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Taksim Gezi Park District

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Project Date: 2020
  • Type: Competition
  • Client: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi
  • Plot Size: 170,500m2
  • Collaborators:
    • Urban Planner: Oya Tabanoglu
    • Landscape Architect: Jale Sari
    • Local Architect: Harun Ekerbiçer

Taksim Square has been going through transformations since the beginning of the 20th century. We strongly believe there is no ultimate solution one can reach to fix Taksim. It is simply not the way we see the nature of design and the role of the architect, the urban planner, landscape designer. At the moment, we are experiencing odd artifacts from the previous planning decisions taken. We can observe and experience these as people living in Istanbul.

Istanbul has a very strong topographical character. Taksim square is a plateau at +85m sea level, located on the ridge formed by great topographical change – this path is called Tarlabasi Caddesi, Halaskargazi Street, and Buyukdere Caddesi, reaching 14km north till Haciosman. On this spine, Taksim serves as a hub almost as crucial as Mecidiyekoy and Levent.

Henri Prost defined the steep drop from Taksim in the northeast direction as a green valley knowing the topographical character of Istanbul. Today, Henri Prost’s Gezi Park is no longer a green valley. Ceylan Intercontinental, Ritz Carlton, and many more stand-alone private buildings with their fence were built into the valley, interrupting the continuity of the green belt idea.

Yet, we believe Taksim is no longer the most crucial transportation hub in the city. The city has had a trend of migrating with consumption – not because of maximized capacity – towards north starting in the 20th century. Starting from the Ottoman Palace migrating from Topkapi to Dolmabahce, there has been a historical trend to migrate towards the north of Istanbul. This trend was followed by the business district of Karakoy moving to Mecidiyekoy, later to Maslak. IBB’s new office was considered in Maslak, Galatasaray’s Stadium moved from Taksim Square to Mecidiyekoy; later to Seyrantepe, United States Consulate moved to North to Istinye from historical Istanbul, bank headquarters moved from Karakoy to 4.Levent, even the main airport moved to North in 2019.


Taksim Square has gotten weaker as a business center of Istanbul as a result of this migration, yet Taksim has always managed to preserve its socio-political meaning. In the 21st century, the government defined Taksim Square as trouble making public space where protests are made often on the 1st of May; often, shops were vandalized every year as a result of the tension. The gatherings, demonstrations were banned in Taksim on almost every meaningful day, including New Year’s Day.

The government was showing the public two new addresses for gatherings: Yenikapi Meeting Zone and Maltepe Meeting Zone. These vast concrete plains – larger than Tiananmen Square were reclaimed land on the coast of Istanbul to justify the removal of Taksim Square from the city. Providing the central, most extensive of its kind solution to any need has been an urban planning strategy in the 21st century in Turkey. This formula was followed for city hospitals, court buildings, the need for gatherings treated in the same way.

The plan of filling Taksim Square with buildings was interrupted by the Gezi Protests started by people of Istanbul standing in front of the bulldozers at the end of May, beginning of June in 2013. As a result, the government was convinced not to build the shopping mall and ice rink. The protest forced Taksim to remain as a blank sheet with its existing problems, untouched.

What Taksim needs today is not a new author. Yet, we have to come up with a strategy to make it a better place collectively. We are proposing a plan, a framework for immediate problems that can be realistically done and does not require unrealistic political power to bring into real life. The construction of the underground tunnel for vehicles from Tarlabasi to Sisli has just finished a few years ago, even though it is not ideal for pedestrian experience entering Taksim and increases the space in addition to the existing undefined space, we think it is a step taken that can have it’s own advantages.


Gezi Park is no longer as part of Henri Prost’s Green Valley idea. It is a park surrounded by police, and on the pre-2013 days, the park served substance abusers and had been a scary place to enter. The level change between the Taksim Square as we know and the Gezi Park created compartments within the potential great open space, resulting in disconnection. Consequently, Gezi Park has been a black hole in the middle of Istanbul.

The empty space is valuable for the coming great Istanbul earthquake, and we are aiming to develop the park with material strategies for rainwater collection to set new standards for the rest of the development in Istanbul.

