Intermodal Istanbul

Intermodal Istanbul:Exploring possible forms of intersection at Sirkeci Meydan(Square) between a public square, a ferry terminal, an archaeological site, and a tram and train stationSummary: In 2007, the first railway tunnel under the Bosphorus will start operating, carrying as many as 75,000 passengers per hour between the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. In a city of 15 million inhabitants and serious traffic congestion on the two existing bridges across the Bosphorus, the tunnel is going to radically affect mobility both in the city and in the larger transportation network between Europe and Asia. The tunnel crosses the Bosphorus between Sirkeci Square and Uskudar Square, the locations of the ferry terminals that had historically linked the two sides of the city and that in turn linked the two main train terminals, namely Sirkeci and Haydarpasha. Both Sirkeci, the end of the Orient Express on the European Side, and Haydarpasha, its starting point on the Asian side, open onto the Bosphorus and onto vast public spaces which link to other modes of transportation such as taxis, buses, and the recently revived tramways. The tunnel will radically affect the use of the ferries as well as the organization and layout of the public spaces that link between these different modes of transportation. These public spaces include the space between the train station and the Bosphorus, a Byzantine archaoelogical site at the foot of the Topkapi Palace hill, and a commercial area to the side of the station. The new space will also acquire the role in orienting the travelers emerging from the underground in a city that has been traditionally characterized by amazing visibility due to its geography and to the Bosphorous.The studio will focus on the redesign of Sirkeci Meydan (Square) and its surroundings, including the design of the new train-light rail terminal, the surrounding park and plaza, the ferry terminal, and surrounding buildings. The aim of the studio is to use the introduction of the tunnel as a means to rethink the role of public space in relationship to transportation hubs, as a means for urban rehabilitation, as a locale of social interaction among transient citizens, and between citizens and tourists, but also as a point of visual orientation in this city. The studio also aims to examine the perception of open space and interaction in a country that is turning towards the Europe and at a time when discussions about the future identity of Turkey is partly being addressed through the rehabilitation of Istanbul and through the shaping of its public spaces. In parallel, the studio looks at the physical relationship between the different levels of a city: the underground, the archaeology, the water, and the street level. It explores the posibilities of mixing between the instruments and methods of urban design, landscape, and architecture.Sirkeci Square:In 1890 a train station was opened in Sirkeci Square adjacent to the docks. The building of the station at this point was intended to give the passengers arriving on the Orient Express a picturesque arrival into Istanbul. Even though the arrival to the city could happen at an earlier point, the Sultan provided the land for the new station to be built at a very privileged point on the Golden Horn. The station was designed by Jasmund, a German architect, in an Orientalist style, and was meant to embody the image of the Orient that the arriving Europeans would want to see. The station featured a famous restaurant and a front that opened on a series of terraces facing the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. The docks of Sirkeci had been built during the Crimean war around the middle of the century in order to host the British and French navies. Afterwards, they were turned into a major ferry terminal that served to link Sirkeci with the Asian sideof Istanbul. Over the years,the rol