Balikli Havuz Landscape Design

Location:Sultangazi, Istanbul
Site:10,480 m²
Client:ISKI / Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration

Istanbul has a unique water distribution network that goes back more than 500 years. As part of Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage, this awe-inspiring water system consists of dams, aqueducts, and waterways. One of the critical nodes of the historic waterways system is Balikli Havuz, which is a catchment facility for gathering water from diverse water resources and supplying the water to the transmission line safely. Albeit not used currently, it is a legally protected historic remnant by the Board of Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (No: 4448 dated 03.03.1993). Balikli Havuz Project site exists in a rapidly urbanizing town of Sultangazi, which receives the highest number of migrants in Istanbul. The project side is beside the Istanbul Ring Road (TEM); hence high-rise buildings mushroom and urbanization pressures escalate more than ever in and around the site. This project aims to restore the water structure to enable it to perform the functions of collecting and distributing water as it used to. The project also allows this unique cultural heritage to be experienced by the people of Istanbul through sensitive, multi-layered landscape design. After a long and narrow entrance axis is a multi-staged landscape setting framed by dense vegetation. Here the project puts the historical pool, fountain, and depo structures at the center of the design, while at the same time converting the topography into the program as the interpretation steps and seating plateau. Topographical arrangements take place to reclaim the hydrological function and to restore the landscape character of the area. The design promotes permeability up to ninety percent. The proposed planting design scheme is very efficient in protecting the soil from erosion and contributing to water quality by acting as a filter. Paths and observation terraces and decks allow users to experience the site and the water structure.

The regenerative farming approach, which revitalizes degraded lands due to conventional agricultural techniques, can improve the organic matter, texture, fertility, water retention of the soil. Conventional methods rely on rotating two crops in a year and leaving the fallow the next year. However, with the regenerative farming practice, the rotation of up to 8-9 crops during the year is possible. This multi-crop rotation with the diverse cover of plants facilitates production diversity which in turn brings landscape diversity and activity variety.

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