In loving memory of our friend and colleague Tunca Iskir who passed away last week in his beloved Turkey.
Tunca came to the firm in 1971 as a young emerging architect bringing great promise and ambition. Tunca soon became a confident leader and valued role model within the firm – with everyone wanting to work with him. He was part of an emerging Turkish architect group that had been recruited by Jack Cohen, the firm’s founder, who understood the value of diversity, as well as intellect, resourcefulness and drive. Over the course of his career, Tunca became a trusted mentor and father figure to many. His significant influence on the careers of so many talented architects was prolific.
While Tunca’s influence grew among the staff and the leadership of the firm, it also grew with our clients and eventually into the construction community, who admired his drawings as “the very best in the city”. Time and time again, clients came to the firm because Tunca had helped us build our reputation as the firm who produced the best sets of construction documents in Washington.
Tunca’s steady and calm manner made him always approachable and a most valuable resource to the firm. His partners and colleagues were constantly amazed at his brilliant and creative ability to solve complex challenges. The way he could draw upon his vast knowledge with laser sharp focus to zero in on the critical issues, and simultaneously arrive at the right solution is without peer—all while patiently explaining his rationale and ultimately imparting his wisdom upon us.
Tunca was a magnet – people from all over the world were drawn to him -- especially from his home country of Turkey. The seeds for Torti Gallas’ international practice were planted by Tunca both through his encouragement and acceptance of our professional diversity and through his tireless efforts to create magnificent project opportunities for us in Turkey and elsewhere around the world.
Tunca was never more proud than when we took teams for charrettes in Turkey. Clearly his love for his homeland and his consummate charm opened doors that allowed our clients to see us as a formidable force. Tunca’s roots in Turkish culture allowed clients to receive our designs with the confidence that only insiders would have. And his beaming smile and pride of place when he escorted our teams for the traditional two-day pre-charrette tours of Istanbul will never be forgotten.
In the last several years leading up to his retirement, Tunca was one of three Board Members along with John Torti and Thomas Gallas. His valuable wisdom and generous nature was a foundational cornerstone of the firm’s culture. When Tunca retired from our firm in 2013 he left a void that was hard to fill, but we were happy for him to be able to move on to a new phase of life. Today we feel that void in a much different way. Tunca, you will be greatly missed by all who knew you. May you rest in peace, dear friend.