Izmir Opera House / Ozel Office

Front View of Opera House ©

Ozel Office, a practice based in both LA, California and Istanbul, , has designed a competition proposal for an Opera House for Izmir, a port town off the Aegean Coast.  The competition challenged participants to see architecture as a “catalyst” that could potentially help the city re-center itself as a hub of economic activity and source of cultural significance.  The collaborative effort within the office, especially led by Guvenc Ozel and Erdim Kumkumoglu, produced a proposal where the ”architecture becomes a catalyst that reinforces the relationship between the old city, the new city, the waterfront and urban culture. In short, our vision is a synergy of spatial, cultural as well as practical and contextual aesthetics.”

More images and more about the project after the break.

“Although we believe that larger urban planning initiatives cannot be reduced to singular architectural interventions, the structure we propose intends to not only act as a gradient that transitions the existing and proposed activities in this new and emerging part of the city but also aims to plug into a much larger global cultural context through a dynamic fusion of aesthetic, cultural and functional criteria,” explained the architect.

Early Diagrams © Ozel Office

By tapping into the architectural memory of Izmir, specifically the tower and the amphitheater (both of which have significant places is Izmir’s history), Ozel has created architecture that uses the existing as a starting point to further develop for our contemporary society.  Historically, towers’ strong presence create a sense of place within the city, as the “urban markers”  can be immediately recognized due to their iconic stature.  And, the amphitheater’s functionality as a public gathering holder is a “form that acts as an interface for social unity.”  Working with these two elements, the new Opera became “both a monument and a continuous public space.”

Interior © Ozel Office

“We believe that Izmir needs a contemporary tower that signifies and marks its new and emerging priorities and announces its progressive cultural agenda….and… We believe that the Opera House as a cultural construct can incorporate architectural strategies of an amphitheater in a contemporary fashion in order to serve as a social catalyst that encourages public interaction and an urban democracy,” explained the architect.

To turn their ideas about urban memory into the beginning of their architectural statement, conceptually, the Opera House was envisioned as an extension of the existing cultural landscape of the city.  Aesthetically, the Opera House’s draped form was designed to be perceived as topography, ensuring “an uninterrupted integration” of the existing with the new.  This seamless integration allows cultural happenings, such as ballet and opera, to become threaded into the fabric of daily life.

Project Data:

Size: 30000 sqm.

Status: Competition Entry

Project Team: Guvenc Ozel, Erdim Kumkumoglu, Kevin R. Conway

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Izmir Opera House / Ozel Office" 08 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=68066>

19 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is one of the most coherent and thoughtful projects I’ve seen in a while- seems aggressively formal yet somehow very quiet. Is this getting built? One other reason for me to get on with my long belated travel to Turkey…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is gorgeous! Graceful, fairly simple and yet impactful. Those curves made me think of the bow of a sailing ship rising out of the sea. I love it!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Very nice, great lines. The design reminds me of BIGs Slussen competition project.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Izmir Opera House competition started by March 2010 as a two-level-competition. There were approximately 200 submissions by 28th of May as the first phase deadline. For the second phase 12 projects were selected, and designers were informed non-publicly. Second phase submission will be on 13th of August 2010.

    This project, depending on its “publication” by designers, is probably one of the projects that are not included in final 12.

    For the criticism about the project, one which has the vision for the local properties of Izmir, probably can say the “open space usage” of the project is significantly “ignorant” by not taking the climatical conditions of Izmir into consideration. As a typical Mediterranean city, Izmir has extreme summer and winter contidions; therefore semi-open spaces, shade producing or wind-protecting walls, fragmanted masses would be nice proposals rather than wide squares or rooftop usage.

    For the so-called “sum concept” of tower and amphitheatre; it can be said that, it is again ignorant, and a simple mathematical joke, without understanding historical and theoretical backrounds of two archetypes. The Clock Tower, representing the 19th century modernization of Ottoman Empire based on acceptance of “modern time concept”; and amphitheatre a probable tribute to romantic perception of nature of ancient Greek and Anatolian sites; would be better handled rather than perceiving them as 2D shapes.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The self-imposed schizophrenia of the architect is evident in the “Early Diagrams”. The presentation of TWO explanations for the same project is clearly the result of a desire to appeal to wildly differently attenuated jurors. The top, a display of cleverness (see Wes Jones “Big Forking Dilemma” in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Harvard Design Magazine) suggests some sort of undeniable objective truth that when you add a tower to an amphitheater this project inevitably occurs. The bottom diagram is a recollection of the subjective judgment regarding the buildings relationship to its urban environment. Objectivity & Subjectivity. Both may or may not be post-rationalized justifications, but the lack of a CLEAR preference MAKES CLEAR that the architect might be in the business of acquiescence rather than confident commitment. Then again, anything to win a competition. Actually, the project is GOOD ENOUGH without the cliche-diagrams that have become the necessary novelty of contemporary architectural production.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i dislike these flashy renderings, they hide the design more than help it, but sexy project :)

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s like walkin up the great wall of china :(. It’s a hike up the amphitheater for sure but imagine doing that. This project is so weird- I hate it and live it at the same time.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    honestly, i can only imagine their friends or employees posting positive comments for this project because it is completely tasteless to say the least.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    this looks EXACTLY like zaha hadid’s entry for Taichung Performing Arts Centre… the only difference is the colour of the building… WHAT A COPY-CAT!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I just checked out the zaha thingie, um you are either blind or just in the very beginning of your architecture education. Although I have issues with this project for other reasons, that kind of comment is just unnecessary and ridiculous.

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