In 1988, TEB took over the former branch of BCI in Izmir, Turkey and renovated this landmark building, turning it into a corporate business and private banking centre.
Ancient Smyrna devastated by fire
The young Turkish Republic, founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, decided to make Izmir, the ancient city of Smyrna, its commercial and trade fair centre. At the time Izmir was the second largest manufacturing town in Turkey and the main port for exports of local products such as figs, raisins and tobacco. In 1922, however, a fire destroyed a large part of the city. European architects were put in charge of rebuilding the areas that had burned down, and they designed a new layout for this part of the city.
A new branch for BCI
Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) commissioned architect Giulio Mongeri to build its new Izmir branch. He had already taken charge of major construction projects in Istanbul and was at that time involved in planning the layout of the new capital, Ankara. The new building, which is now classified as a historic monument, was officially opened in 1928. The main facade is a mixture of Neo-Renaissance and Turkish ‘First National’ style – which draws on many of the decorative features found in classic Ottoman architecture. The interior spaces are arranged around an atrium topped by an art nouveau polychrome stained-glass roof.
An outstanding Corporate Business Centre for TEB
The BCI branch closed in 1979, and in 1988 the building was sold to Türk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB). In 1998, TEB decided to renovate the building. While meeting the needs of a modern bank, great care was also taken to preserve the building’s key historical legacy. In 2005, TEB entered into partnership with the BNP Paribas Group. The premises currently serve as TEB’s Aegean Corporate Centre and Regional Private Banking Centre.