Galata Greek School in the centre of Istanbul, Photo: Chris Luth
Lecture/Debat/symposium | External location - | 19/12/12 18:00 - 22:00
How to re-use a vacant school building in the heart of Istanbul? Which role can architecture play in reprogramming a monument? And how can a vacant building become a reference point for the once significant Greek minority? In collaboration with the Galata Greek School Foundation, the NAI will host the presentation of proposals for reuse of the Galata Greek School by Dutch and Turkish architects on 19 December 2012. After the presentations the audience can join a tour of the building, with the participants in the matchmaking trajectory as their guides.
Reclaimed monument in the heart of Istanbul
A model of social, cultural and ethnic diversity until the 1930s, Istanbul started to lose this admirable characteristic due to policies against ethnic minorities. A recent law has restored the rights of ethnic minorities, which allows them to reclaim properties that once belonged to their communities. The Galata Greek School in Istanbul is the first of these reclaimed properties.
Reactivating Voids in the City
The Rum minority are the people of Greek origin who live in Turkey. The Rum population living in Istanbul has declined from an estimated 200,000 to a mere 2,000, so many of the buildings that once belonged to them will remain vacant even if they are reclaimed. These properties, including the Galata Greek School, are voids in the city. How can we reactivate these voids? What to do with a reclaimed monumental school building for this decimated minority?
Collaboration of Dutch and Turkish architects
After China, Brazil and India, the NAI has expanded its matchmaking activities into Turkey. In August 2012, an agreement was signed with the Galata Greek School Foundation. It formalised their joint commitment to revitalise a vacant monumental building in Istanbul’s historical centre by means of an international matchmaking project. They have brought together Dutch and Turkish architects who were asked to put forward concepts, designs and management proposals for the reuse of the vacant Galata Greek School.
Symposium in the Galata Greek School on 19 November. Photo: Chris Luth
Symposium and workshops
In November a symposium was held to present the case to the Rum community, architects and cultural programmers in Istanbul. The ideas that it accumulated formed the starting point for the Dutch and Turkish architects. The two-day workshop that followed generated concepts like ‘Courtyard of Cultural Experiences’, ‘By the Rum, for the City’ and ‘Learning by Playing’ and several scenarios for the reuse of the school. These scenarios consistently interweave architectural design with phasing, financing, organisation, the creation of new coalitions and branding. They will be elaborated on during a second workshop in December.
Proposal for reuse
The matchmaking trajectory will result in a coherent proposal consisting of various scenarios for reuse of the building. This proposition will be offered to the Galata Greek School foundation in a public presentation on 19 December. The NAI and the Galata Greek School Foundation will remain committed to a reuse of the school that lives up to the potential of the building for the Rum community, the Galata neighbourhood and Istanbul at large.
-O+A strategies and architecture, Amsterdam - Auguste van Oppen and Marc van Asseldonk
-Dafni Mimarlik Yapi ve Tasarim, Istanbul - Defne Sozbir
-Studio Iris Schutten, The Hague - Iris Schutten
-ABOUTBLANK, Istanbul - Ozan Ozdilek with Beyza Derbentogullari and Ipek Baycan Glaister
-Doepel Strijkers Architects, Rotterdam - Duzan Doepel and Eline Strijkers
-ArkiZON, Istanbul - Emin Balkis and Volkan Taskin
-Group A, Rotterdam - Adam Visser
-Eva de Klerk, Amsterdam
-ZU Mimarlik, Istanbul - Zehra Ucar
-Perplekcity, Rotterdam - Pieter Kuster and Emine Yilmazgil
Kindly supported by Dutch Design Fashion Architecture and Netherlands Consulate General in Istanbul.
When & Where
Wednesday December 19, 2012
Location: Kemeralti Caddesi 25, Istanbul