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Istanbul - An Everyday Landscape: Life and Death

Part 1 Project 2012
Ashley Ball
Leeds Beckett University, UK
“The Turkish cemetery stretches along the slope of the hill behind the barrack, and descends far into the valley. Its thickly-planted cypresses form a dense shade, beneath which the tall head-stones gleam out white and ghastly. The grove is intersected by footpaths, and here and there a green glade lets in the sunshine, to glitter upon many a gilded tomb. Plunge into the thick darkness of the more covered spots, and for a moment you will almost think that you stand amid the ruins of some devastated city. You are surrounded by what appears for an instant to be the myriad fragments of some mighty whole; but the gloom has deceived you—you are in the midst of a Necropolis”, description of an ancient burial ground that once existed on the site.

The design addresses two notions, the need for burial space in such a densely populated city, but also the need for green space as a requirement of European Capital of Culture 2010. Can there be a dual solution to the lack of space?

The site is located on the European side of Istanbul in the region of Beyoglu. Its close proximity to the Bosphorus displays fantastic views across the rest of the city. The main focus of the site is a 1000 year old Hamam which is currently overgrown and in a ruined state - making a suggestion of memory and loss, a deep melancholic feeling known in Istanbul as 'huzun'.

A funeral ceremony is the primary focus, but this 'event' becomes one of many within the landscape. The aim is not to make the funeral a macabre event, but one that simply happens along with other events.

The hexagonal grid system identifies key points within the existing fabric - with the Hamam forming the initial starting point, plus the addition of one unifying route - a Ceremonial Walkway, in the direction of Mecca.

The scheme is divided up into six events - each with their own connotation in life and death.
-the viewing tower
-ceremonial walkway
-memory tower
-burial towers
-flower shop
-banquet hall

Ashley Ball


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