Taksim Square Urban Design
|Client:||Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality|
Taksim is the heart of Istanbul and Istanbul is the city where cultures meet literally and historically. Every day of the year, day and night, people pour to Taksim. Metaphorically, Taksim shapes people; in turn, people shape Taksim, thus the notion of human topography. Taksim and Gezi Park is the place where territory and city meet, is the place where nature and artifice connect. Gezi Park and Taksim square coexist in the middle of a very dense urban matrix. Even though their physical properties are distinct, this duality constructs an interdependence of functions and complexity of discourses and actions. The project recognizes the richness of relationships between nature and artifice and the plurality of uses in such a vast urban space. Gezi Park is essential than ever in the midst of climate change, and the public space is more critical than ever for social cohesion and equity. Thus this project focuses on mitigating the effects of climate change and providing a breath of new public functions. The project starts with seeking elements to create a sense of space. The human topography of Taksim continually changes during the years, adapting to the socio-political climate of the country and the world. This social and physical transformation of urban space brings new typologies to the public realm and manifests itself in architecture and lifestyle. In the first place, before the Military Barracks emerge, Taksim was a periurban, mostly cemetery site called “Gardens of cities.” Later, the area, “Taksim Garden,” become the first public park in Istanbul. During the Military Barracks time, the courtyard and the surroundings of the building have significant use for outdoor military exercises, social gatherings, and sports. In a sense, landscape and artifice are inseparable and from the beginning: they do not exist as discrete units in the urban landscape but become a stage for one and other. We pursue a similar notion to our project because we believe a collision will start if they become individual entities of capitalist world views.