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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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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.