipurpose Hall, a Children’s Art Centre, the Music Platform, a Music Recording Studio, a specialised Library mainly focusing on architecture and design, a Mini Screening Room, and a Design Shop.
Click to see the gallery