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Urban Room

Partners in Charge: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
Structural Engineer: Scobie Alvis
Tutor: Jonathan Dawes, Marco Guarreri (AA Intermediate 6, 2008-2009)

A hotel for frequent travellers, the public cube and the London Underground Station, Tower Hill is merged together. We have experienced the public square for centuries, how about experiencing the public cube? Is there any way of designing an urban room that will become a free space any time of the day to hang around safely.

We define the busy mornings and evenings of the station as urban tide . The term is coined for defining the exact moments in a typical London work day, where the building meets with masses. During the night time and afternoons the tide disappears allowing slower paced programmes to take place on site.

We have proposed shortcuts, backstage conditions for the hotel workers within the public cube. The precedents are taken from our visits with AA from Tokyo’s Shibuya Square.

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Casa a Napoli

House in Naples, Italy. Merging volumes forming a very small house.



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Hacienda Hills


Four approaches for the strong topographical character of the site. From left to right:

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  3. Wrapping
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Scoring idea transformed into bars of programme stretched between elevator and stair shafts.

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Dogus Tower





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Camlica Mosque



partner in charge:
Aras Burak

local architect:
Elif Demir


The design of a mosque has always been a hot topic for discussion in Turkey. The arguments in terms of style are always trapped between the traditional vs. modern choice.

Our interest was to propose only a great space with no tricks of numbers, secret meanings, mystical decisions.

The greatest dome that can ever be imagined is the sky. Therefore we did not propose a new dome, instead: we proposed a window to the sky.

The site was lacking a urban context that can help us direct the building’s design. Instead of seeing our proposal as an urban structure, we were not ashamed to define it as a sculpture + mosque on Camlica Hill of Istanbul.

The semi-open dome is located between the open courtyard and the indoor space for prayers. This semi-open dome frames the sky with five openings. Funeral ceremonies are to take place here.

In plan, the building is divided into four parts, one semi-open dome, one open courtyard, one indoor space for prayers and the last one as a social, secular space for conferences, activities.

These four sections are surrounded by the honeycomb shaped units where hallways, staircases and lifts are also located. This frame also incorporates the classrooms into the design.

Roof has a 100mm deep decorative pool to prevent access to the minaret and the semi-open dome’s sculptural part.

The dome that is facing inwards is an outdoor amphi-theatre. Also for tourists, it could’ve been an ideal location to witness the time of praying. We tried to keep this quarter of the building’s accesses and programme separate from the rest of the building.

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Guggenheim Helsinki

Partners in Charge: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis

Project Date: 2014

Project Type: Competition

Proposal is located next to an international port terminal, the idea I followed was to treat the site as an incomplete canvas.

Only the completion of the museum was not to be left literally to the artists, the museum is to be a frame for the artwork, that could be either modified or left just as is functioning too. So the proposal is complete when it is delivered.




Four large galleries are connected by the building independent from the ground level, the loop accommodate the cafe and restaurants and the linear galleries too.

The entrances to the four main galleries are only through the bridges as the artwork can enter the museum through the ground level, which is already used as a truck passage for the Helsinki port.

The proposal accepts the environment of the site as it is and provides it’s own art courtyards, facing inwards, only openning to the harbour and the park next to the museum site.

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Nimbus Masterplan

Partners in Charge: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis

Nimbus Masterplan is about forming a compact business district at the heart of Sisli district just like a rain cloud.

The cores are exposed at the first 10 levels of the skyscrapers, at the level of each 50 meters, the skyscrapers are connected to each other forming new ground levels.

It would be possible to drive up to the skyscrapers to park at 100m height and invert the circulation vertically. In such a “car city” like Istanbul this would be interesting.

The district is a delta formed within the main road, Buyukdere Caddesi in Istanbul, Zincirlikuyu.


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Mahalle Vertical

Design: Aras Burak

AA Diploma 9 (2009-2010) Natasha Sandmeier, Monia de Marchi

For more information check: Mahalle Vertical Book by Reading Office


Mahalle (noun, Turkish): 

The semi-public sphere between a dwelling and the city in Turkish culture.

Social Manifesto

Our design aims to offer the mahalle life in a skyscraper.

