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THEODOSIUS PORT ARCHEOLOGICAL AREA

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

Project team: 
Kemal Bal, Nil Bıçak Erol Kalmaz, Gamze Alpan, Doruk Kemal Kaplan, Dilan Ozdemir

Mound

An “additional” space open to access at any time, “on the edge” of the everyday, hasty circulation. A void that beckons, takes in, and pulls it underground. This void is a “designed” “mound” that imitates the underground stratification on earth that hides and protects the finds and reveals them in its day. This rectangular prism, which enters the field of view before arriving at the square, is the floor door of the visitor centre. The visitor enters and stops by following the 8,000-year-old footprint of the Neolithic man in this space between two walls, which contains only an escalator. As the ladder carries him down, he is in a “dream” among the carved stones, chisels, slings, bowls, combs, amphorae, measuring instruments, needles, metal coins, ship parts, brooches and many more that come to light from underground on the walls. Twenty meters high and two meters wide, this “dream space” opens into the foyer of the visitor center, which is oriel facing the excavation pit at the lower level. The visitor center is where the "dream" is traced. We look, hear, read, touch, research. And all this experience is next to an archaeological pit dug with brushstrokes. The effort spent on revealing history shines a light on the finds. History touches. The route stops by the excavation area and opens to the subway turnstile level. The “mound” is there with all its invitingness, without interfering with the rhythm of daily circulation. The earthen walls run along the excavation pit wall of the turnstile level, maintaining its silent invitation with the light leaking from the openings.

Nature and Culture

Man, as a species from a species, continues to exist only in and with nature; however, man has transformed nature in a way never seen before. We can call this transforming power “culture” as all aspects of shaping nature.  Nature and Culture.  What is the relationship between these two realities? It is certain that Culture is determined by nature; however, when it comes to the human species, it is the situation we are faced with that after "one level", "culture" determines "nature". The nature transformed by the human species is now a second nature, which we call the "city". As the most complex consequence of the "culture" action,  city.

 

Today, the relationship between "nature and culture" has become more problematic than at any other time in the past. Now our culture, that is, our cities, has compelled “nature” to create threats that will return to itself. How can life be sustained? What is the dream of the "2nd nature" that we have created, that is, our "culture", for the planet?

 

Agriculture and History

What can this piece of land that is the subject of the competition say about the “big issues” mentioned? 

Project area two “ differences”  offers the opportunity to:

1. Recognizing the continuity of human "culture": accumulation and transformation of culture: History

2. Realizing the primary relationship that humans have with nature: the fact of feeding from nature: Agriculture

 

these two  The subject of “notice ” is in the project area.  "two layers" also corresponds to:

1. Archaeological remains and finds revealing the adventure of man from the Neolithic Age to the present 

2. Langa plain, which until recently functioned as a “garden”  

 

So why is it important to “know”? Urban people should internalize the fact that their life today is the result of cultural continuity and that only nature allows this culture. Distinction is a necessary condition for valuing.

 

The project has centered the above-mentioned two potentials: the knowledge of history, the architectural setup in the stations area; tried to spatialize the knowledge of nature with the story on the plain of Langa orchards. 13 different regions have been determined around these two main potentials.

 

13 Regions

The project focused on 13 regions/periphery/points with different characters together with the defined interaction areas:

  1. Stations area:  It includes the exits of Marmaray and metro systems.

  2. Perimeter of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Pasha Street:  It is the dominant entry direction of the station area.

  3. Amphitheater and office entrance area:  İstanbul A.Ş. It is the area adjacent to the excavation pit with a private entrance to their offices. The project has taken this region to the core of the design setup.

  4. Area of the wall ruins:  It is the area where the stations area is accessed from the Aksaray direction, where the Aksaray metro passes at the lower level and where some wall ruins are located.

  5. TCDD Station Housing Area:  It includes the historical station housing structure and the prefabricated construction around it, the İnebey Park and the teahouse with the use of the busy open space between these two areas.

  6. Langa Bostanları Street perimeter:  It is the northern wall of the excavation pit. Intense pedestrian flow from the Aksaray direction reaches the area from this wall.

