Wenhao Xu

Wenhao Xu

Philadelphia, PA, US


Follies in the Postindustrial Garden Halic Imperial Shipyard, Istanbul

Beings (and things) requiring each other in unexpected collaborations and combinations. Being situated someplace and not noplace, entangled and worldly. 

                                                   - Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble (2016)

This design research studio will seek to define new concepts for both the architectural folly and the garden in the postindustrial age. The philosophical basis is the word “oddkin” introduced by Donna Haraway. Rather than viewing the world through predetermined categories and strict hierarchies, Haraway sees odd couplings and hybridization as the actual manifestation of our reality. Under this circumstance, we seek to make “odd” combinatorial choices through eliminating the boundary of the natural and the technological, therefore to create a new aesthetic — “oddkin aesthetic”. 

The site of the project, Halic shipyard, lies in Istanbul, one of the most historically rich cities in the world. It was built in the 15th century on the Galata side of the Golden Horn across the historical peninsula. It has been continuously used as a shipyard until today. It is now an old shipyard with obsolete machinery and functionalist architecture with three main basins for ship maintenance.

My project is focused on the water control system of the existing shipyard. By hybridizing new hydroelectric generators that work with the cistern and underground channels of the shipyard, I create a new machine. The mechanism of this machine further hybridize with moss, rust, stain and manmade colors to turn the dim and humid cistern into a fully articulated and colorful vertical underground garden where the natural and the technological coexist at the same place.

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Status: School Project
Location: Istanbul, TR
My Role: Designer