We have seen great public green spaces in New York (High Line) and Seoul (7017, Skygarden). Lately, Washington DC (11th Street Bridge Park) is also planning a landscaped bridge as a public space.

Since Gezi Park is untouchable for good reasons, there is a potential to extend the park just like a carpet onto the empty space. This carpet-like approach is similar to traditional Turkish treatment for empty concrete space, the living room. Turks traditionally pile carpets on top of each other with a sense of directionality – pointing corridors, rooms opening to the central space. We feel a similar approach would be appropriate for an empty concrete public space in Istanbul. Gardens, other ground treatments stacked on top of each other inspiring multiple uses into the open space. In Anatolia, carpets tell stories with their patterns; we aim to reflect the past of Taksim square within the choice of patterning.

We propose to expand the park onto the rest of Taksim Square. For the reasons explained above, we believe Taksim has lost its socio-political importance and remains as an undefined, wasted space right in the middle of a potentially very lively urban fabric. By expanding the park onto the indefinite area, we are aiming to ramp down and make these two levels one. A singular plain unifying Gezi Park with the Taksim Square again.

Recognizing its disconnection from Green Valley, instead of getting rid of Gezi Park, we want to give it a new definition; we want to open it up safely to the city with enough light and visual security. In Gezi Park, we want to avoid too many tree relocations; therefore, we only change the walkways within the park, redirecting them into the city. Plugging them into existing flows, following axis from existing Talimhane, and align and ramp it down to Istiklal Street.

This extension of the city grid from Talimhane gives us a rotated square within the project zone. We call this square Gezi Park District. This rotated square defines a new potential for redevelopment, reuse of existing buildings in Talimhane in harmony with the new Taksim Square. It also leaves a negative space on four sides to be defined. One corner will be serving Istiklal Street; the second corner will belong to AKM, and the third corner as a dense green zone full of trees and fourth corner will provide Sisli Urban connection.

This focus area development will be called Gezi Park District. Taking two blocks of Talimhane within its influence area, we would like to give a new definition to the emptiness existing at the moment without building a single new building.

We define a system to read the existing fabric of Taksim Square; it is a 50m x 50m module starting from Cumhuriyet Aniti, Gezi Fountain, and edges of the square fall entirely within this grid system. This grid is also used to form terraces moving the ground plane up and down to match the topographical differences.

The existing city fabric of Talimhane is to be partially renewed by injecting new buildings into the locations falling on this 50m x 50m grid defined by us following existing structures in Taksim. These interventions will be open to design competitions and also given to trusted major architects of Istanbul for redevelopment. Instead of a Tabula Rasa approach, this will slow down the evolution and make the regeneration more natural.

The marble staircase of Gezi Park will be preserved as an amphitheater facing the red carpet for the public in front of AKM, which is a new zone defined by us as a place for gathering for celebrations, protests in a more reasonable size. The crowd will still have the potential to spread over the grass and Gezi Park area since we get rid of the level change in our proposal.

The red carpet for all is a red ground where also Istanbul Metro is exiting; taxis drop you off; it is the zone of arrival. We keep the vehicle road as it is in front of AKM but would level this road with the red ground, and only define the vehicle road with balustrades. Once a year, a design competition will be held among artists and architects to design a pavilion on the corner of AKM, similar to “Kavusma Duragı” built in 2020.

The biggest intervention we are proposing is a lightweight, relatively cheap scaffolding structure that will mark each node on our 50m x 50m grid, providing lighting, electricity, and other infrastructural needs for the new Taksim Square; the pavilions. Pavilions will host infrastructure such as small programs like kiosks for food, newspapers, coffee shops. The cube-like screens on top of each pavilion will have the capability to move up and down almost 15m. The multimedia shows will be held on special occasions, sponsors, and media artists will be able to design spectacular experience 24 hours a day in the heart of the city. The selected pavilions will also be designed via competition between artists and architects.

We are also proposing elevated walkways that are acting as bridges to North and North East, connecting Taksim to Ataturk Kitapligi and Divan Hotel. These walkways would be integrated into the pavilions for circulation.

