SO? Celebrates the Opening of ‘Sky Spotting Stop’ in Istanbul

© Muhsin Akgün; Courtesy of Istanbul Modern

Though temporarily postponed due to the Gezi Park protests, Architecture and Ideas has celebrated the opening of their winning entry – Sky Spotting Stop - for the 2013 Young Architects Program () at Istanbul Modern in Turkey. Offering refuge from the historic city’s busy streets, the fragmented canopy of reflective circular discs invites visitors to “sit, rest, gather, play, or skyspot” while overlooking the mouth of the Bosphorus.

Taksim Square’s Temporary Structures, Rendered

Courtesy of occupygeziarchitecture.tumblr.com

Architecture emerges with every “occupy” movement or protest. From whatever meager resources at hand, occupiers create structures to fulfill very specific purposes – from makeshift tents for sleeping, to instant podiums for speaking, or perhaps even a swing to kill the time. Unfortunately, these architectures are, by their very nature, fleeting: often disappearing instantly the moment the occupation ends.

However, thanks to a non-profit in , the temporary structures that dotted Taksim Square a few weeks ago have been preserved for posterity. Herkes İçin Mimarlık, or ”Architecture for All,” is devoted to offering architectural solutions to social problems facing today and promoting a participatory design process in architecture. They’ve created a tumblr called #occupygezi architecture where you can see all the temporary structures of Taksim Square in both photographs and detailed drawings.

When Urban Planning Gets Political: The History of Taksim Square

Courtesy of Plataforma Urbana

Over the last two weeks, the world has witnessed history unfold in a small park in the heart of , .  What started out as a peaceful protest to save Gezi Park and its trees from destruction has turned into a country-wide (and, to some degree, worldwide) movement that rejects the ever-increasing autocratic tendencies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The urban policies and projects that PM Erdogan and his government have been loutishly implementing in Istanbul offer only a few examples of the way this government has manifested its undemocratic attitudes. In that regard, it would be misleading to consider the protest over Taksim and Gezi Park as an isolated incident.  Instead, development over Istanbul’s quintessential square constitutes the last straw in a series of neo-liberal policies, themselves the result of a century of history, that have shaped Istanbul over the course of the last decade.

More after the break…

Turkey: Fighting for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Space

Courtesy of Plataforma Urbana

The impending destruction of the last public park in Istanbul was the straw that broke the camel’s back last Tuesday. When a peaceful demonstration to save Taksim Gezi Park was met with violent police retaliation, the situation quickly escalated into a nationwide protest against the increasingly authoritarian Turkish government. At this moment all across the country, thousands are standing up not only for Gezi Park but for the right to shape the place that they call home.

More information on the situation in after the break.  

Premier Campus Office in Kagithane Winning Proposal / JDS Architects

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Focusing on the users’ working and living qualities, the winning proposal for the Premier Campus Office in Kagithane addresses its presence in as a new form of contextual and urban approach. Designed by JDS Architects, the building is formed by their desire to make it interact with its environment and acts as a catalyst of business life for a new Istanbul that promotes contemporary culture, architecture and lifestyle. More images and architects’ description after the break.

YAP IM-Debris Competition Entry / Yalin Architectural Design

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Chosen as one of the five finalists in MOMA’s Young Architectural Program (), Yalin Architectural Design’s proposal ‘IM-Debris’ focuses on how Istanbul and all the other cities in the world have to come up with local solutions to their own problems in global standards. The main purpose of this design is to be within the rubble which we are usually used to observe from a distance, to form a place with every possible material that is left from a construction and to have the visitors re-discover where it came from, in a place designed by it in the first place. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Istanbul International Financial Center Master Plan / HOK

Courtesy of HOK

Integral to ’s plan to make its economy one of the world’s 10 largest by 2023, the HOK-designed master plan for the International Financial Center (IIFC) is now in construction. Built on a 170-acre site on the city’s Asian side, the Turkish government’s goal for the landmark IIFC project is to establish as a global center for finance. The IIFC will house the head offices of the country’s financial market governing bodies, state-owned and private banks, and related businesses. It will include approximately 45 million square feet of office, residential, retail, conference, hotel and park space. More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘Tearing the Ground’ YAP Istanbul Modern Proposal / ONZ Architects

Courtesy of ONZ Architects

ONZ Architects‘ ‘Tearing the Ground’ proposal was recently awarded as one of the five finalists in the Istanbul Modern 2013. Their design consists of a contemporary interpretation of a flying carpet constructed with reused plastic units, made of marine litter. The project team tears the ground and lifts up this carpet and puts it in the air with everything it conceals. Thus, the plastic waste produced by the city becomes the main material for the . More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘Seapeaker’ YAP Istanbul Modern Proposal / Evren Başbuğ, İnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, Engin Ayaz /

Courtesy of Evren Başbuğ, İnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, Engin Ayaz

Seapeaker‘, was recently named as one of the five finalists for “Young Architects Program” 2013 cycle. Designed by the collaborative team of Evren Başbuğİnanç Eray, Meriç Kara, and Engin Ayaz, the main intent of the project is to be a hearing aid for İstanbul. It highlights the city’s muted qualities in an unexpected way. Designed using rigorous acoustical principles and the generative capacities of the site, seapeaker amplifies sounds of the sea underneath and punctures a new connection in-between. More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘Haze’ Pavilion Proposal / Salon2

Courtesy of

Designed by Salon2, their ‘Haze’ Pavilion proposal aims to transform into a garden of stages while preparing an unexpected architectural condition for the distant relationship of İstanbul and the sea. Through an experiential design, the pavilion shifts the perception of a specific shore condition of the Tophane Pier and creates its own cool microclimate in the warmest days of the year it to accommodates various events. More images and architects’ description after the break.

