GVNM Arquitetos "Disaster Prevention and Education Centre at Istanbul"

The construction of the Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Centre in the Bakırköy district offers the possibility of redefining the territory in this area of the city.
It’s our prespective that we shouldn't extend the logic of the surroundings, with high independent buildings that do not establish relations between each other and do not create urban fabric. Therefore, with the intent of consolidating the existing fabric and to depart from the image of the nearby constructions, it is our aim to create a space and a building truly unique and singular, closer to a natural construction than of an urban structure. Several constructions organize the intervention area, and originate small mountains that define a public space. An urban park is created, making the transition between scales and paths of the surrounding areas. The landscape is organized so that it generates a continuous and flowing public space, conceived as a “forest” of events.
The project presents two types of green areas: small vegetation, like flowers and bushes, in the surface of the lower mountains (tulips, Istanbul crocus, blackberry, helichrysum, yellow dogwood and others) and large vegetation in the leveled surface of the park (judas-trees and pines). Autochthon species redefine the urban landscape and introduce flora characteristic of the city. Two parking areas are created, one exterior, in a “valley”, and another covered, a “mountain”.
A bar in the parking area functions as a complement to the main building, allowing the creation of everyday visits to the park by the visitors of the surrounding areas.
The main construction is home to the Disaster Prevention and Education Centre. Its volumetry dominates the surroundings, and its mountain profile stands out of all the nearby buildings, defining a context and an urban silhouette truly unique in the city.
We propose that the Disaster Prevention and Education Centre is defined as a kind of underground shelter, like the refuge cities in the Cappadocia region which were excavated in the subsoil and in the mountain ranges. Paradoxically, the proposed construction is conceived as a metaphorical artificial volcano, where the introduction of a crater originates spaces that are “excavated” from its volume.
The exterior mass protects the activities that take place inside, and its geometry and exterior topographic texture contrasts with the clarity and artificiality of the spaces that are organized inside. The access to its interior is through three “tunnels” that transport the park visitors towards a large hall. The path becomes scenographic, the narrow entries direct to a big lobby, where the spatiality is dramatized by a large opening to the exterior in the roof. At the same time, balconies at the upper floors allow viewpoints of the city and the Marmara Sea.
The program is organized around a large central lobby that’s developed in three levels. The lobby, as circulation, gathering, and living space, allows a “edutainment” approximation of the program.
Materially, the proposal is conceived in the exterior as a sort of “volcanic solid rock”, closer to the conception of natural territory than to a conventional edification. In the interior, the rammed concrete (in the walls and ceilings) will create the effect of a mountain that was excavated. At the same time, some of the rooms and balconies will have ceramic tiles with geometric composition inspired from the ceramics found in some of Istanbul buildings. This coating, geometrical and artificial, will contrast with the more organic composition of the other materials used.

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