170_ ThyssenKrupp Architecture Award

ThyssenKrupp Architecture Award

ThyssenKrupp / The City of Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

Design: Aaron Gutiérrez Cortes, Julia Cerrud, Georgina Muñoz, Roberto Gutiérrez
Excecutive/Administrative/Development: Julia Cerrud, Georgina Muñoz, Roberto Gutiérrez,
Interns: Georgina Laborin, Berenice Jimenez

Submitted as a competition entry.

Project Description
Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Centre

Project Log

Reactive Self-Organizing Subsystems: Istanbul Disaster Prevention and Education Centre
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award.

dis·as·ter[dih-zah-ster] noun 1.a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

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A disaster can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. We all witness disasters everyday: in the news, on the street, where we live, and around the world all the time.  When we pass through a disaster we inevitably think what if, we instinctively and immediately begin to wonder how we would have handled it. Hindsight is 20/20 and whenever an incident occurs we can immediately detect the areas where the management of the situation could have been improved. Just as Katrina helped better prepare the US for the consequences of Irene, and the 1985 Mexico city earthquake helped reform Mexican earthquake codes and vastly improve its rescue teams training, there is very much to be learned from surviving a disaster.

The project documentation began through two parallel diagrams: the first departs from a virtual model of the site and its surroundings where we input data into a system in order to document ramifications of the researched information. This information was varied and diverse, ranging from legal constraints of the building such as maximum heights, parking requirements, and so on, to more practical aspects such as sun, wind and other climatological components directly influencing the site and the city. Had we decided to pursue the maximum allowable mass on site the result would have been an incredibly dense building that contained several times over the initial program requirements. Finally, we applied the missing layer of information to this practical diagram from the program itself, in order to de-densify the maximum allowable building mass shown on initial iterations. Afterwards, these less dense program units were rotated and dispersed throughout the site to allow the best lighting, ventilation and accommodate direct and visual relations to the other spaces.

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The purpose of the second diagram was to document the intangible aspects of the research: from the meaning of disasters and their ramifications [natural, legal, bioethic, biomimetic, educational, disasters, economy, etc] in Istambul and Turkey cross-referencing a plethora of layers that intensify parametrically within themselves making evident the impacts of all events documented within these layers during the period spanning between 1830-2011.

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As research progressed we constantly pondered, debated and analyzed these points resulting in a hyper-dynamic proposal where multimedia pavilion boxes surround and protect a central shelter containing  training experimentation facilities and simulations of different disasters: the earthquake experimental room moves and can replicate any earthquake intensity for research and educational purposes, a replica of a typical modern day household allows visitors to learn first-hand disaster prevention techniques and strategies.

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All these pavilions are interconnected by fluid escalator [ramps] path that allows one to explore the pavilions as either a participant or spectator [as it is sometimes more enjoyable to watch than to partake].

A necessary system of protection was deduced since the beginning of this project. We however realized through the conditions of the specific site that it needed to be responsive to many of the data and physical essentialities. Although a melting condition was emerging as an engaging and connecting habit for this skin system, the experiments resulted in a rather complex situation compromising functions, arrangements and classifications. The process continued.

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The skin system generized by the specificities of the site (wind, sun, noise, views, smog, uv-rays, etc.) is in its own a self organizing organism which will be able to optimize (solidify in opacity) or transparentize (become clear) through a Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal System which is dependent on the changing conditions of the users’ and sites’ needs. This skin system possesses a reactive capability to be able to serve as efficiently and self-sufficiently as possible.

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Our site is located in a semi-dense urban area near the Istanbul Ataturk Airport and directly adjacent to the İstanbul Kültür Üniversitesi, which primes it to become an extremely culturally diverse hub vibrant with traffic from the city, the university and all the visitors from the airport making it a vibrant gathering space for the city of Istanbul and it’s visitors. Thanks to the incorporation of not only the latest cutting edge technology and strategies to inform and entertain visitors but also because of the integration of self-organizing subsystems this disaster prevention and education center will be not only a meeting and entertainment space but a truly intelligent and ever-changing adaptable space that grows and evolves with the needs of Istanbul and its people.


Disaster Images Credits:
© UPI/Maryam Rahmanian, © Eric Nguyen, © Kyodo News via Associated Press, © NASA, © TerraMetrics, © Digital Globe, © Europa Technologies,
© USDA Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program