Gezi Park District, in time, will become a lively place like Asmalimescit, announcing the rebirth of Taksim, which will influence Istiklal Street and Sisli to be more urban, filled with people again, celebrating life in a sustainable way full of culture and art, the way it used to be. We are proposing a collective strategy to give birth to a new social city center taking advantage of its lightness after the migration of its every single function to the north and waterfront of Istanbul.

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ITU Isletme Fakultesi

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Project Date: 2019
  • Type: Competition
  • Client: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi
  • Plot Size / GFA: 3,440m2 / 12,000m2
  • Collaborators:
    • Models: Eşref Madanlar / Atölye 78 + 3D Baski Atolyesi
    • Visuals: S-A China
    • Local Architect: Harun Ekerbiçer

One of the oldest education institutions in Turkey, Istanbul Technical University, was seeking a design for the Isletme Fakultesi, Business School building. The existing 1960’s designed building is a series of masses that are spread on-site, connected with walkway masses — the program provided in brief for the new building almost required to fill the whole site. There was also a height restriction to match the height of the neighboring historical Macka campus. Between this historical Macka campus building and the new building, there is also a formerly Ottoman police station nowadays used by ITU. We wanted to avoid having a huge mass begging for attention from the main street at the same time we wanted the new campus to be iconic and exciting for its students, academics. 

After analyzing the given brief, we decided to split all admin into one single building, orient it to the site edge, which also coincides with a great view of Bosphorus. The rest of the program was catered for the students, where we thought the stacked mass of amphitheaters could efficiently work within the massing of a cylinder. The connection between the buildings is thought to be within the podium level, where the ceiling of this podium meets the topographical edges of the site; therefore, the podium seems buried underground.

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Vilnius Concert Hall

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis, Harun Ekerbiçer
  • Project Date: 2019
  • Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Client: Vilnius Municipality
  • Plot Size / GFA: 10,358m2 / 17,100m2
  • Collaborators:
    • Models: Roland Diamante

Tautos Namai, Nation House is designed as a new destination that is going to be not only a concert hall for the city of Vilnius, will also be a social building to meet, to enjoy the city views any time of the year.

Our design aligns with all transportation networks by not having a single frontage, with the advantage of the circular form. The alignment of the main foyer is allowing the concert crowd to enjoy the panoramic view of Tauras Park and the rest of the city. This foyer is a linear space, pointing towards the Gediminas Tower, which is the landmark of Vilnius.

Two concert halls are also accompanied by an additional stage outside the building – by a shared platform on rail that is able to slide out of the building, allowing outdoor concerts to happen in Tauras Park. This will increase the impact of the concert hall and let it spread to the city.

The restaurant and cafe spaces are facing the historical city center. Terraces are integrated into the design for an amazing experience in good weather days of Vilnius, letting ticketed crowd also to go out for fresh air during the performances.

We have observed incredibly interesting public-use of the Tauros Park in all seasons of Vilnius. We believe our design will take benefit of this meeting point and integrate the crowd to have classical music as part of their daily lives, enjoying the outdoor performances unlike any other city in the world, making Vilnius a classic music capital for the world.

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Dubai Creek Harbour Mosque

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Project Date: 2018
  • Competition Entry: Emaar Iconic Mosque Competition

Mountains and caves of Makkah are very strong part of the Islamic culture. They take place in Qoran and Hajj rituals as the physical environment heavily. Dubai is a very flat city, we thought it would be appropriate to introduce the most special mosque of Dubai to be almost like part of the topography, as a mountain. The brief was asking for an Iconic Mosque for Dubai Creek Harbour, our answer to this iconicity became a pure concrete shell forming a simple hill – the silhouette of a mosque.

In order to meet the capacity of the mosque asked in the brief, we maximized the footprint of the building to provide full use of site and rotated only the facade of the building towards Mecca instead of the building footprint. By doing this, we have realised the building itself had an ornament value as a whole. Instead of introducing a separate minaret and dome, we have aimed to morph the whole building into one single object while keeping the spatial qualities and silhouette of a traditional mosque.


