True green architecture is rarely an end in itself. Many architects creating ecologically sensitive designs with a view toward sustainability have either a political underpinning, like Omar Yousef’s work, or a social motive, like Geotectura’s high-flying pieces. Israel’s Azouri brothers openly admit that their eco-tower design reflects their personal values. But design also caters to a city or country’s cultural identity, or in the case of Turkey, protest against the attempted suppression thereof.
In 1993, radical Islamists set fire to Otel Madımak, where several artists, intellectuals, writers and hotel workers were assembled for a controversial cultural event. Thirty-give people burned to death as a result, and those responsible sentenced to death. (This sentencing was reduced to life imprisonment, since the death sentence was abolished in Turkey.)
The event was seen as a conflict between secular and religious interests, and is memorialized annually on July 2nd. Calls to turn the now restored hotel into a memorial site were not heeded, but a national design competition was recently staged to create a memorial park.
“The design is focused around a central monument-square, which is made up of a series of curvilinear walls with water fountains. Writing on the walls memorializes those who lost their lives during the Sivas Massacre in 1993. The Memorial Park will also serve as a culture and arts center,” according to Bridgette Meinhold.
1/1 Architecture also incorporates native gardens, hybrid energy modules, and an easel installation for outdoor workshops, and observation terraces. All of these features are nature-centered tools that celebrate culture and free speech.
First prize was awarded to Acik Ofis Mimarlik, whose design is definitely sleek and modern, but lacks the ecological ethos valued by eco-warriors such as us.
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