Koç Holding AŞ Headquarters at Nakkaştepe, a group of buildings housing the central administration of Koç Holding and the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV). The site is in the İcadiye neighborhood of Nakkaştepe on the edge of Kuzguncuk district in Üsküdar, Istanbul.
The current location of the facility was once the site of a mansion, thought to have been built in the early twentieth century and given as a wedding present by Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861-76) in 1901 to his youngest daughter, Emine Sultan (1873-1920) when she married Mehmed Şerif Pasha (Çavdaroğlu) (1873-1958), the governor of Istanbul. The mansion, known during that time as the Emine Sultan Mansion or Palace, had a large, beautiful pool and was surrounded by high walls with doors opening onto all the surrounding streets from the grove-style garden. The main door was on the side of Nakkaştepe Elementary School, its outbuildings and stables overlooked the street, Aziz Bey Sokağı. The mansion was used by Emine Sultan and her husband as a summer house until her death in 1920. It was inherited by Mehmed Şerif Pasha after Emine Sultan’s death. It was used as a school for a time after Mehmed Şerif Pasha was exiled together with other members of the Ottoman dynasty in 1924. It was severely damaged by a fire in 1935.
Known as the Mehmed Şerif Pasha Mansion, the building and its 23,219 square meters of grounds were acquired by the Koç Group in 1978. The architect Sedad Hakkı Eldem drew up a restoration project (1978-1987) to enable the site to be used as the headquarters of Koç Holding. Between 1986 and 1988, it was faithfully restored by Garanti İnşaat AŞ based on Eldem’s project. It was recreated referencing information taken from old photographs and archives, and using remnants of the stables, head coachman’s building, the ağa dairesi (agha’s office), the selamlık (men’s quarters) and harem.
Koç Holding and VKV moved into the new facilities in September 1988, having previously operated from a building in Fındıklı, Kabataş since 1967. The facility, which covers a total area of 11,500 square meters, comprises six main buildings: the Old Selamlık Building, housing the CEO, CFO, and chief offices of the Tourism, Food, Retail, Automotive, Defense Industry, Other Automotive and Science Group, Energy, Consumer Durables, Banking and Insurance, and Audit Group, together with the directorates of Corporate Communication, External Affairs and Human Resources; the Old Harem Building, housing the offices of the late Vehbi Koç, of >Rahmi M. KoçMustafa V. Koç, former chair of the board of directors, as well as the offices of the late Sevgi Gönül and Suna Kıraç, and the Legal Consultancy Department; the Ağa Dairesi, housing the Koç Holding cafeteria and a venue for various social events and meetings; the Old Hammam Building, housing the office of the Strategic Planning Coordination and the Nakkaştepe branch of Yapı Kredi Bank; the Stables, housing the office of Ömer M. Koç, chair of the Koç Holding Board of Directors, the Accounting Directorate, and the office of the Information Services Coordination and Audit Group; and the former Head Coachman building, housing the Office Management staff.
The Nakkaştepe facilities received the Europa Nostra Award in 1990 for “faithful restoration and renovation” (see Europa Nostra Awards).
The story of Koç Holding and the VKV’s move to the Nakkaştepe facility in the words of Can Kıraç
On the morning of September 13, 1988, after performing the morning prayer, Vehbi Koç was praying that Nakkaştepe would bring good fortune to the Koç family and the Koç group...
That same morning, at 9:30 a.m., members of the Koç family, including Vehbi Koç, and Koç Holding employees were on a marble terrace, participating in a “sacrifice ceremony” and “prayers” to celebrate the opening of the Nakkaştepe facility.
Koç Holding became a legal entity on November 20, 1963; from November 20, 1963 to December 24, 1967 (four years and one month) it was based at Merkez Han in Galatasaray, it was then based in a building in Fındıklı, Kabataş, from December 15, 1967 to August 20, 1988 (twenty years and eight months).
The Koç Holding Nakkaştepe facility, from start to finish, owes its existence to the vision, stubborn persistence and perseverance of Rahmi Koç... Uğur Ekşioğlu worked hard to purchase the land and Tezcan Yaramancı put a lot of effort into the construction work...
The workforce at Koç Holding, which directs the operations of the Koç Group companies and determines its new developments, now has a calm, classic and contemporary working environment.
During the 28-month construction period on the Nakkaştepe facility, Vehbi Koç remained in the background, closely following the developments, criticizing the Family Committee and Managing Committee by occasionally saying, “Rahmi’s gone over the limit!”... He thought much of it was unnecessary, especially the swimming pool, the relaxation rooms allocated to the chair and vice chair, and the sumptuous Ottoman-style lounges in the main buildings... World famous architect Professor Sedat Hakkı Eldem, who was in charge of the project to renovate the Mehmet Şerif Pasha mansions, was determined not to cut any corners on the project. Professor Eldem sadly died two months before the Nakkaştepe facility opened for business and never got to see the work completed in accordance with his project. Another issue that bothered Vehbi Koç was what the Koç Holding staff, who had previously been accustomed to working in an office measuring 5,000 square meters, would make of the office at the Nakkaştepe facility, which covered 13,000 square meters!
In fact, he wanted to restrict Koç Holding’s operations to just 5,000 square meters of the new space and settle a few other Koç companies on the empty floors! In Vehbi Koç’s view, it was time to end the “era of the sultanate” and begin the “age of austerity”! So much so that, before Koç Holding moved from Fındıklı to Nakkaştepe, when it was un-certain which bridge would be best for the staff to travel over from various areas of the European side of Istanbul, he researched it himself, considering it his duty to determine the time differences between the first bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge, together with the petroleum expenses, and informed the relevant colleagues with a circular!
Ultimately, Vehbi Bey agreed for the Nakkaştepe facility, which would go on to win the 1990 Europa Nostra award, to be wholly used by Koç Holding, but he did not grant permission for use of the swimming pool, gymnasium or tennis courts until late 1991...
Can Kıraç, Anılarımla Patronum Vehbi Koç (Memories of My Boss, Vehbi Koç), Milliyet Yayınları, Istanbul, 1995, pp. 327-28