Istanbul University Annex & The Urban Beach | Istanbul | Unit 21 | 2011
A Fog Harvesting Waterscape is designed to recreate the ambitious civic & public works that early Turkish Republic undertook over century ago. The designs of these parks, beaches, pools – places of enjoyment, recreation, and relaxation – gave Istanbul a new contemporary Western image; an goal still relevant, today, with Turkey’s accession bid to the European Union in the next few years.
Istanbul’s historic relationship with its bodies of water was a starting point , with special focus on Istanbul’s manipulation of its landscape & topography to form the waterways, reservoirs, & nymphaeums – Roman public spectacles of waters – that dotted the Old City.
Fatih Park, situated in the heart of the Old City, is a derelict, isolated urban island; result from an urban dissection of major roadworks in the 1920’s, was chosen as the site for this year’s design project. Evidence of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman architectural manipulations of water is found in the Valens Aqueduct, & the Cisterns of neighboring mosques. Not to mention, the seat of Istanbul Municipal Authority directly across the Park.
Taking the Roman Nymphaeum, that dotted the Turkish Coast, as a precedant, as well as its evolution through the Renaissance, Baroque and Contemporary times. Its evolution is evident in architectural examples such as Villa Julia’s sunken grottoes, Villa D’Este’s Gardens, Potsdamer Platz & Disney Water Parks. Using this archetype & using the vernacular Islamic garden design, I experimented in designing a landscape of undulating forms, sunken courtyards, gardens, lightwells, a public spectacle of water – a waterscape. A Fog Harvesting Waterscape is intended to provide additional facilties of education & recreation for nearby Istanbul University – a notoriously secular university; as well as, an Urban Beach, similar to the project from the 1920’s, for the greater public as an oeuvre of the Municipality. The waterscape will intend to recreate a sense of happiness, adventure & joy – forgetting the hardships of life – that I personally experienced in both Villa D’Este in Tivoli & the Generalife in Granada; in hopes that it will be a bridge and communal meeting point for the cultural divided populations of the Old City.