How much of the history of urban design as a discipline can be traced back to Corbusier's reading of foreground and background in Istanbul? He took his first research trip abroad to Istanbul in 1911 and wrote of the relationship between the massive forms of the mosques and the repeated typology of the wooden houses. Waterfront, trees, density - the contemporary concerns of urban design are already here. (His sketches and watercolor below are from "Turkish Architecture and Urbanism Through the Eyes of L.C.")
It is very unfair to position Rex's Vakko headquarters next to the New Mosque of 1597 and a detail of the Marble Door at Hagia Sophia. But the slumped glass holds its own. The interior of the Vakko, not so much. One reads the hurriedness of the project, which was, however, a major aspect of its intelligence.
These towers below, photographed quickly from a taxi on the Asian side, are far from the business parks, much less the Bosphorous or the city center. They are a short drive to the Sabiha airport, however. I cannot pinpoint exactly where I was, but I am pretty sure it's this masterplan by HOK (Please correct me or confirm that if you know the project.) But just taking this photo on its own terms, this view seems to concisely capture the kind of Generic Specialness of contemporary speculative developer projects, making somewhere into nowhere and back again.
This blog started with research, theory topics, travel and architecture discoveries during my fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. It continues, somewhat sporadically, with my relocation to Detroit as an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan. The blog spans architecture, urban design, planning, and tangents from these.