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Durham Hub

  • Team: Aras Burak, İdil Kantarcı, Jale Sarı
  • Project Date: 2017
  • Competition Entry: Design Leadership Council, Perkins+Will
  • BUA: 45,000m2

Education is not only about gathering knowledge. It is also about developing awareness for social justice by setting up a base for dialogue between people with different social background, experience and values in life. Durham is a city of education, the site is placed between the three major research universities; Duke University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where a young, vibrant community exist.

The driving force of the project is to create a model for the new developments in the American cities with an efficient land use by promoting density, with indeterminate space frame, allowing future change take place easily within. The design is a city square with a third dimension. The city building – the urban room is a mix-use building catered for millennials. Through robust programmable public space and ambitious educational & partnership initiatives, the institution becomes an active participant in the region – attracting wider interest for its iconic urban interior. Building also accommodates some program of the Research Triangle Park.

A semi-outdoor urban room is created by folding up the typical building stock of in the city by literally copying the ratios of an already functioning police station on site as the first base unit for the development. In summer, south facing aperture fills the void with natural light and for the darker winter days, the illuminated zone becomes an inviting figure in the cityscape attracting the flow of people from city.

Live-work and the co-working spaces face inwards and the living spaces face outside while the top and bottom serve as shared spaces functioning as lobby, multipurpose space, exhibition hall. Supermarket at the ground floor assures the activation while a library, public pool, gym, retail and f&b attract public on the top as anchors that will become destination for not only the occupants of the building but the Durham citizens as well where they can enjoy 360 degree Durham view.

Using prefabricated construction methodologies and applications to build Urban Room allows the designers to integrate new innovations and technologies to the design in different locations. The essential benefit of using prefabricated design in Durham is to reduce potential ecological impacts on the site. Choosing an offsite construction technique helps creating a seamless transition from designing and manufacturing in controlled environments to the site for a quick assembly. This controlled environments provides an optimum storage for local materials to be stored, used and get recycled.

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Kepenek Masterplan

  • Team: Harun Ekerbiçer, Aras Burak, Pinar Özbilen Ekerbiçer, İdil Kantarcı
  • Project Date: 2017
  • Client: Toplu Konut Idaresi
  • Plot Size / GFA: 299,000m2 / 83,296m2
  • Collaborators:
    • Models: Eşref Madanlar / Atölye 78
    • Animation: Sachin Joshi

In the countryside of southeastern Turkey, we have proposed to have a network of neighborhoods that are interconnected via pedestrian walkways uninterrupted by vehicular traffic. The branching arrangement of clusters that are made of twenty, thirty townhouses in their intersections, form meeting points for the population within the Kepenek Masterplan. The central node includes the shopping district and also serves as a viewing deck for the inhabitants, providing a great view of mountains of Kepenek, Mus. The competition entry was submitted to Toplu Konut Idaresi, TOKI Turkey and was not awarded in 2017.

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Bandirma Park

  • Building Office: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2017
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Balıkesir / Turkey

Bandirma Park will become an iconic development  that accommodates design students, professionals and host temporary pavilions, sponsored events. The masterplan is at the same time aiming to create a weekend destination for the city to socialize.

As you approach using the ferry from İstanbul to Bandırma, you will start seeing the tip of the convention hall. And as you get closer, on the top of this beautiful hill you will see the silhouette of all of the buildings. We have aimed to create this unique experience through architecture by maximizing the negative space in the buildings that will not count as part of floor area. While we do this, each building started have its own courtyard, its own atrium that becomes a pocket in the park experience – almost like a cave. The iconic character of the buildings is to an extreme extend that 5 star hotel is hosted within a pentagon shaped plan and the four star hotel is located within a rectangular plan.

We were astonished by the beauty of the existing landscape so we wanted to keep our interference to minimum. Apart for a network of walkways to ensure the park is secure and easy to navigate through, the landscape is proposed to remain untouched. On further stages of the project, the ruins of the military buildings can be carefully cleaned up and these spaces can become outdoor cafes, pop up stores. The ruins would be developed by the designers that occupy the buildings following a competition phase every year. Which will allow us to have a richer spatial experience within the park, not dictated by one group of designers only.

