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Dutch Architecture in Turkey


In March 2007, Prof. M. Hajer gave a lecture at the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul. He is one of the best-known urban planners in the Netherlands, and has written several books about this topic.


In 2007, as part of the night program ‘Nightcomes’ at the 10th Biennale in Istanbul, Bik van der Pol (Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol) have conducted research on ‘gecekondus’ in Istanbul. These gecekondus were built by immigrants, and are described as Uncontrollable Urbanism. There is also a book on the topic, namely, Istanbul 59 locations: a Format for Nightcomers.

In March 2007, Bik van der Pol also seems to have given a lecture at Galeri Pist, but there is no further information available about this event.


At the 10th Biennale in Istanbul there were, apart from Bik van der Pol, also other contributions by Dutch architects. These were AMO/Rem Koolhaas, Justin Bennett, Ivan Grubanov, Kan Xuan, Aleksander Komarov, Cristina Lucas, Sophia Tabatadze, and Yushi Uehara / Berlage Institute.


For the ‘Transdiscipline Lecture Series’, Gijs van Oenen gave a reading in 2009. The reading was organized by Garanti Gallery and Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center Istanbul and held at the Istanbul Technical University. For this lecture series Gijs van Oenen discussed ‘Architecture, Security and Interpassivity’.


In 2008 there was collaboration between the Istanbul Technical University and Jana Crepon and Miguel Loos who accompanied a group of students from The Academie van Bouwkunst on their study trip to the waterfront site of Galata in Istanbul. Jana Crepon works together with Petra Blaise in Inside Outside. Jana Crepon: janacrepon@yahoo.de, www.insideoutside.nl


Adri Duivesteijn, founder of Nai worked in a workshop carried out by Istanbul Technical University in 1990 together with Lodewijk Baljon - landscape architect - one of the 10 winners of Parc De la Villete competition. The workshop was based on Democracy Park (once upon a time a green area now Congress Valley) starting from Taksim Square.


Regarding the above mentioned 2 workshops you can get in touch with Yüksel Demir who ran these workshops and who is currently teaching at ITU Faculty of Architecture and also is the head of Fine Arts Department (ITU).


At Arkimeet in Turkey there were several Dutch architects that were invited as keynote speakers:

The most recent visit of Rem Koolhaas was in 2008 for the Arkiparc Meeting. ArkiPARC is a series of meetings where Architecture, Property and Construction industries are coming all together. For Arkimeet 2006 MVRDV and Kees Christiaanse were invited. For Arkimeet 2005 Rem Koolhaas was invited. Rem Koolhaas came to Istanbul first in 2005. For Arkimeet 2004 Ben van Berkel, Adriaan Geuze, Willem Jan Neutelings and Francine Houben were speakers.


Inspired by a long-standing partnership between the port cities of Istanbul and Rotterdam and the occasion of Istanbul European Capital of Culture 2010, the IABR launched a series of activities to bring the spirit of the 4th Biennale to Istanbul. DEPO Istanbul and the Istanbul-based curators Philipp Misselwitz and Can Altay had conceived an intensive program for 2009 and 2010 with the following aims: Stimulating close cooperation between the partner cities of Istanbul and Rotterdam in the field of architecture, planning and urban design through exchange visits among key urban stakeholders;

Bringing a high-profile international architecture and urbanism exhibition to Istanbul;

Triggering discussions on innovative tools and practices to face the challenges of Istanbul’s urban transformation projects. The following activities were organized:

Between November 18 – 20, 2009 a 4-day Field Trip was hosted by IABR Rotterdam and the municipalities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. From the Netherlands Delft University, Erasmus University, Berlage Instituut, dS+V Rotterdam, DRO Amsterdam and others. A group of Istanbul experts - representatives of Istanbul’s municipalities, IMP, housing associations, civil society actors, planners and architects and academics of Istanbul’s Bilgi University and Mimar Sinan University - visited Rotterdam and Amsterdam and learnt about these cities’ socially inclusive strategies for urban transformation.

In 2010 a series of follow up activities have been organized by DEPO. The event series began with the exhibition “Open City – Designing Coexistence” at DEPO Istanbul. The exhibition, which was curated by Philipp Misselwitz and Can Altay, opened on March 12 (until May 9, 2010). The exhibition consisted of 3 separate exhibitions (Open City Forum, Refuge, and Bas Princen – 5 Cities Portfolio):

Open City Forum, curated in collaboration with Tim Rieniets, brought together elements from Rotterdam’s recent 4th IABR and at the same time functioned as a platform for a series of lectures, presentations and discussions.

Refuge approached spaces of refuge from opposing angles: as threats to urbanity that need to be prevented or dismantled, and as intimate, but still underdeveloped forms of the Open City.

Bas Princen – 5 Cities Portfolio presented a series of works in which the Dutch artist Bas Princen observes contemporary urban transformation in Turkey and in the Middle East: how Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Dubai have become laboratories for a proliferation of spaces and practices of refuge.

DEPO has designed an intensive outreach program (curated by Yaşar Adanalı), which enabled to engage cultural producers and citizens of Istanbul in lectures, presentations, exhibition tours and discussions on the theme of socially inclusive urban transformation and urban coexistence. Between March – May 2010, twice a week throughout the exhibition, NGOs, Universities, community groups and international researchers were provided with guided tours.

The 2010 event series culminated in an International Workshop hosted by DEPO Istanbul, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Bilgi University, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and three local Istanbul municipalities – Maltepe, Sariyer and Arnavutköy in May 6-8, 2010. A delegation of Dutch and international architects, planners, development specialists and cultural producers including representatives of the Rotterdam and Amsterdam Municipalities, and staff members of IHS/Erasmus University Rotterdam were invited to Istanbul. Together with local experts they formed three tasks forces that were hosted by the local Istanbul municipalities of Maltepe, Sariyer and Arnavutköy. Over a period of two days, key transformation challenges faced by these municipalities were discussed. The mixed local and international group then developed scenarios, concepts and tools, which were presented to the general public on the final conference day, hosted by Bilgi University.

An Open City Istanbul Conference (May 8, 2010) was curated by Philipp Misselwitz, Yaşar Adanalı and Zeynep Moralı and organized by DEPO Istanbul in cooperation with Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Bilgi University and Mimar Sinan University, in partnership with the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), and with support from the Rotterdam Municipality, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Stuttgart University as well as Maltepe Municipality, Sariyer Municipality, Arnavutköy Municipality, Sarıyer Neighborhood Associations Platform, and Başıbüyük Neighborhood Association. Renowned international architects, planners and development specialists as well as local experts and community representatives presented ideas and visions for sustainable and inclusive urban change in Istanbul. The conference presented international research and case studies as well as concrete transformation scenarios, concepts and tools developed in a three-day workshop jointly organized with the Istanbul municipalities of Maltepe, Sariyer and Arnavutköy.


From July to August 2010 there was a project called ‘Play the City’ organized by the Dutch agency Dus Architects. It was held at Bilgi University and in several districts of Istanbul. This project was a city design game wherein the background narratives of the game are based on Istanbul and the Netherlands contexts. These narratives were earthquakes, urban transformation, flood, and urban shrinkage.


The architect Kees van Hoek was assigned to design a shopping mall for Tokat, a city in the Anatolian Black Sea region. This city is one of the most important trading cities in the region. The shopping mall was developed by the ACTEEUM group and was ordered by Meinl European Land. The building began in the second half of 2009 and the shopping center will be ready for use in 2010.

On the website by Kees van Hoek there is also some information about the design of a shopping mall in Istanbul, but there are no further details about this project.


First year research studio

After Displacement: Large-scale Housing Solutions for Diyarbakır.

The city of Diyarbakir is one of the historically richest yet economically poorest cities of the country. Forced migrations since the 1990s have affected a population that varies in estimates from 953,000 to 3 million people. It is especially regarding these citizens that the traditional housing solutions adopted by the national government (TOKI mass-housing program) fail to meet the demands of living, opening a possible field of research into alternatives practices.              The studio will investigate the possible role of municipal housing in meeting the desires and demands of an urban population with rural backgrounds in the context of a scarcity of means. The studio research will weave between the local, urban, and socio-political conditions and an understanding of the modern and contemporary, municipal/collective housing tradition. The analysis will critically assess the current planning instruments (regulatory plan) and housing policies (TOKI mass housing schemes) and will revisit the work of Ernst May in Silesia, the Red Vienna, Dutch collective housing, and self-help housing programs.  Housing proposals will be inserted into an overall urban strategy in which special attention will be devoted to urban typologies and to the infrastructural urban apparatus. Among the considerations will be the possibility of a comprehensive system of public transportation, in a city where the large majority of the population moves on feet, and a new, dense network of social and public facilities. For approximately two weeks, the studio will conduct fieldwork in Diyarbakir with a stop-over visit to Istanbul.


When staying in the Orange County Resort in Kemer one will feel as if being on holiday to Holland, and especially to Amsterdam and Volendam. The outside of the hotel looks like Amsterdam façades, and the entrance is a replica of the Amsterdam Central Station and Dam Square. The hotel is also inspired by the city of Volendam, with some typical Volendam houses. Throughout the hotel there are also reproductions of masterpieces from famous Dutch painters including van Gogh and Vermeer on display. The project is an initiative by Torogluoglu, supported by investments from the Dutch tour operator Kras Stervakanties.


Dutch architect F. Annet Bakels lived in Istanbul for more than a year. First towards the end of 1990’s due to the scholarship she received and she participated in a workshop run by Ferhan Yürekli at ITU (for a month or so). Then recently she received another scholarship for a year and worked in Yedikule in connection with MSGSU. In 2000 / 2001 she collaborated to make a design for a them-park in Antalya. In 2007 she won a competition with a concept for a resort designed for people with disabilities in Selcuk. Unfortunately both projects were not further developed or realized. For 2011 two activities are planned: a workshop in Istanbul with Spatial Design students of the HKU and a pilot of an international Laboratorium: UrbanDesign_LAB is focused on redesign of public space. F. Annet Bakels is currently working in HollandsBLAUW.