Sefik BIRKIYE was born in 1954 in Ankara, Turkey, and after a well-travelled youth (his father worked for NATO), he went on to graduate from La Cambre School of Architecture (ENSAAV) in Brussels in 1978 and took his Master's in Town Planning from the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in 1981.
In the beginning
It was in 1979 that ªefik Birkiye founded VIZZION Architects, previously known as Atelier d'Art Urbain, a firm of architects and urban planners fully committed to the improvement of the urban environment.
He was later joined by his partners, Dominique Delbrouck, Christian Sibilde and Grégoire de Jerphanion. Together with his 100-strong team, ªefik Birkiye has built a worldwide reputation for excellence.
In 2006, Sefik Birkiye split from his partners, eager to give a new impetus and direction to his company. This move allowed him to directly manage the entire development process of his projects.
Since the firm's establishment, Sefik Birkiye has personally contributed to the design of each project. He believes that every building has its own cultural identity inspired by its location and the history of its surroundings. His creative approach takes into account elements of the past and today's expectations.
How it developed
The first projects of VIZZION Architects were located primarily in Brussels and have contributed in a positive way to change the urban landscape. VIZZION Architects has taken part in major urban redevelopment projects such as the revitalisation of the formerly industrial district bordering the Brussels canal and the renovation of City 2, the largest shopping mall in central Brussels.
VIZZION Architects has also built and renovated corporate headquarters for financial institutions such as the KBC, Dexia and Fortis banks as well as Zurich Insurance and Swiss Life Insurance.
The growing international reputation of ªefik Birkiye has led to commissions in France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt and the Virgin Islands. A track record of more than eight million square meters already built or projected has helped VIZZION Architects to become one of the leading architectural firms in Europe.
In 1998 and again in 2000, VIZZION Architects won the prestigious MIPIM Award for Le Jardin des Fonderies apartment building and the Green Island office complex. More recently, the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, the only five-star resort in Monaco, was nominated for a MIPIM Award.
What the future holds
In 1997, Sefik Birkiye founded VIZZION Europe in order to create a more global approach to architecture and to extend his direct involvement in the development stage of any given project. The objective of the group is to develop High Environmental Value in mixed-use projects, to ensure competitive prices and the highest possible standards. The firm has worked out an innovative system of administration and financing; described as vertical integration, it is responsible for every phase of the project, from the search and selection of the ideal building site through to any eventual sale. It thus offers complete assurance that, start to finish, no detail will be overlooked.
As registered architect in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Turkey, ªefik Birkiye has lectured widely on various aspects of his profession, and for more than 15 years has served as Board President of the Archives d'Architecture Moderne in Brussels. Internationally admired not only for his 30-year career as an architect and urban developer, ªefik Birkiye is respected for his qualities of leadership and as a man of rare vision.