GSD Course Bulletin - Fall 2013

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:55:09.

Courses taught by Erkin Ozay

01603: Meydan: Designing the Surfaces of Public Space around Beyazit Square, Istanbul (STU 0160300)

Architecture, Urban Planning and Design
Option Studio - 8 credits - Limited enrollment
Tuesday Thursday 2:00 - 6:00  

A. Hashim Sarkis, Erkin Ozay

Course Description


The studio explores the architectural means by which a public space could be configured to support a variety of specific urban functions while encouraging a multiplicity of unspecified social interactions. By relocating a library and a bus station, the studio aims to reorganize the activities in Beyazit Square, one of the oldest, vital, but more chaotic public spaces in the historic center of Istanbul. The studio focuses on the design of the square’s façades, the ground surface and the covers over some of its passages. In the interplay between ground frottage, reflected ceiling, and façade relief, the studio hopes to unpack the possibilities of over-determination of surfaces and under-determination of spaces. This contrast between intense edges and open spaces is meant to inspire rather than dictate public activity.


In the past twenty years, Istanbul has been on a very fast pace of expanding its transportation network and infrastructure to serve its growing metropolitan territory. Because of geography and the growth patterns, this network has converged back on the historical center generating major transportation nodes and development projects around them. It has also generated major frictions with the historic city and its citizens.

For one, and with varying degrees of success, the increasing awareness of the historical fabric of the city and its world heritage status, has led to serious negotiations and reconsideration of several infrastructure projects in order to mitigate their detrimental impacts. At another level, the growing civic skepticism of the political and social consequences of such projects has pushed them to the forefront of public debates. The recent demonstrations around Gezi Park are a case in point.

Site and Program: Campus, Bazaar, Mosque, Bus Station, Archaeology, and Tram Stop

The site is Beyazit Square, a transportation hub located at the critical juncture between Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar around the Beyazit II Mosque. In the history of Istanbul, Beyazit Square has moved from a highly formalized space associated with decorum of empire to a more loosely delineated void between highly differentiated activities. Through this transformation, the square has been the subject of periodic rehabilitation attempts, all partially or poorly executed. Today, the synergetic interaction between a wide range of uses, cultures, and architectural typologies (ranging from mat buildings to free-standing objects) is one of the key generators of the square’s livelihood despite its practical problems and uninspiring surfaces.

The Istanbul Studios at the GSD:

Over the past six years, the Aga Khan Program at the GSD, in collaboration with Bilgi University in Istanbul, has been addressing these themes through a series of studios on the historic city with projects ranging from a new train station, a new bridge, to new urban equipment that serve the tourists and local citizens alike. All located in the thick of the historic peninsula, these studios have placed a strong emphasis on the civic potential of the new infrastructures, and focused on strategies of embedding such structures within the historic context in order derive urban and architectural lessons. This studio is the last installation in this sequence.


The studio is sponsored by the Aga Khan Program at the GSD.

It is open to students in architecture and urban design.

It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 and 6. It includes a trip to Istanbul in the first week of October.

The first studio meeting will take place at 6:30 pm after lottery.

Courseware site (Canvas)

05210: Cities by Design I (SES 0521000)

Urban Planning and Design
Lecture - 4 credits
Tuesday Thursday 10:00 - 11:30   Gund 111

Rahul Mehrotra, Erkin Ozay, Sibel Bozdogan, Joan Busquets, Fares El-Dahdah, Alex Krieger, Peter Rowe, A. Hashim Sarkis

Course Description

'Cities by Design' is a year-long course that studies urban form. In the fall semester, 'Cities by Design' will explore six urban case studies to expose students to a range of factors that affect the design of contemporary cities in various geographical contexts. In the spring, the course will look at four cities and conclude with a panel discussion to synthesize the conclusions drawn from cases from the entire year. The case studies will focus on both the urban condition as a whole by exploring processes of urban evolution, and on the study of urban fragments or projects. Each case study will be taught during a two-week module, comprised of four lectures and one discussion section. Term grades will be based on attendance and participation in both lectures and sections, biweekly response papers based on assigned readings, and a final term paper.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course. The course will allow students to establish a broader definition of the 'urban,' forging commonalities amongst a diversity of cities. It will also provide the historical and comparative material to identify the urban characteristics and design strategies that render particular cities distinct. Comparative analyses of the urban case studies will be guided by the following eight themes, which will be explored through the lectures, section discussions, and assigned readings:

1. The city's genealogy and key historical events, phases of development, and patterns of growth
2. The ways in which the terrain, geography, and infrastructural development constrain and present opportunities for the city's development and ambitions
3. The city's planning and design culture and decision-making institutions
4. The challenges that social equity present to planning and design in the city
5. The orchestration of the city's relationship to the broader region
6. How the particular city contributes to a definition of the 'urban' condition
7. The framing and design of key urban projects/case studies
8. The city's planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions, etc. that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context

No Prerequisites; Course is required of all entering UD students.

Courseware site (Canvas)

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