Marc Koehler
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Campus Kastamonu

Marc Koehler Architects together with Ankara based ONZ Architects have been awarded first prize for their design of the Campus Kastamonu in Turkey. 156 architects were invited by the Ministry of Education in Turkey to compete in the design of a series of ultra-modern educational campuses. The winning proposal, an asymmetrical star, embodies excellence and is an endeavour to create the largest high school campus ever designed. The stretching arms symbolise the far reaching aspirations of growing minds.

An Advanced Centre of Learning

The campus will be an advanced centre of learning that will prepare the growing demographic of Turkish youth for the challenges facing them in a rapidly growing economy. It will welcome ten thousand students, housing two thousand of them and will replace the school buildings in the towns the grounds of which are being reassigned for commercial purposes. The team wanted to give the students their own urban centre. The ancient Greek idea of the “agora”, a place where education, commerce and religion are celebrated, provided the inspiration. The numerous colonnades, open spaces, courtyards and refectory, sunk into the heart of the courtyard, are an expression of the campus as a centre for educational, social and psychological development. By raising the central court, the expanse of the campus is compressed to a more intimate, human scale where the students can feel comfortable in. This raised feature of the star camouflages the intricate technical and well organised infrastructure beneath the campus, liberating the public and social areas above for pedestrians.

A Relationship Between Nature and Architecture

The relationship between nature and architecture is defined by the open configuration of the buildings towards the natural surroundings. The star shape allows a gentle transition between the educational, recreational, residential and natural surroundings. Creating a spectacular panoramic view, the star seduces wanderers to instinctively expand their path into nature, enlarging the area of the campus and providing more space for reflection. Sourcing the local marble and travertine, rich in copper and the abundant pine in the region, the design team had a strong focus on innovation and sustainability in the design.

The strategic alignment of the arms channel winds to generate natural ventilation for the structures, while their orientation to the sun’s path naturally lights the interior of the buildings. The clever use of glass creates a greenhouse effect that regulates the climate within. A water based geothermal system is also implemented to modify the internal climate, pumping water through copper pipes to heat and cool the buildings.



Kastamonu University, 37150 Kastamonu Province, Turkey

81740.0 m2

Turkish Government

Kastamonu Campus (2014)




Main architect
Marc Koehler Architects

In collaboration with
ONZ Architects

Project architects
Marc Koehler, Onat Öktem (ONZ), Zeynep Öktem (ONZ)

Project team
Marc Koehler, Onat Öktem (ONZ), Zeynep Öktem (ONZ), David Klinkhamer, Veerle Rigter, Loed Stolte, Ceyhun Ruhisu Altiok (ONZ), Esat Can Meker (ONZ), Besmier Kamberi (ONZ)

Arup (Nederland), Arif Künar