Suyabatmaz Demirel Architects
Arif Suyabatmaz, Hakan Demirel
Team E.Yazkurt, O.Ülgen, G.Ersel, A.Yıldırım, M.Uzman, E.Yılmaz, M.Gören, G.Bayar, A.Arküden
Client Mar Yapı
Location İstanbul/Turkey

Size 61.600 m2

The project site for this residential community is located in the Asian side of Istanbul, within a recent prime urban development area. Due to the risk of earthquakes, the area has undergone an urban transformation but has fully maintained the reconsideration of the region in terms of urban needs. Presently there are 19 blocks, hosting 108 apartments, in the project area.  As the land has been transformed under the umbrella of urban regeneration, it is only feasible for investors that the new project proposal needs to offer recent homeowners 25% more area than their existing apartment space. At the same time they foresee that the number of new apartments must be maintained at least as many as the previous ones, i.e, 4 units will be increased to 5 units at 25% area increase. In all, there will be 10 units which will bring out a density increase of 250%.

In the present scenario, with respect to the principles of construction and building regulations, such as setback distances, the distance between blocks drop to almost 5 meters- leading to some flats facing each other. Common spaces turn into unavailable and unqualified small spaces due to this scattered settlement. When the expected increase in density is done by adding blocks with same height there is almost no distance left between blocks. With a different approach, when the number of blocks is decreased, again the distance between blocks are not efficient enough and dark, inefficient spaces in high blocks are created. In conclusion, when alternative plan organizations are tried, multi-blocks option does not answer the user needs such as the landscape usage, natural light and social facilities.

When all these factors are taken into consideration, the new project proposal is preferred to be in a state of “single building” that is located over the boundaries of the site with a maximum thickness by defining a qualified, useful community courtyard in the middle. Thanks to this approach, apartments looking on both sides without any distance limitation and more efficient living spaces without long corridors and dark spaces are designed. Furthermore; the common spaces designed in and under the courtyard become more useful in size. Because of the fact that this organic formed building needs to offer equal standards for the recent apartment owners, this single building is defined in blocks to constitute standardization. Regarding all these design decisions, the distance between the blocks is 30 meters minimum and 60 meters maximum which is something encountered rarely in a crowded city like İstanbul.

Actually, there is not any unknown factor in the project. When the size of the site and the all the components expected to be in this site is considered, the capacity is eventually exceeding and this is one of the most critical facts during the design process.  What is struggling here is to solve such kind of a clear situation in this kind of a complexity with an unequivocal manner. Therefore; the design is directed through a number of simple but efficient moves. Firstly, no access is provided for the vehicles through the courtyard. One entrance is defined from a single point and all the vehicles are directed to underground which has a positive effect on the environmental front as well, reducing heat island effect.

Moreover the courtyard and the surrounding, described as the inside and outside of the building, are well connected and for this purpose some transitions with almost 3-4 floor height are designed at specific points of the project.  The landscape in front of the blocks is elevated by forming some slots to let people, who get involved to the courtyard, create their own spaces and drift apart from the building. Thus, great voids are defined in front of the basement floor and these spaces formed without harming the effect of the courtyard are given to the apartment owners on this level.

Social facilities are designed on basement floor under the courtyard to meet the demands of all the residents and platforms are proposed in the courtyard for people to reach these social spaces easily.  To conserve the fair distribution between the flats, which has common spaces such as the kitchen and living room looking towards inside and outside, the courtyard is filled with landscape elements and isolated from social activities.

Facades of the building are also differentiated inside and outside. Sliding and foldable wooden shutters are used inside to obtain efficient privacy and light control while almost 30% less dense or translucent facade elements are used outside where privacy is not a critical issue any more. This kind of a facade language refers to the traditional facades of waterside residences which are very common in Istanbul.

The plan organization is also done in same way by considering the user needs. The apartments are designed to facilitate flexible alignment of various types of flats without any change in the static project. Due to that, duplex-simplex or extroverted- introverted plan solutions can be done in the project till the last moment which offers a great functional sustainability.

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