Retail Building at Vezneciler

We study architectural design as an urban intervention. In Arch 301 students develop a project for a public building at a central and complex urban setting.  The projects are expected to be driven by extensive analyses of the urban context as well as the study of the relevant precedents, the brief, the requirements, and the form exercises. By the end of the year and with the help of the other third year courses, students are expected to develop an understanding of the city and gain experience in forming architectural positions when tackling with urban conditions.

The selected site for this semester was the area of Şehzadebaşı subway station and the adjacent plots to its west until Damat İbrahim Paşa Külliyesi in Vezneciler district. This area has been a socially vibrant part of the city since the Byzantine period. Due to its specific location in between major mosques (ie, Şehzade, Süleymaniye, Beyazıd) and its proximity to commercial centers, the area remained popular in Ottoman İstanbul. Vezneciler, or more specifically Direkler Arası, was a prominent locale for cultural activities (especially performing arts) and socialization in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today the prominence of the area in the city is relatively diminished but it remains lively due to nearby retail activities, educational institutions and student accommodations. The direct subway connection to Yenikapı, Taksim, and Levent can only be expected to enhance the social and economic vitality of the area.

Students were expected to develop a proposal for a public building (or buildings) for this site. The area of the site is approximately to 4000 m2. The total built area of proposals were to be around 8.000 m2 (floor space index = 2). Proposals were expected to incorporate the subway connection and accommodate retail facilities. However, the capacity and the character of the retail program were determined by the students. The subway infrastructure such as tracks, platforms, and technical rooms, were givens and common to all. However students decided how their scheme incorporates them. Students were also given the opportunity to enrich this program with additional functions based on the collective analyses and their personal architectural position.

Students carried out extensive analyses, both collectively and individually. Their proposals were expected to be informed by the typological research on the relevant precedents (retail buildings, stations, and others) and their reading of the area. In order to evaluate the area they studied topics such as the historical transformations it underwent, its particular place in the urban networks, the urban forms and building types in the area, the block structure and open spaces, transportation and other infrastructures, the land use, flows of people, goods and services.