I would like to start by mentioning the concepts and approaches I have inspired from while producing the architectural representation above.
At one hand, there can be talked about the concept of tabula rasa where the city was seen as tabula rasa as a zero ground, clear surface to brand new start. Here, what important is the movement rather than settlement so that it is about redefining, planning and designing the human movement in city rather than sticking the existing. On the other hand, in architecture, there are the approach of the ‘As Found’ by Alison and Peter Smithson from Independent Group. They argue “…Setting ourselves the task of rethinking architecture in the early 1950s, we meant by the “as found” not only adjacent buildings but all those marks that constitute remembrancers in a place and that are to be read through finding out how the existing built fabric of the place had come to be as it was.” (Smithsons, 1990) “Hence, they noted that the respect for the existing ‘structuring’ of a site must be equal to our respect for the mature trees. They touched the terminology of ‘as found’ as to make it specific-to-place.” (Smithsons, 1990) That was related with old, critical regionalism, vernacular architecture, local qualities, values and so on.
“In 1953, Alison and Peter Smithson presented their entry for the Golden Lane bombed neighbourhood at the ninth congress of CIAM.” (Malka, L. 2014) Golden Lane was more like a planning project. It was about planning the whole city, making the architecture through the idea of city planning. Since for this term’s project for Architecture Design Studio is on architecture and urban design, and my project proposes a house-based mix-used program, I thought that I can build up some correlations between the concepts this essay included and my term project. In 1960s, housing was important. While Peter and Alison Smithson were considering ‘how we can house?’, according to them, as architects there should be found a way to create a homogeneity in the way doing housing. The social housing units should not be like scattered in city. Therefore, the approach of ‘as found’ was standing up for a structure within city that creates hierarchy among people. Moreover, while creating hierarchy among people we should not separate people from each other, but we must find a way to make them live together. Considering the Dikmen Valley where the given site for term project is located, there is scattered condition of houses in the surrounding district of the city. There is the segregation of people over distinctions such as slums-residences, rich-poor. 1960s discussion about segregation and the culture of ‘as found’ asserts slums should not be divided from the more developed part of the city, there should not be separation, in fact everything should flow. Moreover, “Smithsons’ entry criticizes London’s socioeconomic division into separated neighbourhoods.” (Malka, L. 2014). They argue culture should be a whole rather than to create such different status within the city. The certain groups of social people should be all together, there should not be segregation. Additionally, “Smithsons drew their new design without removing the ‘identity’ traces of the bombed area, with a transparent façade that allows the viewer to see the existing city, with correlation to their ‘as found’ concept.” (Malka, L. 2014). As a reminder, ‘As found’ was related with critical regionalism, vernacular architecture, local qualities and values. At this point, when I return to my own project, my proposal is continuation of low-level urban texture, which is set against standardized higher-level blocks which has lack of identity. Neither the streets go up nor they become new buildings. Instead, specifically to my proposal, buildings have their form dissolving through the ground so that the streets being more interacted with the buildings; ‘street level buildings’. This is again related with the neighbourhood concept which relies on the local values.
Furthermore, “Smithsons believe that combining old and new will create the new form of collectiveness and public realm. In their photomontages they picked up the modernist’s idea of freestanding building, turned it over by turning solitary building into clusters, and ﬁnally put it together with the post war urban fabric.” (Malka, L. 2014). My representation for this paper is created by using 3D modelling program where I had chance to show the surrounding relations, the old texture ‘as found’ and the new, referring to Golden Lane Project. The black and white conceptualized collage of Golden Lane Project gave me an idea on how to emphasize the network within the old. Because, “in their photomontage Smithsons draw their modernist design on the existing urban fabric.” (Malka, L. 2014). Similarly, I examined the already existed regular fabric of surrounding, buildings, pedestrians, passages, roads. I prolongated this pattern towards valley from the residential area by passing over the given site. The main purpose behind was intertwining the circulation with the urban context while valuing the valley. At the end, that network created within the site shaped from existed street and topography lines in urban scale and worked with the slope. So, while keeping the old in total black, what I wanted to emphasize mostly was to network which is in white coloured lines. In my design, conceptually, networks of pedestrians, passages, roads extended to create such a neighbour pattern by sticking to the identity traces of surrounding.
In their entry at the congress of CIAM, “Smithsons deﬁne their own: ‘Street in the Air’, wider, open to its surroundings and successive.” (Malka, L. 2014). They came up with continuous wall like structures where human movements define the space. The house buildings will look like a street, namely; ‘the street the building’. Streets being more interacted with buildings by going up, they are being places and not corridors or balconies. “They offer contiguous network or as they deﬁne: a cluster of streets which creates a new urban structure that connects to the existing.” (Malka, L. 2014). What I wanted to express is the network I created within the site, it is not like a new urban structure that connects to the existing but more like a contextually connected suggestion which wants the neighbour pattern to be continued throughout the site as well. So, using the method of Smithsons’ collage, I tried to conceptualize this street level standing where it is but buildings dissolve and come to the human scale. Therefore, this concept improves street level community access to buildings. These descending edges took shape according to the entrances, wind corridors, orientation, dimensions, proportions of enclosed and open spaces.
In short, I have established a connection between the project and concepts mentioned above and my own project, and within the frame of this connection I have tried to develop a conceptual approach and tried to explain it.
Smithson, Alison and Peter. “The ‘As Found’ and the ‘Found’” in The Independent Group: Postwar Britain and the Aesthetics of Plenty, Eds. David Robbins,Cambridge. Massachusetts: The MIT·Press, 1990. pp:201-203
Malka, Liran. ALISON and PETER SMITHSON – The Shifts of Ideas from the Golden Lane Proposal to the Robin Hood Gardens (1952-1972). April, 2014.