URBAN FARMS CENTER
GULTEPE, ISTANBUL, TURKEY . 2004 . GRADUATION PROJECT
STUDIO BORDER CONDITIONS . TU DELFT . ADVISORS: MARC SCHOONDERBEEK AND OSCAR ROMMENS

 

My graduation project is based on a previous urban research on the gecekondu (squatter-settlement) of Gultepe in Istanbul, Turkey. 
Among all the unbuilt semi-public spaces of this neighborhood, the ones located next to the public roads are not occupied by any activities. This is in contrast to the inner courtyards that are cared for and occupied by the dwellers. 
The primary idea for the design was to stimulate uses for those areas that allow them to keep its flexible and transgressive character. These spaces should be stimulated and occupied, but with activities rather than with physical mass/permanent buildings. Thus, the proposal consists in a network of urban farms, which is an activity that regards to migrants habits and it is easily convertible into other activities. 
The urban farm network is supported by a Facility Center, which is composed programmatically by a canteen, a market, urban farms, workshop areas, information spaces and classrooms. This space should demystify the physical mass - building - as being a border for activities. Once activities can be extended beyond physical boundaries, its private or public character becomes blurred. Consequently, occupation of the site through mass is fragmented by occupation with activities, resulting in several open areas. These open spaces can be used as public routes to other destinations as well.
Inside the building, an idea is developed about the space that is filled or devoid of mass. The proposal is to modify the dimensions of the mass/skin of the building generating different spatial conditions. With different dimensions, the skin becomes a container of programmatic elements beyond constructive elements. 
The facade is seen as a support of different elements that show signs of people’s practices. A hidden grid of small holes in the facade allows the attachment of temporary elements. This recalls the architectural approach seen in Gecekondus: One may not find any apparent logic in the arrangement of the settlements as a whole, although, even if it is not always obvious, every component of the settlement has its particular rules set by the creator.