Graduate Architecture and Urban Design in Istanbul

Coordinator, Sulan Kolatan <>

Fielding Istanbul

Our focus here will be on the two significant factors of the 21st century metropolis: (rapid) change and heterogeneity. Through the deployment of patch theory and patch methodology, tools borrowed from urban ecology, we will make increasingly finer differentiations between urban patches of the Golden Horn. Unlike architecture, urban ecology does not separate urban complexity into individual systems thereby loosing the networking logic underlying it but instead breaks down the totality of the entire urban surface into contiguous but discrete patches. These patches gain their discrete boundaries through their internal homogeneity on one hand and their heterogeneity in relation to neighboring patches on the other. While the separation of urban categories is indebted to modernist thinking, the patch methodology is more attuned to an eco-systemic approach and thus more suitable to the framework of the Istanbul summer program.

The topics of investigation via patch methodology will be water quality, aquatic life, water edge/coastline configuration, waterfront programming/land-use, waterfront architecture, waterfront “practices of everyday life”, land-cover and urban form. Each patch will contain information pertaining to more than one of these topics and thereby enable an understanding of the relational qualities between them. As with the macro-scale in the seminar, at the micro-scale we will continue to track systemic change and heterogeneity from the present into the past in order to understand the change in change and the shifting heterogeneity that defines the Golden Horn. Simultaneously, we will project desirable scenarios for the future.

Imaging Istanbul

The seminar intends to close the existing gap between theories and technologies of the 21st century metropolis and architects’ current data retrieval and representation methods. It will do this by examining the kind of knowledge each data collection technology generates for its own time, place and content.

Starting out with the earliest urban maps of Constantinople the seminar will track the development of representational techniques in relation to the tools and theories of their time. Students will have the unique opportunity to visit local archives as well as historic sites to understand first-hand the feedback between analytical theories and tools and the man-made environment. The city of Istanbul consists of urban artifacts dating back to the Neolithic Age and as such constitutes an exceptional case study.

Following the historic review, the seminar will focus on an emerging generation of tools including geo-simulation, GIS, remote-sensing, multi-spectral digital imaging, multi-agent systems and automata- based modeling and discuss the implications of dynamic data collection. The seminar will take maximum advantage of its location by consulting local research projects that employ these technologies and visiting their research sites to observe first-hand the conditions being examined.

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