After protests broke out in September of last year where Turkish police used violence against the workers, the situation drew international attention and received criticism from Human Rights Watch. With more eyes on the scene, it was confirmed this January that 55 people had died during construction, though AJ has found that the actual number could be as high as 400 or more. Over the last few months, the architecture firms involved with the airport have continued to promote the project despite rumors of the workers’ conditions. Posts have gone up on social media, design work has been exhibited, and the projects have been entered for further awards. AJ questioned whether this was ethically appropriate given the deaths on-site, posing the question, “What do the workers who endured life in ‘the cemetery’–as the project was nicknamed–think of the involvement of the international architects?” Eyal Weizman, founder of Forensic Architecture, told AJ the profession has a major problem in its constant push for publicity and larger-scale megaprojects. Global contemporary architecture, he said, exists in a disturbing “pharaonic dimension.” “These projects are made mainly for the affluent sections of society and are built by a poorer migrant workforce under grueling conditions and schedules,” said Weizman. “A building like this should be a monument or a memorial. It should be dedicated to the casualties that its architecture and its delivery demanded.”
#Turkey: Unions report 38 people died building the new Istanbul airport.Behind the glass and steel of President Erdogan’s newest mega-project, 30 construction workers and a union leader are sitting in jail for protesting poor working conditions https://t.co/NnUASIrSx1 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/l6TvubHk5z — Human Rights Watch (@hrw) October 29, 2018
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The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) has named Mariana Pestana as the curator for the fifth edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial, which will take place in the Turkish metropolis in fall 2020. Established in 2012 as an international exhibition of creative work from the fields of urban design, architecture, new media, graphic, industrial, product, interior, and fashion design, the Istanbul Design Biennial aims to celebrate and embrace the city’s emergence as a global economic force with considerable creative potential.
Splitting her time between Porto, Portugal, and London, Pestana is the cofounder of an interdisciplinary practice called The Decorators and works primarily on cultural programs and design interventions for public space. She also has extensive experience in academic and curatorial work. Since pursuing her Ph.D. in Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College of London, Pestana has taught at the Royal College of Arts, the Chelsea College of Arts, and Central Saint Martins. Pestana has also served as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Department of Architecture, Design, and Digital, and has co-curated exhibitions for the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and the 2019 Porto Design Biennale.
The fourth edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial, which took place in 2018, centered on the design process through six distinct “schools.” While a thematic focus for the fifth edition has yet to be announced, it is clear that Pestana will bring significant experience in design-based exhibition work to the Bosphorus over the course of the next year.
Fourteen miles west of Istanbul’s Atatürk airport on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, a pearl looks set to rise out of the water. Designed by Chicago firm Forum Studio, the mixed-use development covers 1,660,000 square feet, offering close to 1,500 residential units and a 500 boat marina.
The marina comprises a circular array of artificial islands. “The architectural concept derived both its form and defining character from the natural environment of the Marmara Sea coast,” said Erik Andersen, design principal at Forum Studio. “The islands are conceived as an alternative to a utilitarian seawall; they harmonize with, and extend, the region’s natural landscape.”
A “pearlescent” node that projects colored light beams into the air acts a visual focal point and hub in the center of the arrangement. The marina will also include an innovative botanical garden and a Marmara Sea research center that, according to Andersen, will “enrich the community with opportunities for research and learning.”
Low-rise volumes and a host of landscaping features make up the majority of the marina, facilitating undisturbed views out to sea for those living in the high-rise dwellings on the natural shoreline. “Changes in scale—from the monumental to the intimate—accommodate a variety of uses that will include nightlife and entertainment as well as family-friendly activities and academic marine research facilities,” said Andersen.
Andersen explained that a careful study of the ecology of the shoreline context “informed and inspired many landscape and sustainable design strategies.” The “dense,” pedestrian-friendly community is “organized around a network of landscapes that utilize native plants and natural stormwater systems for collection and reuse.” Andersen elaborated on Forum Studio’s approach: “We studied the project as a series of interconnected systems similar to a living organism. Each system informs and supports the other. The intent was to optimize performance in the way nature does with every living organism and every natural ecosystem.”
Currently, the project is going through initial municipal approvals for the land development. The schedule for groundbreaking is yet to be determined.
Inspired by the notions of varying dimensions and surprise Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, Turkish digital artist and photographer Aydın Büyüktaş has created a fanciful Istanbul in his latest project. Aerial depictions of the city turn the landscape on itself—literally.
Using a drone, his photographs have been digitally manipulated to appear as if the city is doubling back over itself creating a fantastical curved world.
Büyüktaş's images can appear disorientating at first sight with the viewer's eye naturally following what should be linear forms that end up being viewed from alternate perspectives. The scenes resemble those from Christopher Nolan's Inception and Interstellar movies where cityscapes are curvaceous, both in dreams and in space.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRT0GGTWYnM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG22TcpjRnY Creating the curving montages in a flat world was no easy task. Drone's were sent up into the skies, but Büyüktaş had to rely on the weather and wildlife to be on his side.
"So many times I had to turn back without a picture because of bad weather, technical problems, or birds attacking the drone," he said.
Once he had collected all the images, Büyüktaş adopted the much more grounded approach of editing and patching them together in Photoshop.
"We live in places that most of the times don’t draw our attention, places that transform our memories, places that the artist gives another dimension; where the perceptions that generally crosses our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise," Büyüktaş says on his website. "These works aims to leave the viewer alone with a surprising visuality ironic as well,multidimensional romantic point of view."https://www.instagram.com/p/BAQCOYCF8IT/