Knitting the fabric, Istanbul 2015
a design for the fifth hill of Istanbul
The project refers to a neighborhood, a mahalle, in the north of the historical peninsula of Istanbul, facing the golden horn: a sensible and dense historic area, dotted with all kind of monuments and remnants of different periods, defined physically by its topography. It covers the ridge of the 5th hill of Istanbul with the Selim Camii at the top and the Byzantine city walls with the ‘enclave’ of the orthodox Patriarchate lying at the coast.
A dense accumulation of rundown wooden houses on a labyrinthine street pattern, mixed with huge apartment buildings on concrete retaining walls, is dominating the area today. At the shore, a huge highway is separating the urban fabric from the sea. The old city wall, partly demolished but visible in its remnants, enclosed sometimes in houses and workshops, some leftover byzantine stone residences extramuros and the rear sides of apartment buildings founded on the walls, are forming a new incidental urban waterfront.
We consider the area as an urban-architectural object that is entangled in a network of relations with its surrounding.
We tried to "knit" the incompatible layers of the contemporary city and to enable their coexistence: to restore and regenerate the perforated urban fabric, to smooth and transform the points of friction and intersection, to reveal and to materialize the network of the monuments, to connect this spot essentially with the surrounding city and the water; to create a new urban morpheme finally, a fluid form of solids and voids that follows the relief, "laid like a blanket on the hill" and offer new forms of living and social exchange.