SO? Wins YAP Istanbul Modern 2013

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SO? Architecture and IdeasSky Spotting Stop has been announced as winner of the 2013 Young Architects Program (YAP) Istanbul Modern in . Similar to its counterparts - CODA’s skateboard scrap Party Wall in New York and bam!’s buoyant installation He at MAXXI – the shady escape will be constructed in late June in the Istanbul Modern’s courtyard, offering refuge from the busy streets of Istanbul while overlooking the mouth of the Bosphorus.

More on ‘Sky Spotting Stop’ after the break…

AA Istanbul Visiting School 2013: Vertical Interventions

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In its third year, the AA Istanbul Visiting School, Vertical Interventions, in collaboration with Technical University, will continue to rediscover verticality through novel generative design techniques and large-scale physical prototypes. Abstracted as a fusion of various sub-systems, each subsystem of the tower will be investigated in relation to their various performance criteria. The correlations between the separate sets of performance criteria and evaluation methods will be analyzed, leading to the generation of unified design alternatives for a vertical system typology. In addition to the custom-made digital design and evaluation tools supporting the core methodology, Vertical Interventions will also highlight the fabrication and assembly of a large scale working prototype integrating the performative characteristics of each system in examination.

As in 2012, the design agendas of AA Athens and AA Istanbul Visiting Schools will directly create feedback on one another, allowing participation in either one or both Programmes.

Turkey Summons Bids for World’s Largest Airport

Istiklal Caddesi in , Turkey © Karissa Rosenfield

In an effort to maximize Istanbul’s potential of becoming a bustling regional hub, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim has released a request for proposals to construct and operate what could potentially be one of the world’s largest airports. With the Ataturk – Turkey’s largest which handled nearly 45 million passengers last year – steadily reaching capacity and limited by land restrictions, the new $9 billion dollar, six-runway promises to expand the country’s aviation capacity with the potential of handling 150 million yearly passengers.

“The new airport project will be bigger than any other in Turkey and will be part of our plan to build a new city on the Black Sea coast,” Yildirim said, according to Bloomberg.

More after the break.

Istanbul Camlica Mosque Second Prize Winning Proposal / SN Architects

Courtesy of

The main purpose of the design for the Camlica Mosque, which won the second prize in the architectural competition, was to create the largest worship place that has ever been designed, and cover it with one single roof. SN Architects successfully did this by using the load bearing properties of one of the traditional systems that often used “vault systems” and using contemporary architectural and engineering facilities. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Visionary Concept for Science Campus / AllesWirdGut Architektur

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AllesWirdGut, together with the German climate engineering experts Transsolar and the Dutch-born avant-gardist Ton Matton, recently developed their concept for the BIO Campus. The project consists of a huge site just outside Istanbul that is becoming one of the world’s leading scientific research centers which has had a holistic approach from the very start. The main idea behind the architectural and environmental project is to create a self-sufficient and self-supporting accumulation of living spaces for work, scientific research, everyday life and recreational activities. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Video: Emerging Urban Landscapes, The Istanbul Series


Shaped by the Ottoman Empire, known for historical Byzantine structures and its famed Grand Bazaar, Istanbul has always been a melting pot of influences and culture. In recent years, due to thriving economies, emerging cities such as Istanbul have begun cultivating a design landscape. Rapid progress often compromises preservation of heritage and promotion of the arts. On the 5th of November 2012, Taksim Square, one of the few remaining green areas of the city was closed off until late 2013, without the knowledge or consent of its citizens. Here we speak to Özlem Yalim Özkaraoglu, Director of the Design Biennial, and designer, Koray Malhan, about dictatorial and the future of Turkey’s most notable city.

İpera 25 / Alataş Architecture & Consulting

© Gürkan Akay

Architects: Alataş Architecture & Consulting
Location: Galata, İstanbul,
Design Team: Ahmet Alataş, Emre Açar
Architectural Group: Özge Güngör Ülüğ, Dilan Yüksel, Emir Elmaslar, Gabriella Colacicco
Area: 1,100 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Gürkan Akay, Ahmet Alataş, Ali Bekman

Dror’s Radical Vision for a Net-Positive Island Community

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The government of is considering the possibility of constructing a second canal in Istanbul that would result in carving out one billion cubic meters of soil from ’s main land. In response, Turkish developer Serdar Inan has commissioned New York designer Dror Benshetrit to design a proposal that would reconstitute the soil into an innovative, net-positive community for 300,000 residents off the shore of Istanbul. Inan’s only wish is that the proposal blends “innovative design ideas, state of the art technology and cultural legacy with inspirations from the work of chief Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan”.

After six months of exploratory, interdisciplinary discourse with a team of experts – such as the Buckminster Fuller Institute, Buro Happold, Shoji Sadao from Fuller, Sadao & Zung Architects – Dror has unveiled his radical vision this weekend at Istanbul Design Week. Check it out after the break.