Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

Common ground: design for a contemporary Caravanserai in Istanbul

Jorien Cousijn (TU Delft)

I had the great opportunity to be one of the fellows at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey, staying at the NIT in Istanbul for three weeks in February 2018 to conduct architectural research during my graduation project. This graduation work is part of the Master of Architecture at Delft University of Technology, and consists of a year-long design project, in which the first phase involves mostly research and site analysis and the second phase the design of an architectural project. I am doing this project within the studio ‘Design as Politics’ which focusses on spatial interventions for societal issues, with this year’s theme: ‘Migration: the city of comings and goings’. I choose Istanbul as the eternal city of comings and goings as the location for my project.

My research consisted of paralleling the history and present for three elements: (1) the city of Istanbul and the area of Unkapani (specifically the former flour mill ruins) as the context, (2) the migrant as the target user group for the to be designed building, and (3) the historical khan as the building typology. During my stay at the NIT I had the possibility to dive into the history in literature and historical documents at the NIT library, and the present by going to see and document the location, speaking to people, and examining the current use and state of the former khans. The result of my stay was a deepening of my understanding of the migration situation in Istanbul, a thorough site examination and a catalogue of the existing historical khans.

Additionally, I presented my work (until then) at the institute to some of the NIT students and employees as well as employees of the Dutch consulate. Their feedback and a round table discussion gave me some useful insights and ideas to continue towards the design. Overall, staying at the NIT, within touching distance to the NIT library, and walking distance to my site at Unkapani, was very fruitful. Thanks, Fokke Gerritsen, Güher Gürmen and the other staff at NIT for the suggestions, assistance and the opportunity for me to stay at the NIT.