Status: International competition
Program: Disaster prevention and education center
Program size: 5 000m2
Site: 27 000m2
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Client: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Architects: superunion architects
Team: Johanne Borthne, Vilhelm Christensen, Pål Arnulf Trodahl, Bjørn Andreassen
On a site almost without context because of its vast scale and open development plans, the Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Centre represents a new beginning for the Expo area adjacent to the Atatürk International Airport. Today, the area is a typical example of a generic, market driven development without a common goal. It consists of tall isolated buildings trying to express their individuality rather than performing as a coherent whole. The site is situated in a void between city and airport, where public space is nonexistent, isolated buildings are surrounded by their own private sea of parking.
The new Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Centre (DPEC) reverse current planning standards, making the ground surface completely public by elevating the building and letting the park flow freely below. The horizontal, neutral volume stands out in a context of tall and intricate buildings.
The Istanbul DPEC is contextual through its contextlessness. It is a universal building, a prototype for the new typology of a globally oriented Disaster Centre.
Manifested in a monolith is a world of knowledge, supported by individual elements on the ground, one of them a statue, representing mankind and its importance of supporting the collective science. Like the original Atlas, this statue also carries a “world”. The floating monolith, impermeable to disaster, stands in contrast to the rich interior.
The building provides shade for the garden beneath, where people pass through or spend time before or after the visit. While the building is a smooth singular object on the outside, the ground is intimately programmed and makes a contrast to the scale-less exterior floating above. The garden offers natural qualities of water and greenery, a fountain blows water through the atrium, providing cooling and reflecting the light into the offices and café.
The site introduces a robust, connective park which can absorb and adapt to future neighboring buildings and institutions.