Inspired by a reaction to the tsunami, the proposal for the Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Center is symbolically and practically rising above the streams. Designed by CRAB, the studio of Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham, the building sits with its blades resting into the ground, ready to divide the streams of water if and when they come. Organized as a series of five clusters, it meanders along the site as a chain of events and somewhat in the manner of a chain of flowers. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In some ways aggressive towards the threat, the building is at the same time deliberately lyrical and airy. It gives a series of highlights and shadows, rises and falls, with expressions of resistance and caress that with their sense of dynamic aim to be a focus for an otherwise unlovely piece of suburbia. Beneath the series of clusters are a series of shallow pools and dampened earth with indigenous plants. At the more formal edges of the site these rise to being banks of small trees, towards the south the ground is treated as a brittle, fractured shale-like surface with fissures that are themselves a reminder of the seismic inheritance.
Most visitors will enter at the north-east corner, either parking below the building or walking directly in from the higher ground to the lobby and coffee shop in the first cluster. From then on the route through the building is really an experience, but always having a simple interface with each of the clusters. The second cluster contains the planetarium and hovers over the parking area. The third cluster contains the conference room. The fourth cluster contains the earthquake simulation section and the fifth cluster houses the rainstorm simulation and the training evaluation section.
Construction is of fair faced ‘visual’ reinforced concrete. A special detail is our suggestion that a family of toads be housed and watched: scientific evidence suggests that these animals have strong reactions some time before an earthquake.
Architects: CRAB Studio Location: Istanbul, Turkey Design Team: Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham (CRAB); Keti Carapuli, Andreea An Mar, Alice Labourel, Jonas Ersson, Oskar Edstrom Status: Competition