Architecture - Landscape - Civil engineering

Disaster prevention and education center
Centre de prévention des catastrophes naturelles
Istanbul / Turkey

Thyssen Krupp Elevator


Hiromi Kashiwagi : Space designer 

Bertrand Franqueville : Graphiste

«Situated close to one of the most sensitive fault lines of the planet, the Disaster Prevention Centre is a space of life and of watch. The “WATCHING VILLAGE” integrates the local and global dynamics of our environment. This way the site will be characterised following the circumstances. 5 spatial dimensions are explored: 1 “geographical garden”, 2 “geographical network”, 3 “geographical horizons”, 4 “geographical village”, 5 “geographical skyline”.

SUBURBAN CONTEXT: “geographical garden”: It is a normal place of life along a small stream. In the Bakirköy district it is a space that is open to everyone: a garden where families and couples come to stroll. Children play. The gardeners are busy in the “Bostans”. It is the start of the project with daily life. The attention to natural phenomena is related to the quality of our reflexes in contact with an unpredictable reality. It is with this direct contact with nature that our understanding develops, even for catastrophes. This is why we propose that the origin of this site should be a garden.

Here, local life is concretised in the continuity of a constellation of little constructions. They follow the stream along the Ayamama Creek in the North-East – South-West direction of the URBAN AGRICULTURE of the “Bostans”. An “urban milky way” is thus developed towards the sea. This living axis, colonised by daily life, crosses in the direction North-South, an urbanisation of “XXL” constructions which, in contact with the Airport, testify the growth of the international city. It also crosses, and in depth, the energy of the earth that tells us of the origin of the planet and of the universe.

The proposition is made for this intersection of natural and human environments and the multiple measures that they generate. It consists of a constellation of thematic pavilions that liaise with a garden. It is the scale of normal and daily life. It asserts itself through the geographical organisation of its networks, the conscience and the sharing of the planetary dimensions of the world that we live in. This crossroads of the forces and flows, that constitute the history of the town, whether it is geological or human, marks a strategic site. Here, the attention and the monitoring of our environment are made through a simultaneous awareness of gardens and planes.

PLANET CONTEXT: “geographical network” 2.2/3, 2.6/8,: Prevention calls for our attention, and our capacity to stock and diffuse information. The spatial organisation could be compared to a “planetary carpet” of which the stitches, nodes and threads constitute a weave of multiple orientated fibres that are crossed by information networks. At the heart of the garden the “NEWS ROOM” receives, translates, archives and organises the information. It keeps the MASTER PLAN of the “geographical village” up to date. Within the “central void”, a vital component of the site, the collected information is received and broadcasted. It is an available space which evolves according to the circumstances with the mobility of its cupola.

INVERTED PLANETARIUM CONCEPT: “geographic horizons” 1.1/2 3.1, 4.1/3: Every day it is an open space associated with the gardens. In the centre of the space a thin sheet of black water forms a mirror… it reflects the projections of the cupola that is inundated by the planet’s energies. In real time, seismographs, interferometers, and submarine robots trace the luminous print of earthly waves on the grid of the peripheral dial. It is an “inverted planetarium”, orientated towards the Earth. Such as the radio telescopes that trap the neutrinos filtered in the depth of the Earth, it makes the planetary movements visible. When the planetarium is working, the mirror of water empties into the cistern. The space becomes a place for study and observation. During alert periods it is a space for meetings and exchanges. It broadcasts emergency plans, orders, guides and strategic messages.

LOCAL CONTEXT: “geographical village”: The “geographical village” is a refuge, “a carpet”. Here is situated the central void “geographical mirror”, where the unpredictable world events are inscribed in real time. There is the inflexible weave of the “geographical network”, the rays of which bend under the influence of near and far away flows. “The geographical carpet” is constituted of an infinite topology of threads, nodes, surfaces and patterns. These components form a spatial and temporal system that functions smoothly, adapted to the circumstances of life and its everyday happenings: N : normal life, E : Training and tests, A : Alert, P : Post disaster (plan N°3-1.1 to 3-1.5) They include:

a/ the “fringes of the carpet” 3-1.1: Vehicles ensure exchanges on the periphery.

b/ the “geographical plots” 5.3: They examine the soils: “Bostan” research area, “Bostan garden restaurant” and urban food security area, recycling of post-disaster waste, anti-liquefaction soil stability, training of open air relief missions, waste ground “open air shelter”..

c/ the “geographical networks” 5.8 are installed on the longer strip plots: Here we test prototypes for water treatment, biological toilets, and apparatus for energy autonomy. (Solar energy is collected by the roofs of the pavilions). Under the planetarium the cistern collects irrigation and fire prevention water. The Master plan of the “geographical village” provides for, in dialogue with the “Disaster Prevention Master Plan” of the town, different systems for the alimentation and distribution in the event of a catastrophe, as for example: the implementation of a pumping system of sea water via the canal.

d/ the “geographical shelters” 4.2: It concerns prototype tests. A “refugee quarter” can test here an economic and social organisation through the integration by the Master Plan of temporary demountable functions such as a post office, a bank, a school, and a dispensary. The access points to the mains that are set up in the technical plots” are tested here: (latrines, washing machines, drinking water, treatment of waste water, energies …..

e/ the “geographical works” 3.1 to 3.10: It consists of natural phenomena and training spaces. They are inserted between the meeting and conference rooms. Occupied by complex machinery the works are the principal closed volumes of the site. They are accessible at their upper levels by the ramp and by small mobile gangways. The circuit offers a succession of training possibilities. It allows a group to concentrate on a program in a set time (E). At the end of the visit lifts and lateral stairways offer shortcuts for a rapid evacuation of the public that are in contact with the reception zone of the ramp and the evaluation installations. The highest point of the ramp opens onto a terrace with a tea room, a refuge and a heliport (E/A). The 4% helicoidal ramp promenade, accessible to service vehicles is an “internal road between earth and sky”. It is where “scenic machinery accommodates temporary installations that are moved by the travelling crane. On either side of the ramp the information grids integrate the diode beams for the scenographies, the urgent messages, or, orientated towards the planetarium, they inscribe in real time the paths of the planets (E/N/A).

f/ the “space between”: 5.1 Certain plots or pavilions could be used by independent associations: research laboratories for example. It is a small urban centre constituted by gardens and heterogeneous buildings. Special functions are separated by “the clearance and tolerance” left between the buildings. The porosity of the space incites a daily use of the gardens. These are built entities that are coherent and autonomous in their structures and their operation, but also independent in their reactions to earthquake movements.

BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY CONCEPT: “geographical skyline” 5.1, 5.2: Between the city and the airport the geographical village associates the movements of its cupola with the skyline of Istanbul. The organisation of the buildings is seen as a group of thematic pavilions in a garden. Like a cellular body capable of regenerating itself, it is an organic whole of which the different components are capable of transforming themselves as and when situations and research evolve. In expressing the contact with the near and far away world the facades constitute an open system. The architectural presence of the site is concentrated or widens following the variable manifestation of events and flows. The movements of the Earth are seen for what they are.

The watching village, by extending worldwide carpet horizons, nurtures our secret garden»