  7. Small Langa Street perimeter and terminal area:  It currently houses the International Safety Terminal. It has great potential as it is between the station area and the Cerrahpaşa residential area and is defined as a “culture park” in the zoning plan.

  8. The area between Kuleboyu Street and the old suburban line:  It includes complex property situations with auto industry, parking garage and commercial functions and housing towards the Laboratory area. It has been determined as a "cultural park" area in the upper scale development plan. The two interaction areas in the specification and the excavation area called 100 Islands are also in this region.

  9. Suburban line:  It is the train route between Yedikule-Sirkeci stations, which was not used with the commissioning of the Marmaray line. It has the potential to be an uninterrupted axis between the Yedikule, Kocamustafapaşa, Yenikapı, Kumkapı, Cankurtaran and Sirkeci lines.

  10. The area between İnebey neighborhood and İski facilities:  It is the area between the neighborhood around the Surp Tateos Armenian Church and the İski facilities to its west, which is currently mostly used as an open car park due to the demolition of the buildings on it.

  11. Yenikapi Park area:  It is the Laleli region between the suburban line and Kenedi street, where sports facilities belonging to Fatih Municipality are also located.

  12. Buffer zone with access to Yenikapı coast and sea transportation:  It is the wide upper level plane provided by the undergrounding of Kenedi street. It is considered as a completely open parking lot.

  13. Iski treatment plant upper zone: It is the area between the suburban line and İski facilities, which includes the cement production area and a small-scale cargo terminal, which is owned by a private company and is currently used by a private company. There is a central transformer facility and a fuel station on the eastern border.

 

The project aimed to address the regions listed above with a holistic approach. The project assumed that the solution of complex property relations is the subject of a platform where all stakeholders have the opportunity to discuss jointly, and that some parcels are expropriated due to the project setup. In this assumption, most of the industrial and commercial buildings, excluding the ones currently used as residences, were removed, especially in the region that was intended to be designated as a "cultural park" area, taking into account the property map with the IMM 5000 Conservation Plan.  

 

13 Regional Problems, Potentials and Approach

 

  1. Stations area: TRANSFER SQUARE

The technical extensions of the Marmaray line on the earth's track and the singular exit covers and the uncovered exits on the metro axis compared to the south axis, which has a complex appearance, were evaluated positively. The ratio of hard ground at the ground level has been reduced in favor of the green area by considering the pedestrian flow axes. Various landscape niches were created around the station exits with green-water-urban furniture. Open car park areas have been removed considering that they will interrupt the continuity of view and circulation in the design setup,  moved to the area. The elevator on the A''19 axis was shifted to the D'19 axis because it cuts the pedestrian axis up to 100 Islands by traversing the archaeological area at the ground level.

2. Gazi Mustafa Kemal Paşa Street Perimeter: ODAK AĞAÇ SQUARE

In this periphery, where the most pedestrian and vehicle access is provided to the Yenikapı area, the steel U-turn built to turn towards Taksim closes the perspective of the area in one direction. However, regardless of the existence of the historical TCDD lodging structure, its positioning is also problematic. The project proposed a large public transportation stop at this periphery of the area, and in this context, the position of the U-turn was postponed to the end of the suburban line. The pedestrian crossing between the upper road and the suburban line has been brought closer to the station pocket. Pedestrian priority is ensured, and the station area has an open perspective towards Laleli.

3. Amphitheater and office entrance area: MOUND, GARDEN AND VISITOR CENTER

Due to its two potentials, the project has chosen this area as the core of the construction envisaged by the specification.

1. At the ground level, the production of the space in the section, given by the level difference that has already been solved with the amphitheater,

2. Potentials at B1 level that allow opening towards the excavation pit as they are outside the mandatory metro operation.

