Within a trade mission for the creative industries, this two-day workshop offered eight Dutch offices an opportunity to meet Turkish partner offices and potential clients. Here, we also had a change to talk about similarities differences between the works and methods of Dutch and Turkish architects. More information on the workshop can be found here: http://k2studioistanbul.wordpress.com
We have teamed up with Dome
to discuss the Küçükçekmece area. Without ever visiting the site, what can we say about this location? How would Turkish architects approach an analysis of this site, and is that any different from our methods? The resulting presentation:
planning before planning
Istanbul is exemplary for the linear city: topography and coastal extension define an urban fringe of 100 kilometres long with an average width of around 12 kilometres, bridging Europe and Asia. In structural terms there is a tendency, or at least an opportunity, to support the occupational pattern with a functional network of car mobility and public transportation. Those qualifications provide perfect conditions for a polycentric metropolis. A prophecy actually being fulfilled by the rapid growth of several comprehensive central districts like Kartal and Maslak.
The further away from the central density along the Marmaran Coast the more sense it makes to develop new centralities. The Küçükçekmece location, neighbouring the Atatürk International Airport, might serve just right to incubate a new and distinctive urban pole.
The Küçükçekmece location is currently connected with the historic center by a low frequency suburban train line.
North of the Halkali station the tracks extend towards Greece. The alternative east-west connection by public transportation is the metro line which will connect Taksim Square and the Atatürk International Airport.
Integrating those two public transportation systems would highly increase their frequencies and thus the range for inhabitants of Küçükçekmece. And reverse: Küçükçekmece could become a peripherical centre with great accessibility, it could become a destination in itself. The ‘low line' follows the coast line to the historic centre. The ‘high line' connects to Taksim. Both of them could potentially have cross platform interchange with the new line that will connect the European and Asian sides.
Mobility should not be seen as problem, but as a great achievement of our times. It provides individual freedom of movement, freedom of choice. Desired shifts in modal split should be reached by offering competitive alternatives and multimodal interchange, not by discouraging displacements themselves. Driving the city by car has become such an inevitable part of our daily life that we should at least try to enjoy it as an event in itself. Therefore we propose to extend the old coastal road into Küçükçekmece, and thus granting comparable spatial qualities to the location.
In combination with the actual coast line, the boulevard generates a special zone for coastal vegetation, leisure, sports, housing and urban facilities. It could be a characteristic proto-section for Istanbul's functional, spatial and programmatic relation with the Sea of Marmara and the lakes.
The Küçükçekmece area could be a strategic location for improving the water management system of Istanbul. Water running down from the hills can be slowed down by introducing water retention zones along the creeks. In those areas water can be superficially buffered or, where soil conditions permit, be infiltrated. By broadening the creeks and adding typical vegetation the authentic characteristic of hills and valleys will be emphasized, sharpened and strengthened. It exposes the natural condition of the topographical and urban landscape. Water retention could also be used for purification of water and thus improve its quality before it runs into the Küçükçekmece Lake. The main silt-delta in the north of the lake, with an estimated area of about 80 hectares, is more than big enough for introducing reed fields. The water running down will be guided through those fields and in this way be purified.
At the Halkali station a huge trainyard is used for transhipment of goods from trucks to cargo trains. Coming from Trans Europe Motorway, trucks have to run all across the Küçükçekmece area, which is at least conflictive with the intended urbanisation. We therefore propose to relocate this function to a zone with direct possibilities of multimodality, a new and efficient Truck-Train-Transfer. In the area itself, around 30 hectares will be freed up to become an integrated part of the city.
Odds are in favor to Istanbul to win the bid for the 2020 Olympics. Bordering Küçükçekmece, the Olympic facilities could place on higher level the ambitions for the development of the city. We propose direct physical relations between the Olympic zone and the location by making use of the natural layout of the topography. Road and rail infrastructure could be crossed by introducing a ‘landbridge' in between the two hills.
The sketch shows a possible future for Küçükçekmece, resulting from the preceding fertilization process. The creeks create urbanized embankments of high quality housing in a landscaped green and blue setting. Hilltops are taken by ‘urban castles', specific high density neighborhoods with a strong sense of place and community. They are directly connected with the public transportation system with public escalators. The slopes of the hills are transformed into an ‘urban sawa' with terraced housing. The main creeks culminate in a controlled deltapark before flowing into the lake. Because of the historical liason between delta and urban settlement (e.g. Alexandria, Venice, Amsterdam or New York) we introduce a ‘vertical village', attached to eastern embankments of the deltapark. On the southside it defines an urban waterfront to the lake, creating metropolitan beach life and leisure.
Urbanism is about creating conditions. Optimal conditions for further development. Patterns of occupation follow those conditions generated by subsoil, natural habitat and functional networks. By means of rediscovering, cultivating and slightly manipulating fundamental structural elements, we tensioned the urban landscape and created a sustainable framework for plug-in urban design. The framework reveals the specific qualities of the location on which urban fillings can parasitize. It creates a perspective for urban splendor, it is the plan before the plan.