Vakko Headquarters and Power Media Center / REX


Last year we presented you this interesting project by REX during its construction stage, where you could see how an unused structure was converted into the new headquarters for Vakko, integrated with a new complex steel structure. The project is now completed, and we can see the final result with photos by Iwan Baan and a complete set of drawings and diagrams courtesy of REX.

Despite the mix of the existing concrete structure with the new additions and the complex inner core (dubbed the “showcase”), the exterior of the building is read as a whole. The structural “X” of the glass panels on the facade break the monotony of the box on the outside, contrasting with the mirror like finish of the volume on top.

© Iwan Baan

The “showcase” fills the central void with a mirror finish that turns the volume into a sculpture (as seen on the photos and on the showcase elevations below), while housing different programs that benefit from the arrange of the boxes, such as the auditorium, meeting rooms and showrooms.

REX once again shows innovative structural solutions in relation with the program, together with new uses of materials as we previously saw on the Wyly Theatre in Dallas.

After the break, the architect’s description:

Location: , Turkey
Clientes: Vakko and Power Media
Architect: REX
Key personnel: Erez Ella, Tomas Janka, Mathias Madaus, David Menicovich, Tsuyoshi Nakamoto, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Ishtiaq Rafiuddin, Tieliu Wu
Consultants: ARTE, Autoban, Buro Statik, Cedetas, Dora, Eleksis, Front, Gurmen Muhendislik, Lamglass, Norm Tecnic, Say Yapi, STEP, Superpool, Cem Mimarlik
Area: 9,100 sqm (98,000 sqf)
Completion: 2010
Program: Headquarters for a Turkish fashion house—including offices, showrooms, conference rooms, auditorium, museum, and dining hall—as well as the television studios, radio production facilities, and screening rooms of its media sister-company
Photography: REX, Iwan Baan


When Caltech’s senior administration suddenly changed REX’s design for the Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology was canceled.

Two months later, the CEO of Vakko (Turkey’s pre-eminent fashion house) and Power Media (Turkey’s equivalent of MTV) approached REX with plans to design and construct a new headquarters by the year’s end using an unfinished, abandoned hotel. The requested timetable would normally have been absurd. However, the unfinished building fortuitously had the same plan dimension, floor-to-floor height, and servicing concept as the Annenberg Center’s “Ring” (the so-called “Sheep”).

Program distribution © REX

By adapting the Construction Documents produced for the Annenberg Center to the abandoned concrete hotel skeleton, construction on the perimeter office block commenced only four days after Vakko/Power first approached REX. This adaptive re-use opened a six-week window during which the more unique portions of the program could be designed simultaneous to construction. Speed became the design’s most significant parameter.

© Iwan Baan

Whereas the Annenberg Center’s Ring was a fragile, post-tensioned concrete structure which depended upon the robust, steel interior for support, Vakko/Power’s existing Ring is painfully over-designed, the byproduct of numerous, deadly earthquakes in Turkey.

© Iwan Baan

The design problem is therefore reversed: Vakko/Power’s unique interior must remain detached so as not to disrupt the structural integrity and waterproofing of the in situ skeleton. Dubbed the “Showcase,” this unique interior houses the auditorium, showrooms, meeting rooms, and executive offices, as well as all vertical circulation and restrooms.

© Iwan Baan

Meanwhile, the upper floor of the skeleton’s subterranean parking houses Power Media’s television and radio studios, which require acoustic damping and light control.

Showcase structure © REX

REX only had two weeks to submit the steel mill order after starting the project. Therefore, a concept for the Showcase was developed that established the general steel shapes and quantities while still allowing the design to evolve significantly.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

To this end, REX and its engineers devised steel boxes that could be assembled in myriad configurations while retaining the Showcase’s structural self-sufficiency.

Ultimately, program adjacencies and code/exiting requirements dictated the final stacking of the boxes.

The slopes of the auditorium, showrooms, and meeting rooms create a circulation path that winds from bottom to top of the Showcase.

© Iwan Baan

The Showcase is clad in mirror-glass, creating a “Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” that both repeats and fractures the image of the occupant.

© Iwan Baan

Creating an exceptional new headquarters was critical to maintaining Vakko/Power’s public image; yet, absorption of the clumsy, existing structure was impossible to hide given the time constraints. REX therefore proposed to make the glass façade as thin and immaterial as possible, such that the existing hotel skeleton is exposed, not hidden.

Facade calculation © REX

By slumping a structural “X” into each pane, the glass’s strength is increased, its need for perimeter mullions is eliminated, and its thickness is reduced.