To keep our interference with the preserved zone to minimum, we proposed a local market like tent built on cables that run from the centre of the park to each building within the masterplan, for semi-shaded space above the exposed ruins. The edges of the site is occupied with the buildings forming a circular path around the hill which can potentially turn into a full circle development in the future allowing the ring road to meet Marmara Sea. All back of house and vehicular access is located at the close proximity to the existing road and the central part of the park is reserved for pedestrians.

The retail space is proposed to have three types. First being the permanent retail space below the 5 star hotel, second as the spilling out towards the central – transitional kiosks in the park and the third as the temporary cafes, pop-up shops within the listed buildings. The mall is located under the five star hotel and is a semi-indoor space opening towards the centre of the park like a castle bridge.

Bandirma Park has the flexibility to expand, by adding in-between structures in the near future because of the necklace like arrangement of buildings around the central point of the park.

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Kirsehir Planetarium

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Local Architect: Elif Demir
  • Date: 2016
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Kırşehir / Turkey



Ground floor journey

The internal organization and the look of the Cacebey Medresesi in Kirsehir was the nucleus for the design of our Planetarium project. Cacabey is made out of different components expressed on the exterior, forming one single building. These components are taken to the new site and are re-defined programmatically as the entrance, ticket hall, observation hall, projection room and the library for the planetarium. They are spread within a sequence on the given site with no sense of directionality or given overall form to the building. The only defining principle of the sequence was where the journey starts and ends.

The center points of the components are connected with sheer walls creating a necklace which define and frame the interior for the ground level – not letting the daylight in at all. The second floor sits above all, like an egg-tray fixing the components into their position, acting as the roof terrace for the building. All the program requiring daylight is located at the second level.


Ground floor and the landscape

The roof terrace (third level) is planned as a 24/7 observation deck for the public use in the form of a amphitheater, as a semi-public space – which has its own spiral staircase letting public skip the ground floor and access the roof immediately anytime of the day. Walls frame the terrace intentionally letting only the observation of the sky.


Basement, Second Floor, First Floor and the Terrace

Second Floor plan

The facade is made by a single translucent component that repeats in two directions via operation of flipping, wrapping the entire second floor. This translucent component would allow daylight to diffuse into the classrooms and offices at the second floor. It would also allow the components forming the building to be expressed on the facade by their shadows. The inhabitable, deep steel frame forms the structure of this level.

The vast landscape against the tiny building given in the brief forced us to think about the landscape as a topographical element that stretches between the edge of the building and the edge of the site. We did not want to ruin this landscape with a car park at the ground level therefore the fabric like landscape bulges at the entrance of the underground car park. This hill like situation allows public to experience the building in different perspectives including the view that hints the presence of a secret public space, the terrace above the building.

Kirsehir Planetarium, with its ripples of landscape as echoes of its building boundary is designed to be a brand new public space that connects the new mosque with the new cultural center and the rest of the city as a cultural public plaza for Kırşehir.

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  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2016
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

Spanscraper connects Europe to Asia.

The highest value of the land in Istanbul is right next to the Bosphorus. Therefore Spanscraper responds to the demand by its 220m height and 2km span as a new skyscraper typology.

Instead of proposing an isolated luxurious residential, leisure programmed building as a skyscraper, we are interested in creating an urban structure that spans between the Europe and Asia. The Spanscraper acts as a transportation hub for Istanbul, right next to the existing Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in Istanbul connecting Beykoz to Hisarustu district.

City’s need for the new bridge is the main driving force behind the idea of the Spanscraper. Instead of building a new bridge in north where the last truly green zone of Istanbul is – which is the current proposal under construction as we are submitting this project – we propose to use the urban fabric we already have in a denser way using a site right next to the existing bridge by choosing a site near the existing Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Commonly referred as the 2nd Bridge).

The Spanscraper hosts two ferry terminals at the two ends of the building where the footprint corresponds with the water and two levels of highway bridge in two opposite directions, a train station level and an airport at 220m height. Six elevator shafts uninterruptedly runs between the ferry terminal, the bus stop, train station and the airport in different levels.


