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Location: Bakirkoy, Istanbul
Project type: Urban Design
Employer: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Project year: 2020
Status: National Competition 1st Honorable Mention

Project team: 
Kemal Bal, Nil Bıçak, Erol Kalmaz, Arzu Guler, Hazal Gunal



What are the forms of our operational relationship with the “square” as an urban space? 

1. pass 

2. stand 

Although the current square is a clear rectangular space surrounded by colonnades on four sides and demarcated by two gates, it is divided in two by a dense and continuous pedestrian flow. The desired integrity does not coincide with reality. The all-around colonate is an illusion. The "passing" from door to door constantly interrupts a whole "stopping" space. The proposed project aims to destroy the illusion, to free the "stop" actions from the pressure of the "pass" action. The project creates a clear distinction between two possible courses of action. It continues without interrupting the pedestrian flow extending towards the sea, passing through Metro-YHT and Marmaray, from the intersections of İncirli street and the street where the municipality building faces. It also recognizes and covers this flow with a holistic portico axis. Thus, the square with rectangular geometry remains free from the speed of the flow, as two separate forms of "stopping" on either side of this "passing".  

What are the subforms of the verbs "to pass" and "to stop"?  

“Passing” is the daily routine, it is hasty and certain. Passing is uniform, reasons may vary. To catch the metro, Marmaray, bus or to the workplace. Passing consumes. 

“Stopping” is ambiguous. It has many subforms. Waiting, standing or sitting, walking around, watching movies in the open air, meeting, taking a breather under the tree, playing games, participating in the action… Their forms are different. Stopping is productive.  

The project produced 4 spaces, 3 open and 1 closed, to install the aforementioned “standing forms”:  

1. Square (The Monument and its surroundings-Cumhuriyet Square) 

2. Open amp (Liberty Amplifier) 

3. City Terraces 

4. Bakırköy Design Center 

Fictions and dreams about these four described places:  

Square 1

It is a flat floor space of approximately 30mx30m in size with the monument and the rows of trees on both sides. It is defined by the Atatürk monument at one end and a gum tree at the opposite end. It has a dry dock system in the middle. While the summer time is resting under the focal gum tree and the row of trees on the periphery, the children radiate coolness with streaks of gushing water. It is a symbolic focal point for ceremonies, celebrations, political actions. 

In this area, the parking lot has been solved by staying between two tree lines. Thus, the need for vehicle parking around the municipality has been taken underground. It is envisaged that the existing monument be removed along with the 5 trees around it for the car park descent and exit, and the monument will be positioned in its own place during the construction of the car park, and the five removed trees will be added to the tree line on the periphery.  

2. Amplifier  

Despite the multi-form activity forms of the square, the described activities are loaded due to the amphitheater section format. Such as summer cinema, concert, performance. An intermediate zone with two pools was created between the amphitheater and the transition axis. Visual and sound insulation is provided by pools in this direction, and by a tree line on each of the two long sides of the amphitheater. The amphitheater creates an effective indoor space at the lower level by improving the existing level relationship.  

3. Terraces  

City Terraces  

In the project, urban terraces are designed in the potential space between Marmaray and Gençler Street, on the square level, on the periphery that reaches the Bookstores Bazaar. These sequential cantilever terraces will enable events such as urban festivals and open fairs. This axis, strengthened by the bicycle path and the "Cultural Route", supports the existence of the second-hand booksellers' bazaar, and allows the second-hand bookstore and bookstore stands to continue until the square in the "Bakırköy Book Fair" event to be held. 

The route passing through the second-hand bookstores bazaar is imagined as a focus arranged for children on the designed book axis of the idle registered building located at the point where Ray street connects to the Nationalist street. The building and its garden are a children's library, 

IMM has been included in the project as a nursery and playground.  


4.Bakırköy Design Center  

The cross-sectional potential created by the open amphitheater provides an indoor space that faces the +19.50 elevation, with the subway exits at the lower level. The project imagines this +space as a meeting point open to the common use of urban organizations. As a derivative of the “Zemin Istanbul” or “TAK (Design Workshop Kadıköy)” experiences within the IMM. This center, which is a local assembly where urban designs will be produced, discussed and decisions will be made together, will work together with the open theater to ensure the continuity of joint activities in the seasonal cycle. 

Neighboring Bakırköy Design Center, the building located on block 137 and parcel 3; It is envisioned that the building (which is located on General Şükrü Kanatlı Caddesi in Bakırköy Square (dated from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century) will be reconstructed with its original gabari and will be included in life as a district museum of Bakırköy. This building will be arranged as the starting stop of the cultural routes. will feed the public functions on the ground floor and the square with the adjacent wooden pavilion and the new Design Center opposite.  



The underground bazaar is being forgotten more and more, as it is hidden from view on the street under which it is located, and does not offer any public communal space. The project proposes a radical cross-sectional arrangement, uncovering the arcade along the corridor. Since the street is approximately 20 m wide, a 6 m wide floor tear can be opened by holding 6-7 m in front of both rows of shops. In this gap, the holistic work of the bridges and the street was continued along the entire axis. The landscape-structure balance was studied with a series of tree rows in one direction in the opened space, and the carrier column series of the portico axis constructed in the upper scale design in the other direction. Without changing the total m² of the shops, the shops adjacent to the exits on the central axis of the bazaar were withdrawn and common areas were set up. By proposing amphitheater pockets on the side of the tree line, the height of the bazaar was melted from one side, and breathing and event-landscape clusters were designed at the street level. 

