A Design Acropolis

The competition aimed to explore the role of the Bandirma Design Park in the regional transformation of the spatial quality of the city of Bandirma. The project site, suggested a strong opportunity to provide a new and alternative open public space within the dense fabric of the city through the future post-industrial transformation of the region. In this framework, the challenge was to design an open milieu for generating research and development, experiencing and experimenting space and design, sharing and transferring the universal design knowledge and conception through direct involvement of the public. The existing architectural heritage and the unique characteristics of the natural landscape within the site was expected to be a valuable ground for conceiving a vital environment for design and research.


As Bandirma extends to the South and the West with residential neighborhoods, the park becomes the pivotal point where new and old quarters, residential and institutional life meet. The new urban park plays an ambivalent role at different scales. It provides space for open-air leisure and everyday services, while at the territorial scale, the park is also a condensed aggregation of functions which are expected to attract visitors from all around the country.  The main goal of the competition was to create a vibrant cultural centre. With our proposal, we tried to preserve its emptiness as much as possible, being a value in itself for a city that is growing this fast. A plenum rather than a void, a link between the existing city and the new residential areas, where the new design school will strengthen the existing topographical condition at its uppermost place, as a post-industrial kind of acropolis.

The retail space, as a modern day propileia, gently brings people up the hill. The green belt wraps the highway and negotiate the transition to the park from the surrounding neighbourhoods. The retail floors open freely to the forest, creating small plazas facing South along the slope. For a pleasant break from the shopping, or to check out the latest products of the design institute. A system of ramps and green roofs intersects at different levels, giving many occasions of crossing and blending programs and atmospheres into each other. The hotels are separate entities but create a dialogue with the landscaped roof cutting out a circular plaza with view towards the sea.

At the end of the rising promenade, the design institute opens its circular facade to the main boulevard, encouraging visitors to hang out by the protected portico and sloping square.  The lobby of the institute organizes the most public functions, welcoming visitors in a playful environment where main hall, library, bar and flexible spaces merge along the curving walls. The courtyard of the institute is its central core where different activities find a common ground, protected from strong winds, and where confrontation can happen. The ruined warehouses are re purposed with minimal interventions to make them accessible to the public and available for temporary events and informal gatherings of the school.

The flexible warehouse, the cube, is the pivotal point of the logistical movements on site. Its modular framework can be opened and rearranged for different purposes. This multi-purpose shed provides ample space for storage while leaving a large central hall free for loading operations and large-scale fabrication.




Centrally positioned within the boulevard, the working square, is the largest paved surface on site. Limited areas of polished surface are inserted flush into the old concrete, open to spontaneous appropriation. An overhead crane running on rails parallel to the square allows moving construction materials and bulky objects. The square becomes a temporary, fully-fledged construction site for summer schools, hands-on workshops and fairs where students, professional workers and general public can share knowledge and follow construction processes up close.