Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul has long been an amalgam of cultures and a record of civilizations past and present. Today, Istanbul is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Expanding democracy, global investment, and abundant tourism are reshaping the region for generations. The Pearl of Istanbul is at the heart of this transformation. Envisioned by Turkey’s business and civic leaders and designed by the urban planning and architectural design team at LJC, the Pearl marks Istanbul’s rebirth as a global destination.
Situated on a natural bluff just outside the bustling city center of Istanbul, the Pearl takes full advantage of its connection to the Marmara Sea, the natural beauty of the site’s topography contributing to the region’s reputation as a cosmopolitan resort.
The development’s centerpiece is a marina comprising a string of manmade islands. The islands are conceived as an alternative to a utilitarian seawall; they harmonize with and extend the region’s natural landscape. Changes in scale — from the monumental to the intimate — accommodate a variety of uses that will include nightlife and entertainment as well as family-friendly activities and academic marine research facilities. Connected by pathways and organized around a central “pearlescent” node, Pearl’s islands form a calm harbor with more than 500 boat slips and commercial terminals for cruise ships. In the inner harbor, floating islands reduce the impact on existing marine habitats and allow for future flexibility.
The Pearl is no less ambitious on land. Sculptural towers rise along the shore, alternating with landscaped terraces that cascade towards the water, mimicking the natural plateaus of the region. Luxury accommodations will position the Pearl as a second home to the world’s elite. The towers’ base will house retail and restaurants.