In the Middle East and North Africa, although it’s still possible to shop in the slow, traditional way – to buy fresh food from the butchery, the dairy and the bakery – it is sadly becoming less common. This is especially true in the big cities, where people live high-flying lifestyles and prefer one-stop-shopping. Izmir in Turkey lies somewhere in-between these two extremes.
With a population of nearly 4 million, the Aegaen city is a thriving metropolis and a holiday destination but people still make the effort to spend quality time together. To capitalize on this and promote some kind of outdoor engagement, Tabanlioglu Architects has designed the new Asmaçatı Shopping Center as a modern gazebo covered not in real green ivy, but a striking metal roof featuring leafy cutouts.
Almost the entire shopping complex is covered in this mesh, creating a semi-open complex infused with light and ventilation permitted by the cover. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not sold on massive shopping complexes, but if they must exist, then Asmaçatı Shopping Center is the best worst option.
The 22,763 square meter facility features 18 boutique stores and restaurants, all of which are organized around a large hypermarket, but the greatest emphasis has been placed on socializing. In addition to coffee shops and restaurants, the complex boasts a large open-air courtyard and several planters to ensure a comfortable microclimate even during humid summers.
Not only does the gazebo form reference traditional design and culture, but it also keeps shoppers cool and mitigates excess solar gain, thereby reducing the energy load that might otherwise be required to cool a building this size.
One of Turkey’s most prolific design firms, Tabanlioglu hopes that their arbor-centric design will encourage similar developments that place aesthetics and sustainability ahead of economic gain. They have made an effort to harmonize the natural and built environment within the urban texture, and to provide a space where people from all demographics will enjoy spending time.
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