Located in Northern part of İzmir,Ulukent 35th Street Project is formed by the topography of its context. The site is a steep slope which has 60 meters difference in height.
The project is a 2 kilometers long curvilinear circulation spine which extends and grows into private spaces, social amenities as well as infrastructural facilities. Spine arrayed along the slope, provides a range of public and private spaces including cafes, bookshops and common spaces and creates a dynamic geneaolgy. This plan allows unique views overlooking green fields along the corridor, opens up range of different sequences along the spine.
An archetypical section of the project consists of a continuos underground driveway between parking lots on both sides, a pedestrian street above, and townhouses attached to it. This scheme allows optimized distances between car-parks and the houses, which also helps gaining green areas by embedding parking lots underground.
In 2010, the construction company Akşan Yapi, acquired a plot of 130 000 square meters in the Izmir northern suburb of Menemen, in the Aegean coast of Turkey, to display an innovative design for housing. The Akşan Yapi promotes in Turkey a technological system of light steel structures, similar to wooden balloon frame, usually used for conventional and “neo-traditional” ready made villas available on line catalogues. The client wanted to explore a way to use this technology to produce a contemporary prototype of housing. The proposal presented by TEGET, with other architects invited, was enough innovative and brave to scare the client and to be initially refused. The site area is shaped as a diamond stretched along the north-south axis with a steep slope about 60 meters of level difference.
TEGET proposed a single linear (infra)structure organized on two levels: the inferior one is an underground street for cars with park areas and the superior one is a central pedestrian street were buildings define a continuos front like in a conventional urban street. With this clear and strong concept the project became a single structure of two kilometers zigzagging the topography in order to neutralize the slope and to create a sequence of green open spaces, both common and private, opened to the surrounded environment. The clients after the examination of the previous selected project, not satisfied by the high costs, contacted again TEGET to evaluate the costs of their hypothesis. The idea to reduce excavations and not to create a street network for cars reduced the overall costs, client convinced by this strategy decided to pursue the project to the construction details. Completed in 2014, the long structure is mainly urbanized with two-storey row houses. In some cases, due to the topography difference of levels, there are duplex opened to the central pedestrian street and to the lower garden level. At the joint points, or where the zigzag structure is changing direction, there are public buildings or commercial activities. This long “snake” structure, unlike some modernist superstructures, is characterized by a small and domestic scale of the central pedestrian street, which is very familiar for users and at the same time very similar, for the size of the street and the scale and volumetric articulation of buildings, to the street-scape of the Izmir historical downtown.
TEGET avoided to urbanize the site with a conventional settlement of single family villas that created in the surrounding plots introverted complexes detached from the context. The 35 sokak project in its building-structural and economical spirit is a potential model for future development of the social housing issue in Turkey.
(text: Arch. Emiliano Bugatti, PhD)