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Süleymanpaşa Municipal Center

Location: Süleymanpaşa , Tekirdağ, Turkey
Project Team: Osman Ural, Ayşegül Ural, 
Mehmet Önder Öztürk, Alex Karpov, Mehmet Ali Akçakaya

The competition required us to provide a municipality building that implements a contemporary vision of how a public building can exist on a very challenging site. Facing the Marmara Sea, one of the main motivations for this building was to provide maximum views for the maximum amount of offices. The second motivation was providing the maximum amount of recreational space which inhabitants surrounding the building are in dire need of. The third motivation was to solve the relationship between the form of the project and the massive 15 meter tall concrete wall that exists at the back of the site.

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The location of the site happens to be at the entrance to the town of Tekirdağ, and is at a crossroads between commercial and residential functions. Because of this, the original function of this site was a bus terminal that connects the city to its surrounding areas. It is because of this that the massive concrete wall exists at the back of the site, because the  bus station needed  to be flat in order to serve the buses properly. This caused a major separation problem between the residential areas and the commercial areas below that exist along the seaside. The form of the structure therefore reacts to the massive concrete wall in the back by placing supportive and non-active functions of the building in the back, and exist as a continuation of the  massive concrete wall.

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The space in between the building and the massive wall is filled up with soil in order to support a recreational green space which inhabitants near the building can use. The main entrances to the building are placed at the front, where the elevation is flat and easier to walk on. This area then becomes a hardscape that supports visitors to the municipality building, but also more commercial functions  on the entrance floor of the building. Not only does this provide a hierarchy for landscape use, but also provides the main entrance to the building in the form of a public square. This also allowed for uninterrupted views of the sea for the offices in the building.

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In terms of approaching the site, two corners are identified as main approaches to the building. One of these corners are defined by its relationship to the city center and pedestrian movement from there, and is an intersection point of other secondary streets that help support residential areas in the surrounding environment. The other corner is more defined by its approach into the city and acts as an entrance into Tekirdağ. These two dueling circulations meet each other to create a connection between the city and its periphery,  creating an axis along the flat side of the site. In order to take advantage of this discovered axis, the settlement of the building should follow this edge in order to activate it with public and commercial functions. Another advantage to this organizational scheme is to maximize distance from the closed off concrete supporting wall on the back of the site to the offices above the ground floor. Doing so also takes advantage of the sites close proximity to the sea, and gives all offices seaside views from their work-spaces.

The concrete wall in the back of the site is such a prevalent and dominating site condition that ignoring it would be detrimental to the building in both form and function. There is no other choice but to embrace the wall and integrate its relationship of the area to the design of the building itself. This is done by treating the wall as a ribbon which wraps itself around the site, is continued along the active edge, and ending in the entrance corner facing the city. This is manipulated in order to both match the maximize the use of space within the parcel, but also match the edge conditions created by the concrete wall. The ribbon effect created by placing the complimentary wall has divided the site between active and non-active zones, giving the project hierarchy and direction. The actual space created between the concrete structural walls however is now a void. This void is then re-purposed by creating a re-creative green space, and in doing so creates a buffer between the building and the concrete supporting wall. This new park will have an appeal for both visitors and people working in the offices. The park is also sloped so that people can more freely access the park from multiple sides of the site. Sloping the park also allows for program expansion area, which get sunlight and access to the outdoors without having to mix with public circulation.

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The hierarchy of program created by the green space also affects the general positioning and parametrics of the plans. The secondary wall is thickened into a volumetric space which will act as a spine containing service functions and vertical circulation throughout the building. This is done to let all offices face outwards to the sea, while spaces which are more closed or used sparingly sit in the back facing the park. This also creates a secondary buffer zone between the offices and the concrete supporting wall, and also restricts circulation to a minimum amount of space. To make the building more relatable in both the human scale and the urban, the office mass is cut into several pieces. Dividing the offices into blocks makes the scale of the offices more relatable to the surrounding urban context, but also gives hierarchy to the different types of office program within. Green roof terraces are also implemented to provide workers common meeting spaces and enjoy the view of the Marmara Sea. In the end, a government building should reflect its social service to the community it serves. This is emulated through multiple blocks of social workers coming together to make a better and stronger society - as strong as a wall!

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