Not many places in the world offer a mix of nature and climate as pleasant as Turkey's western coastline. 'Bodrum is the St Tropez of Turkey,' says Nicolas Berggruen, the investor behind a new 155,000sq ft housing complex on the Bodrum peninsula, the first completed property of which is shown here. 'This is where people from East and West, of all nations, like to meet. A place, where the new generation invests in yachts and holiday-residences.'
Composed of 21 houses and located just outside the village of Yalikavak, the Richard Meier & Partners-designed residential project occupies a steep hillside site featuring views to Yalikavak Bay. The site's dramatic topography makes each of the 1-acre parcels unique. Five residential types will be available - measuring approximately 330sqm each and including a 40sq m guesthouse.
'We have taken the opportunity of our frequent visits to Turkey to immerse ourselves in the history of Turkish architecture and urbanism, its political and cultural context, and its current challenges', says Meier. 'We experienced an optimistic architecture and visionary expressions benefiting an ambitious country.' Indeed Turkey is a fascinating country full of history and potential, with a rich heritage and beautiful natural settings.
No surprise then that the architect drew inspiration from the surroundings. 'It is the context - both the magnificent light and the amazing climate of Yalikavak - that has been our inspiration in designing the Bodrum Houses', says Meier. 'We tried to maximize the natural light entering the buildings while shading them from the sun. In addition, we believe in minimal and elegant detailing and a reduced palette of materials.'
All houses will be orientated so as to maximize views. The houses' entrance will lead into the foyer and on to a dramatic double-height living room with a centrally placed feature fireplace. Each house will contain a living room, dining room, kitchen, and powder room on the ground floor; three bedrooms on the upper floor; and media room, laundry room, and staff bedrooms on the basement level. Special adjustments were made in each house's design to fit their individual plot perfectly.
The first completed house is a clean and minimal, bright white design, and others will follow suit. 'We have designed all the houses to read as a single object in the landscape, giving them a cubic appearance and connection to the site', says the architect. 'The exterior spaces have been carved out of the structures' volumes while remaining under an overarching roof, giving each house a subtractive sculptural quality.' The masterplan's organisation reveals a meticulous attention to detail. 'We hope this new development is not only in direct dialogue to its place, but also that it becomes the best living environment in Yalikavak', adds Meier.
Berggruen is more than pleased. 'Meier knows that light is life. His strict geometric, snow-white and light-filled villas are distinctive and unique.' The architect's designs are set to stand out in the area for their immaculate use of proportion, light and scale.
'The first house has exceeded my expectations by far', adds Berggruen. 'Meier's special attention to size and privacy created a comfortable and suitably serene environment, within a generous 5,000sq m plot surrounded by large areas of naturally grown, pristine landscape.'
The area has always been popular with the Turks, but with its reach widening and popularity rising - there is an international airport, a first class marine and plenty of top quality restaurants - property prices follow suit. Sprinkle it with a selection of striking pieces of architecture, such as the Bodrum houses by Richard Meier & Partners, and there is no doubt that Bodrum is on its way to becoming a true global destination.