In order to achieve the mahalle quality, we need single, two, five stories high ceiling spaces and street like circulation that allows by-passing certain parts of the building in the sky.

The spaces we are proposing are indeterminate. Our job is to offer the great spaces with no imposed carefully scripted occupation of it.

The potential for such spaces in vertical is going to inspire, result in the celebration of high rise again in 21st century.


High-rise Manifesto

Complex Floor Plan Repetition

The tower is shaped by bundled floor plan repetition. The generic skyscraper is a repetition of a single floor plan. We believe there is an opportunity to expect more from a high rise  by making thus repetition complex.

In Mahalle, five floor-plates form a single bundle and this group gets repeated by rotation by 90 degrees around the elevator shafts each time.


Multiple Ground Levels

Ground level in a skyscraper is taken for granted as flat. Cities like Tokyo, Istanbul, Lisbon, San Francisco are not flat. We are struggling to adapt the New York skyscraper to the cities with strong topographic character. Despite this feels like a disadvantage, the topography can let us have more than one ground levels. In the case of Mahalle tower, the tower connects Golden Horn with Okmeydani district, creating 7 different ground plates.

Floor Elimination

In Shibuya – Tokyo, department stores bridge between buildings, each building is a shared indeterminate frame. This condition creates a democratic use of the high rise. One store can close earlier than the other and the building can still be open to public by a more complex circulation system.

Walkways and staircases wrap, are placed around department stores allowing floor elimination. Mahalle takes this a precedent. One could skip any compartment using the escalator or lift only.


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Seba Stadium

Relocating the home of Beşiktaş JK to Okmeydanı replacing – merging with the Perpa trade center. The perimeter of the building is assigned to be the trade center while the stadium functions twice a month as the home of Beşiktaş JK Football and Basketball teams.


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Zorlu Edge

Proposal for the third bridge.


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Audi Theatre


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Los Angeles Office

Los Angeles
Architecture Office
Research Institute


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Kurbagalidere Masterplan

For more information check: İstanbul 2020: Kurbagalidere Masterplan Book by Reading Office
Kurbağalıdere Vadisi'nin 2020 Olimpiyatları için kullanılması.Onbir merkez çap olarak alındı, birbirlerine ulaşana kadar genişletildi. Bu çemberlere teğet geçen yollar hızlı ulaşım yolları olarak sunuldu. Kurbağalıdere Vadisi'nin ağzında oluşturulacak su sporları merkezi, Yoğurtçu Parkı'nın karşı kıyıya genişletilmesi ile büyütülmesi, Kuşdili Çayırı'nda yüksek bir nokta yaratılarak Fikirtepe - Dereağzı arasında görsel bir bağlantı kurulması amaçlandı. Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadyumu çevresinde yükseltilmiş bir yürüme platformu (etek) inşa edilerek Söğütlüçeşme Tren İstasyonu ile direk bağlantısı sağlandı. Var olan Haydarpaşa Olimpiyat Köyü projesinin aksine bu bölgenin merkez olması, mevcut ancak Marmaray hayata geçtikten sonra artık kullanılmayacak ray sistemi ile Haydarpaşa ile bağlantı kurulması Building Office tarafından önerildi.

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Pfizer Modern Art

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Pfizer Headquarters

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Cezmi Or

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Design: Aras Burak

Dental practice in a not so trendy district of Istanbul. Building is divided into half vertically. One route is designed for the use of doctors, the backstage. the second route is for the patients. Dental phobia is to be distracted by a playful attitude on the patients' side while the doctor's experience is designed to be efficient and help reducing the stress level by private spaces to take break, enjoy the work day.


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Mahalle Horizontal

The second phase is the vertical configuration, imagining the Mahalle concept on a horizontal plane, a grid. Circulation does not depend on a core, instead openings start to serve as gateways to each grid. The hill condition of the site allows vistas towards the historical Istanbul views. The roof serves as main street and balconies for apartments.