The result is an ultra-thin sheath of glass that wraps the existing skeleton. This ethereal “Saran Wrap” subtly reveals the pre-existing concrete skeleton and suggests the Showcase behind.

Facade detail © REX
Cite: "Vakko Headquarters and Power Media Center / REX" 12 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Wonderful using of glass and mirror make this building special. I havent seen something like this. Simply amazing building with abstract touch.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -5

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      Joshua Prince Ramus [Partner in charge at REX] actually worked for OMA in Rotterdam for several years after studying under Rem at the GSD. JPR was the founding partner of OMA New York. He later bought Rem out of his stock in the company and changed the name to REX. So, they are not trying to be like OMA…a lot of what REX is and does, is the processes of OMA taken a step further. Maybe you should do some research to understand this. Don’t give Libeskind or SOM that amount of credit, by saying what they do comes even close to the quality or sophistication of this project. Especially not Libeskind of all people…and this building is…very elegant, beautiful and quite ingenious in it’s solution that was accomplished in a year.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0


    rex is a product of oma. he left oma to start his own office, taking most of the staff and projects with him.

    i find it more ironic than kitschy – i’m quite sure there is a difference between the two words.

    liebeskind mixed with som – thats a very interesting interperation.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    There’s no Libeskind here.

    It’s rational and elegant. It has an aesthetic which is derived from ideas and concepts which are based on sound reasoning.

    Also, unlike SOM, the result is sexy.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thanks for saving this comment thread “Ornament and Crime”.

    This building and REX’s work in general goes well beyond any discussion of style, so to say it is a combo of Libeskind and SOM is just absurd.

    Their process never fails to create elegant solutions to the site and program at hand.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I do like the interiorspace with the mirrors and the facade looks owkay. But what bothers me is the huge amount of structure this building needs. It shows how irrational this building really is. Architecture is about combining concepts and spacial quality WITH logic structure and techniques.


    • Thumb up Thumb down +1

      the pictures inside the boxes let the concept fall apart. almost No daylight – almost no view – to claustrophobic – so much structure around you – the “terraces” inside the boxes just makes it look so “function follows form”. If the concept would be to create quality office space you would NEVER end up with spaces like this. these spaces will be used as storage rooms…

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    this is so good, elegant but conceptual. In my opinion, all OMA good projects, are the ones that had been design with REX ceo Joshua Prince-Ramus, what an architect.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    too overdone and complicated structure without any real reason for that. i’m surprised people are using the word elegant in describing this building. can you please explain what is particularly elegant here?

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      REX have worked with an existing structure designed for something completely different and then created a solution like the one you see here within a frankly ridiculous timeframe. That is an elegant solution.

      Did you even read the text or just look at the pretty pictures ?

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Style?! Elegance? I can’t believe some of us are having a discussion about style in reference to REX. They are the anti-style. Libeskind? Give me a break. Any formal similarities are purely coincidental.

    Yes, I think the building looks absolutely ridiculous. I also think it’s sexy as hell.

    The tilting boxes in the courtyard make good programmatic use of what would have otherwise been a large void without sacrificing the spatial connections. Tilt the auditoriums and meeting rooms; makes perfect sense to me. What would some of you prefer instead? Some plants, a fountain, and a nice little walkway?

    Yes, there’s a lot of structure, but look at all that glass. Judging from the pictures there seems to be good deal of transparency (the glass works well on the solid surfaces).

    REX is hands-down THE most exciting architectural practice making buildings.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      By the way, keep in mind that this scheme was based on re-using the existing concrete structure which you can see in the middle picture.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    a master piece created as it was been designed keeping in mind the existing structure.
    architects must have found it deficult as well as interesting due to the existing frame work.thatz the way architecture goes…..
    cheers guys….

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It is a remarkable demonstration of design prowess under unique circumstances; however a lot of the interiors and the mirror ‘showcase’ seems straight up gaudy and like it would get old really fast. Sweet use of of slump glass though.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    what is elegante here
    over structured
    being ex oma doesnt make you koolhaas
    mr ramus is not kolhaas and rex is not oma
    he should develop his style
    and the theather was designed by oma
    that he took it up and rip it off is other thing this building is not even close to being good
    you are all brainwashed by the media
    everytime somebody puts ex oma this ex oma that you all start drooling over nothing
    spatially this building have nothing interesting and the use of glass is totally kitsch
    a mimic of good architecture
    shape without content of thought
    just lame

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    someone said something about “the 5th image down shows people ducking their heads to walk through”
    It’s almost like the box wants to be noticed.. lol (going along with concept pretty well)

    very funny

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Admire the design process and execution,but it seems REX quite keen on repeating the stacking strategy same as in their kentucky and seattle project,,ignoring some formal issues.

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