By EMRE AROLAT
A former fuel manufacturing unit and warehouses reworked into exhibition spaces; a minimum of four museums within the making in the new Tersane district, spread out around the previous arsenal rehabilitated by the famous Istanbul architect Murat Tabanlioglu; a former freight port reworked right into a marina and a new promenade along the Bosphorus to the mouth of the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara… Istanbul is in the midst of a change.
At the coronary heart of this mutation, the previous working-class neighborhoods, removed from the Ottoman splendor of the previous city, once neglected, where modern artwork areas at the moment are flourishing; Beyoglu and Dolapdere, on the European aspect of the megalopolis; Moda in Kadiköy, the fashionable “village” on the Asian aspect… A minimum of two main museums have been inbuilt Karaköy, on the banks of the Bosphorus, within the redesigned port district, which has been returned to the walkers and named Galaport; To not point out the new Istanbul Trendy Museum designed by Renzo Piano, on the waterfront, and some hundred meters away, the brand new Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture by Emre Arolat.
While ready for the long-anticipated opening of the first one, we have been capable of stroll via the spectacular cubic volumes of the former warehouse reworked right into a museum by Emre Arolat, the other huge identify in modern Turkish architecture (a minimum of 80 awards in fifteen years, including the distinguished Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010 and the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2015 for his implausible Sancaklar Mosque).
For this champion of the trace (to which he has dedicated an essay, Le Parfum de la trace1), works of structure are palimpsests incorporating within them the strata of the past, current and future, and should take up the soul and vocation of a spot, and of its whole surroundings, in an effort to discover their place and their applicable type. It's so as to not erase this “urban memory” that, in the course of the reconversion of the previous constructing, the architect needed to protect its strengthened concrete construction. Emptying it of all its overlaying (partitions and slabs), to fill it with “containers” – giant projecting blocks giving rhythm to the façade by cubic “overhangs” – he elevated its presence tenfold and sought to take advantage of all of the formal and scenographic assets of this “grid”: a primary constructive factor of Turkish structure, the “carcass” is here delivered to the fore. Energized by these overhanging caissons glowing at midnight, it even seems at nightfall as one of the beating hearts of the megalopolis. An fascinating inversion, between custom and subversion.
- The Scent of the Hint, EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture, ORO Editions, 2020
Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Kılıçali Paşa, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No: 2, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey