The coastal neighborhood of Yenikapı in Istanbul is highly representative of Turkey's cultural and historical diversity. MVRDV and ABOUTBLANK were careful to embrace this diversity in their design of a new multifunctional transfer point and archeo-park proposed to bring together the fragmented and fascinating city at its waterfront. The 1.3 million-square-meter project seeks to provide a stable, sustainable infrastructure that integrates road, rail and water systems at the central location while providing continuous pedestrian access through plazas that preserve and showcase remains unearthed in archeological digs currently underway at the site.
ABOUTBLANK and MVRDV’s design, in collaboration with Martha Schwartz & Partners Landscape Architects, proposes solutions to many of the demands of this highly unusual site. Not only does the location seek to provide a bridge between the European Western sides of the city and the Asian Eastern sides of the city, but it also contains those valuable relics of Istanbul’s history. Remains, some of which are up to 8,500 years old, have been unearthed at the site, delaying construction of the project as researchers gain valuable insight into the region’s neolithic past. Remains from the area’s former ‘hub,’ the 1600-year-old Theodosius Port — with some 35 antique ship remains — were also uncovered. As the architects approached the extraordinarily unusual site, they came to a design for an expansive park which includes both sunken pits to conceal mass transit lines, as well as pits which are home to the valuable archeological excavations.
According to ABOUTBLANK, the facility aims to create a holistic link not solely between east and west, but also between the developed northern fringe of the site, and its southern coastal park. This integration, it is hoped, will attract new investment and activity to the area which reportedly sees 2.5 million visitors each day, but whose nighttime population drops to 50,000.
But as the architects design supports infrastructure growth, which would bring an increased population to the area through various forms of mass transit, they seek to carefully preserve and develop the area’s peaceful environment and green space. Asphalt paved bus stations currently at the site will gradually be excavated as part of the archeological work, after which the pits themselves are to be preserved as the surrounding landscape is developed with fertile soil and a variety of vegetation. Similarly, where underground rail lines have already been excavated, the above ground areas will be transformed to enjoyable, social nature-bound space.
A range of sustainable eco-friendly energy solutions are planned for the park, to work in chorus as appropriate to needs and capacity. A solar array could, the architects pose, provide light for the park and its excavation pits, while wind turbines along the coast could be used to power efforts to pump collected rainwater throughout the landscaped park.
Via Arch Daily
Images © Zwartlicht/ABOUTBLANK