Around the Visitor Center:

An “additional” space open to access at any time, “on the edge” of the everyday, hasty circulation. A void that beckons, takes in, and pulls it underground. This void is a “designed” “mound” that imitates the underground stratification on earth that hides and protects the finds and reveals them in its day. This rectangular prism, which enters the field of view before arriving at the square, is the floor door of the visitor centre. The visitor enters and stops by following the 8,000-year-old footprint of the Neolithic man in this space between two walls, which contains only an escalator. As the ladder carries him down, he is in a “dream” among the carved stones, chisels, slings, bowls, combs, amphorae, measuring instruments, needles, metal coins, ship parts, brooches and many more that come to light from underground on the walls. Twenty meters high and two meters wide, this “dream space” opens into the foyer of the visitor center, which is oriel facing the excavation pit at the lower level. The visitor center is where the "dream" is traced. We look, hear, read, touch, research. And all this experience is next to an archaeological pit dug with brushstrokes. The effort spent on revealing history shines a light on the finds. History touches. The route stops by the excavation area and opens to the subway turnstile level. The “mound” is there with all its invitingness, without interfering with the rhythm of daily circulation. The earthen walls run along the excavation pit wall of the turnstile level, maintaining its silent invitation with the light leaking from the openings.

 

The above setup necessitated relocating the vertical circulation elements that provide access to the offices independent from the ground level. Due to the function of the mound and the visitor center, almost half of the floor area of the offices at B1 level has been used. In order to enrich the office layout at B1 level, an inner courtyard was created by leaving a gap in the floor on one side of the "mound". In the long term, it is recommended to move the office function (daylight and fresh air) as it is not suitable for spatial office standards, and to use the existing volumes for the support and storage functions of the archaeological excavations in the excavation pit.  

 

4. Wall ruins area: PORT WALLS

  The open car park functions were removed and the surrounding of the existing fortification remains was designated as a landscape area. The ruins of the city walls along Kuleboyu Street were uncovered by removing the commercial and industrial buildings, and the traces of the Theodosian walls were made visible between the garden and the archaeological excavation area. The remnant with a single vaulted interior potential located just south of 100 Islands, was evaluated as a spatial extension of the suburban line proposed to be converted into a pedestrian axis.  

 

5. TCDD Station Housing Area: STORE SQUARE AND ÇINRALTI

  The prefabricated construction around the historical station lodging structure was removed, and an open area towards the historical building stations area was provided. Pedestrian circulation has been ensured from both walls of the building, whose surroundings have been cleaned, and a richness of behavior has been opened with the planes that have been amplified in places. This area, which is already quite congested, has been relieved by the displacement of the U carriageway, which goes beyond the gauge of the historical building and covers the view of the building and its surroundings. It has been considered as a focus of value for its surroundings, with functions such as the historical station structure, the neighborhood museum, and the book cafe. Access ramp and stairs to Inebey park have been arranged, and the landscape area where the tea quarry operating in this periphery of Aksaray district has been preserved.

 

6. Langa Bostanları Street Perimeter: CITY TERRACES

The spaces between the road and the excavation pit, which widen from place to place, are designed with amphitheater planes and console terraces falling towards the excavation pit. The existing bridge crossing the excavation pit has been reconsidered, its direction, function and quality have been changed due to the fact that it is a vehicle bridge, its structure is such that it prevents the view to the excavation area, and the point where it originates in the station area is inaccurate.

 

7. Small Langa Street perimeter and terminal area: LANGA BOSTANS

The second focus of the project, as described in the introduction, is the gradual clearing of the area, which is currently functioning as an international cargo terminal, from functions that bring heavy vehicle traffic to the district. This area, which is a part of the area designated as a "cultural park" in the IMM 5000 Scale Conservation Plan, is seen to function as a garden even in the 1982 aerial photographs. The project aimed to use this value of the area until recently to raise awareness about environmental issues such as "agriculture, food safety, consumption habits", which the urban individual has become alienated from. An agriculture campus with an agricultural school, seed bank, tasting restaurant, open market, event space and greenhouses, where all processes of small-scale agriculture can be implemented, has been imagined. The project assumed that the area will be excavated as an archaeological site in the 2nd phase, and while the excavations of the old underground area, which was determined as the 1st phase excavation area, were continuing, it was thought that these two functions would be a valuable testimony for the modern urban people. The housing parcels of the area along the street perimeter were preserved, the agricultural school and market cover were positioned on the peripheries, the market area was supported by a small-scale square in the direction of the street, and the daily functioning of the square was supported by positioning a kiosk at both ends of the market cover.

