For 1475 years, the colossal dome and four minarets of the Hagia Sofia have remained the focus of Istanbul’s historic silhouette. That is, until three hulking towers known as the OnaltiDokuz Residences interrupted the scene last summer, sparking another battle over development in the Turkish capital. In late May, the Hurriyet Daily News reported that the city’s 4th Administrative Court ordered the demolition of the skyscrapers, claiming that their construction was illegal because it "negatively affected the world heritage site that the Turkish government was obliged to protect." To guard against future infractions, this Wednesday the Turkish Parliament passed legislation calling for additional safeguards nationwide to protect historic areas from rapid urbanization. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his distaste for high-rise development within the city in the past, and urged the towers’ owner, Mesut Toprak, to shorten his skyscrapers. The three towers, coming in at 37, 32, and 27 stories, are located in the Zeytinburnu district on the European side of Istanbul, and represent a recent surge in unplanned building and urbanization that is going on throughout the historic city. While the city’s economic upswing is welcomed, the non-contextual form it has taken is not. The public has reacted positively to the demolition ruling, but many worry that there is little hope in curbing the buildup at this point. “I side with a form of architecture that accords with our culture,” said Erdogan in an address to local lawmakers last month. “In Istanbul and Ankara, there are structures that have gone against the characters of both cities. I don’t approve of vertical structures; rather I favor horizontal ones. Four stories should be above the ground, while the other four should be built underground.” This comes in stark contrast to other cities like London and Washington, D.C. that are grappling with potentially raising height limits to allow for greater density and new development. Meanwhile, the towers’ owners plan to seek an appeal, claiming that they complied with zoning regulations and that their project is in no way illegal.
Posts tagged with "Conservation":
Charles and Ray Eames designed their Pacific Palisades home in 1949 as part of the Case Study Program, which was begun by John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture Magazine. The program invited some of the best architects of the day to share their ideas for using new materials and methods to construct well-designed, mass-producible housing. The two-part, rectangular house was constructed of prefabricated materials and off-the-shelf products. Now, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has made the mid-20th century modern architecture landmark a subject of its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative. The Eames House Conservation Project, as it is called, is revealing challenges related to utilizing contemporary materials in a landmark structure, even one of modern vintage. GCI scientists are developing a long-term conservation plan in collaboration with the Eames Foundation and project architects Escher GuneWardena. However, inspections of the house have already produced results. GCI conservator Emily MacDonald-Korth's paint excavation revealed hand-mixed grays, likely created by Ray Eames. Conservator Arlen Heginbotham identified the wood on a living room wall as a species of eucalyptus similar to the large eucalyptus trees on the property. The foundation is also looking at the environment of the site. The house is situated in a meadow overlooking the ocean.
Indian officials have proposed that high-rises be built on the site of Edwin Lutyens-designed bungalows dating from the 1920s and 1930s, threatening Delhi's colonial era architecture, according to the Guardian. Lutyens’ Delhi, a 3,000-acre zone containing the Mughal Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan, has endured monsoons, riots, and acid rain, but now many of the area’s government buildings, parks, and homes have met a new menace: a scheme to loosen planning limitations to permit construction of high-rise structures. The early twentieth-century bungalows were built for civil servants who governed millions of Indians under the British Raj. The British relocated India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the historic metropolis of the Mughal emperors, and worked with Indian architects under Edwin Landseer Lutyens to design 1,000 neo-classical bungalows surrounded by large gardens. A protected zone, expanded in 1988 and 2003, comprises some of the country’s most precious land. Conservationists assert that the zone is at risk and since it occupies less than two-percent of Delhi, the high-rises should go elsewhere. Adversaries suggest that preserving Lutyen’s Delhi would be erroneous when millions sleep in the city’s crowded slums. Writer and historian Sohail Hashmi point outs that imperialists planned the bungalows to emphasize authority. Hashmi’s solution is to preserve one street within Lutyens’ Delhi to demonstrate what it looked like and to build new homes on the remaining land. Hashmi also recognizes that the bungalows have become symbols of power. In fact, particular properties in Lutyens’ Delhi are worth astonishing amounts of money. One such edifice, the president's official residence that was built to accommodate 100 mid-ranking military officers, has a projected value of £600 million. Conservationists hope UNESCO will give the area world heritage site status, consequently making major alterations nearly impossible.
President Obama is expected to nominate Sally Jewell, the President and Chief Executive Officer of national outdoor retailer REI, to succeed Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of the Interior Department. Jewell, a former engineer for Mobil Oil and commercial banker, has run the $1.8 billion company for over a decade and has established herself as a strong advocate for land conservation. The Washington Post reported reported that she is one of the founding board members of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and serves on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association. The Department of the Interior manages and protects the country’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, along with relations with tribal nations. As extreme weather patterns put climate change front and center of the policy debates in Washington DC, the Secretary of the Interior will take on an increasingly critical role this term.
While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were busy fighting for supremacy at Pebble Beach last weekend, another important battle was taking place just down the street (unbeknownst to almost everyone). Richard Neutra's 4,124 square foot Connell House (1958) in Pebble Beach is being slated for demolition in favor of a 12,000 square foot behemoth mega-mansion. The new home was proposed in December, and still needs several permissions for approval. Author Barbara Lamprecht, author of Richard Neutra: Complete Works (Taschen), has written a letter to the Monterey County Planning Department urging it to save the "aesthetically compelling, spatially complex house," with its "careful asymmetric composition of volumes and opposing opaque (stucco) and transparent (glass) planes." She encourages others to contact the department as well. Think of it as a pro/am for architecture buffs.