Program: Currently in the proposal stage, this project was the first-prize winner of the 2011 ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award. The proposal calls for a single-story, 65,660-square-foot training facility for Istanbul's disaster responders. The plan—which is configured like a large, collapsed donut that encircles an approximately 93,600-square-foot interior park—includes spaces for fire-prevention training, earthquake exercises, nuclear disaster simulation, and first-aid training, along with a 4-D video display room and a smoke maze room. Part technical school and part museum, the center will also offer educational programs to teach students and the public about disaster preparation. A library, an exhibition hall, a conference hall, a planetarium, and a café round out the planned spaces.
Design Concept and Solution: The proposed site is located outside the city center, in a neighborhood populated by large office buildings, hotels, and shopping malls. Instead of competing with all the high rises, the architects opted to ignore them, and they conceived the space as a kind of long, flat house. The design calls for a steel-column and steel-grid structure; inside, the main corridor will be a large loop—on the scale of an athletic track—lined with podlike classroom and training spaces. In a contemporary, more utilitarian riff on Istanbul's many domes, each pod will be enclosed with a gently sloping, unadorned dome. The parts of the roof that receive the most sun will be fitted with solar panels. Glass brise-soleils will hang over the exterior facade, and on the interior garden side, canopies will provide shade, bolstered by dense plantings of trees. Though the architects decided on a flat design, they don't want the center to be completely invisible in its surroundings: the park will feature a fountain with water shooting above the roof line to announce the site from a distance.