 

8. The area between Kuleboyu Street and the old suburban line: ARKEOPARK

This area, which includes the two laboratory areas specified as the interaction area in the competition specifications, and the 100 Islands with the unearthed remains, was proposed as the 1st phase excavation area within the scope of the project. Non-residential construction and open parking lots in the region have been removed. Two archaeological laboratory structures, one around the "cut and cover" zone, were solved with a holistic scheme at the border of the suburban line. Thus, the excavation area of the 1st and 2nd phases (the garden area) has been transformed into an uninterrupted excavation plane where there is no construction. In the context of the suggestions in the annex of the specification, a freight elevator has been added to the basement floors in the cut-and-cover area to enable them to be used as archives. An amphitheater has been positioned on the ground plane of this area, which does not need excavation, to support the visit route to be designed in case the excavations are concluded and there are remains to be preserved in place. The amphitheater is imagined as a forum/activity area that can provide a view of the garden and the phase 1 excavation site from above. By moving the perimeter of the conservation buildings, it was possible to establish a holistic laboratory system supported by places such as offices, dining halls, meeting areas and accommodation units. Conservation structures were taken to the periphery of the suburban line, which is proposed to be transformed as a recreation axis, and made accessible and traceable in daily circulation. In this region, the area opened due to the Marmaray excavation and containing the technical structures belonging to this line has been preserved, other service structures in its immediate vicinity have been moved to this region and space has been opened for new laboratory structures.

 

9. Suburban line: SURFACE TRACK

The Yedikule-Sirkeci suburban line, which has fallen out of use with the Marmaray project, has the potential to be an alternative to pedestrian circulation, which is forced by fast coastal traffic and Yenikapı beach functions. This line, which includes Yedikule walls and its surroundings, Kocamustafapaşa (Samatya), Yenikapı transfer area, excavation area, Kumkapı, where Küçükayasofya passes, and Cankurtaran districts with many historical texture elements at the end, has been transformed into a pedestrian and bicycle track. This track, which lasts mostly at street level, descends to the square level in Yenikapı area with stairs, ramps and lecture halls, and feeds the transfer area. It passes through the conservation laboratories, reaches the stations, stops by the green areas on both sides of the İnebey neighborhood and continues towards the historical peninsula, passing through the sports park around the Yenikapı park. The eaves and station structures at the existing stations are the spatial support of this recreation track. It houses functions such as cafe, neighborhood archive, library, event hall.

 

10. The area between İnebey neighborhood and İski facilities: MAHALLE PARK

The neighborhood around the Surp Tateos Armenian Church is an old residential area with a seafront before the construction of the coastal road. This neighborhood, where the registered buildings are dense, faces the İnebey park in the east. On the other hand, due to the demolition of the structures on the parcels with different properties, it is used as an open parking lot. The project has designed this area as a green area containing playgrounds and sports fields, where the İnebey neighborhood is opened, by taking the pedestrian axis of Namık Kemal Street into the park and bringing it to the beach, and opening the suburban track to the park over an event amphitheater.

 

11. Yenikapi Park area: SPORTS PARK

The area of the existing Yenikapı park, where the sports facilities belonging to Fatih Municipality are located, has been expanded and transformed into an open sports fields park, where the suburban track is transformed into spectator amphitheaters.  

 

12. The intermediate zone where access to sea transportation is provided with the Yenikapı coast: TRANSITION AXIS

The wide plain provided by the undergrounding of Kenedi Street, the Yenikapı filling area and the open parking areas that force sea access, were arranged by taking the pedestrian axis to the center within the scope of the project, and pedestrian access from the Aksaray region to the beach and sea transportation structures was maintained uninterruptedly.

 

13. Iski treatment plant upper area: PARK-ET GO-ET PARKING

It has been proposed to remove the existing cement plant and cargo terminal and to solve the open parking lots in the station area in this area. Pedestrian crossings from the parking area to the suburban track and metro-Marmaray lines are described. Another parking area was provided by the arrangement of the parking lots in the “transition axis” area.

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