Reuse projects enclose multi-dimensional works that provide the transformation of old buildings and sites whose partially or completely lost their original purpose to fulfill today’s needs.
Renovation of civil and monumental immovable properties which are important in terms of location, quality of building and cultural value, is vital for society. The built environment and spaces composed of these values come together and create the memory of society.
The preservation of cultural assets of the country is extremely important both in terms of the sustainable use of the available resources and the connection of the new generations with the past.
key ingredients and principles of a successful project
Each renovation should be handled within its own historic, sociological and economic context. The subject of intervention can be a single antiquated building, a group of structures or even a part of the city. It can be either located in an archaeological or a natural site. It is necessary to preserve the unique identities of these cultural assets, ensuring the integration of new functions and elements with the existing structure, as well as the environment they exist.
For example, Bursa Merinos Project, which was executed between 2006-2010, is the old Merinos textile factory grounds, one of the landmarks of Turkey’s industrialization process. Originally built during Turkey’s Early Republican period and opened by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on 2 February 1938, the Merinos factory was abandoned after the year 2000 and given to the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality in 2005, to be developed for cultural and creative activities. The Bursa Metropolitan Municipality has undertaken and realized this project, to give the building and its environs new functions that meet the contemporary social and cultural needs of the growing city. The Merinos Park is a 270.000 m² urban park, serves the needs of the surrounding area as well as the larger urban area. With its thousands of new and old trees, artificial lake, jogging, and cycling paths, seating areas, children’s play areas, cafe, snack bars, and other facilities, the Merinos Park is an important, centrally located recreational complex for the city of Bursa.
The former Merinos Factory building, that had lost its practical and technical functionality, constitutes the main site of this reuse project. The newly transformed Merinos Culture Center houses the following cultural facilities: A music conservatory, art galleries, art studios, library, textile and silk museums. In addition, The Atatürk Opera and Concert Hall has been designed to integrate both formally and functionally with the Merinos Culture Center and Park. It includes a 1,600-seat concert hall designed for opera, ballet and symphony orchestra performances, an 840-seat auditorium for conferences and concerts, a smaller 400-seat concert hall, a ballroom with a capacity for 1,000 people, galleries, a cafeteria and other facilities.
The complex is planned for the people of Bursa to be used through the cultural and education functions of the Bursa Municipality. The newly defined and highly flexible space created inside the old factory building has far exceeded expectations in terms of its capacity and multifunctionality. The Preservation Committee of Bursa has made a crucial decision, on the request of the architects, to declare the land of the entire settlement to be used solely for the purposes of Culture, Art, Education, and Recreation, while banning any possibility of commercially developing or constructing new buildings on the land in the future. The Merinos Park surrounding the building has been fully opened to the use of Bursa’s inhabitants.
challenges and design approach
Design, approval, and implementation processes are both demanding and time-consuming since such projects often consist of cultural assets to be preserved within the historic environment. First, there are some stages like examination, research, following that subsequent analysis and documentation. Accordingly, detailed surveying, restitution, restoration projects, and reports are required. Afterward, there is a comprehensive approval process involving various institutions, particularly the council of monuments and municipalities involved. Unlike other studies, projects and approvals may need to be renewed in case of a new finding or damages during implementation. All these require time and economic power.
Cankurtaran, one of the most historic districts of Istanbul, is known as one of the most important archaeological sites of the city. The Cankurtaran Urban Transformation Project that we have executed here consists of 49 parcels. After the expropriation of 3 parcels, among the remaining 46, there are 13 registered parcels as listed buildings. Within this framework, 33 existing parcels and 3 registered parcels, which do not have sufficient information and documents, were redesigned in accordance with the principles of contemporary urbanism and urban renewal laws. The remaining 10 registered parcels are arranged to be one by one boutique hotels. The project is not on a single parcel basis, but the whole city block is considered as a whole. 3 floors and the number of storeys defined by the current zoning plan have been preserved and the density has not been increased. The exterior of the project area and the direction of the street lying within the lot also has not been changed, only some minor regulations were required in the rear border.
The registered parcels for which restitution and restoration projects have been executed, organized together with 36 other parcels into three building groups and hotels have been realized in three different categories. In the back of the city block, a public inner courtyard has been established, which provides restaurants, cafes, tea gardens, offering various social activities. Outside, the ground floor is mainly used as a commercial space. In the planning, which is considered as a small-scale urban design project, adopts an architectural understanding that integrates the texture of the historic neighborhood without affecting the historic peninsula silhouette. The project is intended to serve as an example for the touristic and economic development of the region while preserving its historic, social, cultural values.
social and cultural significance of adaptive reuse
Reuse projects are essential to create a historic consciousness, to preserve the urban memory and sustainability, and to plan a culture-oriented future in our cities that have been constantly changing and developing. The preservation of historic urban fabric and cultural heritage plays an important role in ensuring the continuity of the common values and traditions that have been built up by societies throughout history. Unity among people strengthens the feeling of solidarity. As the settlements develop, the old industrial zones, harbors, warehouses, and factories, which have been part of the city, need to be revitalized in accordance with the fulfillment of today’s needs.
Within that context, “Restoration of the Haldun Taner Stage” project illustrates this perfectly. It is an adaptive reuse project for the Kadıköy Historic Vegetable Wholesale Warehouse, designed by Italian Architect Umberto Ferrari in 1927, currently occupied by the Istanbul City Theatres and Istanbul University State Conservatory, to be solely utilized as a modern theatre structure with regard to contemporary renovation principles and new requirements. The new Restoration Project seeks to incorporate a modern theatre and the latest stage technologies into the remaining original exterior walls and original geometry of the roof, maintaining the elevation, height and ground floor contours (which are also the legal property lines) of the historic building in accordance with the current preservation laws and zoning ordinances.
The present-day 286-seat Haldun Taner Stage is one of the most popular and widely used theatre halls in Kadıköy, however, it is operated within extremely difficult and limited opportunities. Especially stage technology, foyer areas, dressing rooms, and other technical spaces are quite inadequate and outdated. In the new project, it is expected to create a performing arts venue with the best possible facilities, a symbol for the City Theatres on the Asian side of Istanbul.
It is also anticipated to increase the number of seats, the foyer and circulation areas, the spaces of the artists and the administration as well as creating a much more advanced stage structure. In order to provide the requirements of a contemporary cultural structure and the new program without overloading the historic building and preserving its original spatial features, a basement floor is proposed for the technical spaces, storage areas, and dressing rooms. This way, it is possible to create a 460-seat Main Theater Hall, a large foyer with high ceilings, rehearsal halls, offices and sufficient circulation space in the New Haldun Taner Stage Project. Similarly, space for the orchestra pit, the stage-lift mechanism, and the downstage area are provided for the new hall in addition to a second hall with the capacity of 80 seats on the ground floor that can be used as a children’s theater.
Harmonious incorporation of the historic building’s renovation principles and the modern extension’s reuse principles are the most important design approach of the “New Haldun Taner Theater Project” to achieve a multi-dimensional restoration method integrating architectural, static, mechanical and electrical designs with special expertise projects such as stage, lighting and acoustic designs.