Public and Polis / Liquid Cartographies (2018)

ARCU4304: Urbanism In The Global Context //
Instructor: Ozayr Saloojee //

This studio investigated the city of Istanbul as a fluid intersection of tradition and modernity, and in particular how the history, nature and use of public space and urban development has transformed, and continues to transform, this constantly evolving megalopolis. A city of over 15 million people, Istanbul is fracture-critical, always on the edge of some change – cultural, social, geopolitical, urban, infrastructural. Recently characterized by a slew of massive urban development projects (and equally grandiose rhetoric), the city is the anticipatory site for a new Bosphorous Canal – named “Kanal Istanbul” (dug out of the European side of the city), the (now-complete) largest airport in the world, designed by Grimshaw and sited north of Istanbul, near the Black Sea, and the recently completed Sultan Selim Bridge (“The third bridge”), that links the European to the Asian side of the city. The studio – structured by the themes of Water, Cities and Equity – was organized into three major projects focusing on each of these themes, each building upon the previous, with the intention that the final (and largest) project – themed around “Equity” would incorporate previous project understandings into its resolution – a speculative urbanism project for a site (decided on by each student) in the city – either on the Asian or European sides of Istanbul. The first project was individual, and the final two were group-based. The first project – Water – required students to research, analyse and critically explore one of the four bodies of water that give Istanbul it’s unique character, climate, context and experience. Sites were assigned and students attempted a liquid archaeological, historical, cultural, climatic and atmospheric character study of the Black Sea, the Marmara, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorous. Inspired by these particular sites and their maritime reality, students prepared a series of naval inspired mappings and a summative model. The second project – Cities – was conducted in groups of two. Students were issued a critical theme with which to investigate and map the city of Istanbul – inspired by the call for proposals for the 2018 Istanbul Biennial. The final project – Equity – began with a Directed Studies Abroad trip to Istanbul, where students had an opportunity to ground-truth their ideas and interpretations from project 1 and 2 (through a sketchbook mapping exercise). This final project required students (in new teams if they wish) to develop a new (Large, Larger, Hyperlarge) urban proposal for the city of Istanbul that directly addresses their water-based understandings from Project 1, their urban based discoveries from project 2, and their major theme – civic equity – as part of their final project. This final project took the form of an urban intervention (Site TBD) in the city, required students to develop conventional architectural and urban design drawings as well as a carefully crafted model of their proposal.

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