Form of the tower starts from the narrow edge and gets wider to the top of the building where the runway for the airport is located. The front of the building is flat as the face of the building towards the historical city. The decision of the front vs. back face is intentional for marking the end of the urban fabric in the form of a wall for Istanbul via Spanscraper. The front face also acts as an information screen for the city where announcements can be made and mourning, celebrations can be projected. The thin bottom edge of the tower creates a pleasing vista for the bank of the Bosphorus when one looks up despite the incredible density building hosts.

The division under the driveway is reserved for the leisure purpose, the other layer between driveway and the train station is dedicated to the residential and the final chunk of building between the railway and the airport is reserved for the wider floorplates like the offices and the indoor entertainment, cultural / shared activities of the city.

The modern Istanbul has been in two parts for more than a century. The dense inhabitation of the spanning structure between Europe and Asia will mean a true connection between the Europe and Asia for the first time and making this connection as dense as possible in the form of the skyscraper will result as the invention of a new typology.

The main artery of the city spanning between two continents would become a valuable piece of infrastructure, the building would act as a city and this is the direction we should be pushing skyscrapers towards for the future.

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Lamerwood House

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2015
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Hertfordshire / UK

The brief asked the competitors to rethink what a beautiful house is. We were not interested in designing a precious and pretty object. Therefore we only focussed on forming a machine that is built around the very interesting brief provided by the client. The building is shaped around the elevating platform  – taken as a gravitational point for the program of the building. Rooms are in equal distance to the moving platform that connects every floor of the building and even extends out as a watch tower allowing the violation of height restriction seamlessly. Mancave of the owner has it’s own entrance and is not buried underground. Instead, mancave wraps around the house defining its boundary.

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Obama Center

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2015
  • Type: Competition (1st Prize)
  • Location: Chicago, IL / USA

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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Guggenheim Helsinki

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2014
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Helsinki / Finland

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 opening to the harbour and the park next to the museum site.

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Hacienda Hills

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2014
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA / USA


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

  1. Sunken
  2. Sunken with Scoring
  3. Wrapping
  4. Soil Lock
  5. Scoring


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

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Los Angeles Office

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2013
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA / USA

Architecture office located on Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles. Building contains two atriums, one for confidential use, the other for public / display for guests. The office is designed as a 24 hours working space, with high ceilings and warehouse like spatial quality. Its large scale is unusual for its category however the workspace is extremely flexible.


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La Primavera

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2013
  • Type: Private Commission
  • 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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  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2013
  • Type: Private Commision
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

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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Cezmi Or

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2013
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey

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  • Kurbagalidere Masterplan - Book

Kurbagalidere Masterplan

  • Team: Aras Burak, Elif Demir
  • Date: 2013
  • Type: Competition
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

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 Headquarters

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2013 – ongoing
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

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Pfizer Modern Art

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2013 – ongoing
  • Type: Private Commision
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

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Dogus Tower

  • Team: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
  • Date: 2012
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey

Office tower designed as merging volumes, leaning towards the Nisbetiye Caddesi. Building is designed as a media headquarter in a vertical arrangement.




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Kadigil Theatre

  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Date: 2012
  • Type: Private Commission
  • Client: Saliha Sera Kadigil
  • Location: Istanbul / Turkey


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Camlica Mosque

  • Team: Aras Burak, Elif Demir
  • Date: 2012
  • Type: Competition

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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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.




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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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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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.


Mont Beauvais

for more information check the project website, montbeauvais.blogspot.com

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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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Casa a Napoli

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



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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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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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Urban Room

Partners in Charge: Aras Burak, Aris Kozmidis
Structural Engineer: Scobie Alvis (Hyder)
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.

Yalikavak House

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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.


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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West Silvertown Hub


  • Team: Aras Burak
  • Directors: Jonathan Dawes, Masashi Kajita (University of East London)
  • Date: 2006 – 2007
  • Type: Academic
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Structural Consultant: Scobie Alvis

Caddebostan House