Since there is not enough information about the carrier system of the underground bazaar among the project documents, the reality of the imagined spatial setup will be reinterpreted in the light of technical necessity and possibilities. 


The pedestrianized street up to Ebuzziya street in Istanbul street was used as a landscape area after service was provided to the shops since there is no bazaar at its lower level. A 60 m long playground was designed, arranged with mounds of different heights shaded by a row of trees. Between the "bumpy park" and the "garden with a pool", there is a rest stop with a few steps covered by an olive tree in the middle. Before reaching the sea, one can rest under the olive tree in the heat of noon, when the sun hits the red wall of the Aya Yorgi Church. This focus is located as the “Via Egnatia” stop on the cultural route.  


Landscape Approach  

The competition area has an upper scale green system setup and a plant design setup that will support the resilient landscape approach of the square and its surroundings. The infiltration of the green texture into the city is ensured by the proposed Japanese Marshmallow and Top Maple trees on the connecting green axes (streets). Complementary elements of the connecting green axles are the bus stops to the north of the competition area and the garden with the pool to the south and reach the beach via Ebuzziya Street. The City Terraces, on the other hand, were supplemented with Ash Leaf Maples to strengthen the binding green axes and improve the existing vegetation. 

Olive, Sycamore and Chios, which also constitute the historical trees of Bakırköy, were chosen as the three main focal plants of the herbal fiction. These three plants aim to combine the interaction of the square and its surroundings in the collective memory with the vegetative memory. At this point, Gum Tree was used at the entrance of the square, Sycamore tree was used on the crossing axis and Olive tree was used at Via Egnetia Stop. 

Large flowering magnolia trees were used in the vegetative design of the bus stops in order to support the green system and provide a comfortable waiting area for the passengers. On the other hand, purple giant garlic flower, black onion, needle grass, peniletum bush and shrubs were used in the plant pools in the lower square where the exits of Bakırköy İDO-Kirazlı metro are located. Herbaceous plants are supplemented with Japanese privet trees to provide shade. This lower square, where the metro exits are located, is connected to the square with the olive and purple berry axis located just above the amphitheater. Aks creates a pleasant resting place with olive trees and redbud trees and the seating elements under them. On the other hand, the judas trees and olives preferred in this axis also allow visitors to communicate with the herbal memory of Bakırköy and Istanbul. 

The courtyard bazaar has a setup that takes the vegetative texture that continues on the ground underground. The Pistachio Trees used in the courtyard bazaar provide shaded seating areas for visitors who pause in the sitting areas on the street, while at the same time connecting the upper and lower levels vertically. The Z-axis game created in a vegetative fiction continues with the Tumsekli Park designed on Ebuzziya Street. The sloping triangular platforms built in this area create natural playgrounds for children. At some points, the platforms turn into plant pools and host a herbal composition consisting of purple giant garlic flower, black onion, needlegrass, penisetum bush and heather. The park also has a secondary vegetative axis formed by Redbuds. After the Tumsekli Park and the via Egnetia Station, where the olive tree is used as the focal plant, the Pool Garden comes. The basic approach in Pool Garden has been to improve the existing vegetative tissue and to support the texture with rosemary and shrubs.


Bakırköy, which hosted the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican periods in the historical process, is located between Zeytinburnu district in the east, Bahçelievler and Güngören in the north, Küçükçekmece in the west and Marmara Sea in the south. Bakırköy Cumhuriyet (Freedom) Square, which is the subject of the competition, forms the backbone of the main focal points of the district. In this sense, the square and its immediate surroundings, which carry the heavy pedestrian flow from other parts of the district and other districts of Istanbul, have a strategic position in cultural, commercial and social terms. The design approach aims to highlight this feature of the square and its immediate surroundings by strengthening the potentials it contains.  

1.Ecological Decisions  

The competition area and its immediate surroundings have a close relationship with the Ayamama Stream, Tavukçu Stream and Çinçin and Çırpıcı Streams, which are among the important water systems of Istanbul when examined from the upper scale. The climate change we live in globally and the effects of its effects in Istanbul have made the ecological aspect of the design central. Changes in the rain regime due to climate change and flash floods have been affecting Istanbul in recent years. As was the case with the Ayamama Stream flood in 2009, especially the Ayamama and Tavukçu creeks are the water systems most affected by these floods. 