For more information check: Mahalle Horizontal Book by Reading Office

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Obama Center

Obama Presidential Library is proposed as an iconic building on the edge of Chicago loop. Unlike the other Presidential Libraries of the past, Obama Library is designed to be more than a mausoleum or vault-like building. A public element, "The Bridge of Hope" connects three river banks and is located at the ground level, running through a bowl shaped amphitheater forming the lower section of the sphere. It was designed for discussions and allowing for unexpected participation, as well as for potentially uncomfortable moments with no barriers of solid walls or glass as a demonstration of true democracy. Spaces with higher security requirement are stacked on top of this amphitheater level in 8 levels which imitate the bridge in their form, which host the records and the galleries for the 8 years of Obama presidency, opening up to the city on each end, providing pleasant views. The shield like facade is a translucent surface which allows the limits of the sphere to blend with the sky, making the sphere feel like a soft object on the edge of Chicago loop.

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Zorlu Center

Partners in Charge: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis Project Date: 2007 - 2015

An ambitious client, Nazif Zorlu wanted to create an iconic building in Istanbul and is aware of the power of architecture for adding value to his real estate investments. He opened a semi-international competition for the shopping mall, hotel and residence in Istanbul. The site is a very busy junction for modern Istanbul, Sisli. We have proposed four towers that merge and get separated again from the centre point of the tower.

Shopping mall, hotel, residential and office building on a highly valued site in Istanbul. Client, Ahmet Nazif Zorlu, a wealthy businessman from Denizli, had a desire to build an iconic building that can become an architectural masterpiece for Istanbul. As a young practice, we are not interested in the value of the building that is calculated by square meters. zorlu-xse-web-01 We believe smaller spaces with great architectural value are worth to invest, not the square meters. The site is highly congested. It is right next to the major transportation hub of the metropolis, Zincirlikuyu. There is a beautiful modern building, one of the first skyscrapers of the city, Karayolları Headquarters by Mehmet Konuralp right at the north east corner of the new building.   We wanted our design to be in a relationship with this tower. Having a corridor for view towards this building from the other side of the site was the design decision to keep in mind for us.    

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La Primavera

Partner in Charge: Aras Burak

Location: Los Angeles / CA, United States

Organised in an exploded order, the beach house offers an incomplete interior for its users unlike an enclosed envelope does. The shifted rooms offer views to the ocean and openings for circulation through different levels of the house.

Single family residence in Venice, California. Exploded organisation of blocks form  negative space that is used for circulation, daylight. Basement is a desired destination, a separate entitiy instead of an extra space for no specific use / storage. Architecture can be more interesting than the beach view.

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Partner in Charge: Aras Burak

The proposal for the new development of the international cruise terminal after privatisation of the existing buildings. The reclaimed concrete foundations are reported to be hopeless and the tear down of the existing foundation is suggested by the engineers for the site of new Galataport. We chose not to propose a whole concrete base covering the whole site. Instead, we preferred to keep the already built edge, forming ice cubes that would float in Bosphorus, hosting different uses. The ground level would act as bridges connecting each building to the land.


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Time Warner & Dogan

-1, +1 project is a search for an architecture for migrant corporations. migrant corporations are constantly on the move in cities like Istanbul, especially when unstable economic and political conditions are present. as they are on the move media corporations stay anonymous in the city requiring buildings underground, insignificant large boxes.   section-01   Since Galatasaray's stadium is demolished this year in Istanbul and left a 250 x 250m hole right in the middle of the highly congested city centre, we bring together 10 media groups that are in joint venture at international and national scale: sharing the -1 infrastructure (TV and Film production spaces) +1, more arbitrary configured office spaces sit above the -1 level, letting the sandwiched completely free public space for the city, right next to the main highway connected Europe to Asia where 4 million people pass by in a normal day. corporations can build in our cities such public spaces, in this case such a park type that can not be afforded by the political power in the city.

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Lamerwood House

The brief asked the competitors to rethink what a beautiful house is. 150930-p+1 150930-p+2

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Al Faisaliah II

Phase 1 / Project led by Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf Phase 2 / Partner in Charge: Aras Burak What could be the next step for the designers of the CCTV to push the limits of the skyscraper design. Only when the client gives no budget limit and no height restrictions, it is possible to imagine a new loop skyscraper. The proposal is located right next to the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The loop tower would connect the Foster’s mall with the Tange’s office building in Riyadh. The building is twisted joining in the middle of the whole height, allowing two meeting points to happen in a single skyscraper instead of one connecting bridge, like CCTV.