Istanbul based architecture office Suyabatmaz Demirel designed the Walk-in Cinema inside the SALT Beyoglu building which is almost a cul-de-sac attached to Istiklal Street, one of the most important pedestrian zones of Istanbul. The 19th century apartment located here was refurbished to be the home of SALT, a non-profit cultural institution which opened just last month and in a very short time became one of the most active cultural institutions in the city. This open platform is designed to host the events, screenings and impromptu public projects that SALT will program and encourage. More images and architects’ description after the break.
As the name also suggests, this is an open space which is connected to the Istiklal street via the ground area of the building. The lack of any doors makes the space a real open space and at the same time signifies the openness to any idea that will be shared within. In this context, the institution’s major aim to become a flexible space open to any kind of intervention has almost been realized in this walk-in cinema space. The cul-de-sac concept also enhances this situation since dead-end streets offers infinite possibilities. This space tends to become a flexible area which changes its functions according to time and its users.
The surface material used in the walk-in space has been chosen as the same material of the forum area, which resembles the stone surface of the Istiklal street. This enables the visitors to suddenly find themselves inside the walk-in cinema while wandering inside the building’s ground floor. The slightly raised ramp at the end of the forum area allows the visitors to drop by into a more concentrated space. This impromptu space dictates nothing to its users. Visitors may watch either by sitting or standing and they are free to come by or leave whenever they want, even in the middle of the event taking place on the stage or on the screen.
The seating units may move horizontally on rails and thus the whole space may suddenly become a streetscape with irregular seating arrangements rather than a rigid auditorium. With this transformation, space is defined once again and the movements of the users become visible. People entering or leaving the area become part of the performance just like an event occurring in a street. Sometimes the seating units become surfaces which may be leaned against while the ground becomes a seating area. The endless combination of arrangements enable the users to create their own seating and watching positions and their engagement with the event.