The flood protection bands that can be developed around the streams at the upper scale have been combined with the green system backbones in their immediate surroundings and the "resilient landscape approaches" proposed in and around the square in a way that will support these backbones. At this point, the landscape is handled in a context that can improve the urban ecosystem and act as a barrier and sponge against natural disasters. The green systems around the water systems are handled holistically with the green axes infiltrating into the city and ecological infrastructure proposals. At this point, the square, Istanbul Street and Fahri Korutürk Street have been transformed into three important axes that carry these green axes. The axes basically connect the green texture where Veliefendi Hippodrome is located in the east and the green texture that starts with the Ataköy residential area in the west. Bakırköy Zuhuratbaba Cemetery, Armenian/Greek Cemeteries, Amine Hatun Mosque, Millet Gezi Park and Bakırköy Cumhuriyet (Freedom) Square in the north, especially in the square and its immediate surroundings, play a conservative role in these axes. In the south, a "binding green area" has been proposed in this area, since the green system that starts with Aytekin Kotil Park in the east and continues to the west is cut by Ataköy Marina. At this point, the “proposed green axes” that connect the green textures and form the resilient landscape approach of Bakırköy constitute the basis of this system. In the design of this system, road vegetation and biological channels (bioswale) have been proposed. The main target in street plantings has been to use plants specific to Istanbul in existing and proposed plant tissues. The reason for the preference of plants native to Istanbul is that native plants need less care and are more prudent due to climate change and drought problems. On the other hand, it is aimed that street plantations reduce the urban heat island effect and create healthy wind flow in the built environment. The main reason for the biological channel proposal is that it can absorb excess water in rain and flood situations and improve the urban ecosystem. At this point, the rainwater flow directions were specified, and the main collection and distribution points of the waters were determined.


2. Transportation Decisions  

Bicycle transportation has been one of the proposals in upper scale transportation decisions to promote pedestrian friendly transportation and to support existing systems. At this point, it has been proposed to strengthen the bicycle paths that continue on the beach, passing through Ataköy Housing area and Veliefendi Hippodrome, and to arrange them in a way to ensure circulation in the square and its immediate surroundings. At this point, new stops have been proposed to feed the routes to the existing bike stops, and the existing bike repair shops have been included in the route. Thanks to the "e-map" proposed within the scope of the design, an interactive platform has been created where cyclists can see the transportation routes, stops and repair shops. 

Bakırköy Cumhuriyet (Freedom) Square and its surroundings have an intense flow in terms of vehicle transportation. Marmaray-YHT, which replaces the old suburban train line in the competition area, and Bakırköy İDO-Kirazlı metro line to be located in the north and inside of the square, the existing minibus lines, bus lines and vehicle roads, the region is exposed to a heavy traffic flow. In this context, the main objective has been to provide pedestrian flow between the rail systems, to propose a solution to the parking problem of the region, and to arrange the service roads after the architectural design to be proposed on Fahri Korutürk Street. In this sense, the bus stops located just east of the square and which will be replaced by Bakırköy İDO-Kirazlı metro line exits, have been moved to the parcel vacant from the District Governor's Office and the Police Department in the north. It is aimed to ensure the green and hard ground balance in the newly proposed bus stops area and to create a comfortable pedestrian circulation axis from the bus stops. The underground levels of the square (the part outside the metro borders) are designed as a parking lot. By preserving the minibus lines, the sidewalk adjacent to the cemetery was left to the pedestrian flow, and an adjacent sidewalk was proposed for the minibus passengers considering the boarding direction. The parts of Incirli and Istanbul Street associated with the project area were transformed into a "slowed street" with the change of flooring, and the continuity and comfort of the pedestrian flow starting from the north was tried to be preserved. Along with the “underground bazaar” proposed on Fahri Korutürk Street, the width and location of the service road in the area were considered. In this context, the street was continued to be used as a service road between 22:00 in the evening and 08:00 in the morning and left completely to pedestrians during the day. 2 9 7 6 4  


3. Cultural Decisions  

Bakırköy, which has different cultural layers belonging to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican periods, has the feature of hosting all these layers together today. District, 2-4. century to the Roman period, 4th-15th centuries. century between the Byzantine period and 15-20. It has witnessed the Ottoman period between the 19th century. The region, which had military training grounds during the Byzantine Empire, was named Hebdemon. 15-17 during the Ottoman Empire. The region, which was a fishing village between the 19th century, was named as Makriköy. With the railroad that arrived in the region in 1870, the urban environment began to revive. Declared as an industrial area in 1950 with the Republic Period and named as Bakırköy, the district gained a cultural richness with the immigrants who came to work in Baruthane, which was built in 1701, and the Balkan migrations after the Republic period. This richness has allowed structures bearing the traces of different cultures, such as mosques, churches, madrasas, baths, soup kitchens, and museums, to coexist in the district. 

Within the scope of the design, it is aimed to highlight the rich cultural layers of Bakırköy and to allow visitors to discover these layers with interactive information boards placed at different focal points. The proposed Hebdemon, Makriköy and Civil Architectural Works routes will be explored with the "e-map" created. Various focus areas have been determined in order to bring this historical layering to light and strengthen the citizens' sense of belonging to Bakırköy's historical past. In this context, “Via Egnatia Stop” was created on the street to represent Via Egnatia, which is one of the important transportation axes of Rome and passes through Istanbul Street, and the stone with the inscription “Via Egnatia” was placed here. In buildings belonging to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, but some of which have not survived, it is aimed for the visitors to see the structures on this route by using the virtual application screen.

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