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The Heroes Monument of Kaş

Location: Kaş, Antalya, Turkey
Project Team: Osman Ural, Ayşegül Ural, Yasemin Elmas

The Heroes Monument of Kaş provides a unique opportunity for the town to not only pay respect to soldiers who went above and beyond to preserve their homeland, but to activate, connect, and enhance existing circulation flows by providing a public space that could potentially transform the marina from a piece of infrastructure to an attractive waterfront for many peoples to interact with. It is because of this that the motivation for the proposal of this memorial should be to create a multifunctional human scale intervention that is designed around the experience of the user.

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The essence of Kaş can be characterized as a quiet seaside town nestled into the ancient dramatic and sweeping topography of its Mediterranean environment. Its structure is made up of old buildings with wooden bay windows that frame narrow streets scented with jasmine flowers that spreads out into a periphery with trees and vegetation penetrating the town from the countryside. Spread throughout the town and its surroundings are also historical artifacts that allow for the inhabitants of the past to communicate to the present, making a memorial to the heroes an appropriate addition to the urban fabric of Kaş. The project site itself exists along the waterfront of the Kaş Municipal Yacht Harbor, serving many types of transport boats for primarily touristic purposes.

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The project area is located at the crossroads of three primary arteries: Atatürk Bulvari, Süleyman Sandıkçı Sokak / Hükümet Caddesi, and Necipbey Caddesi.  These circulation arteries have along them a variety of nodes that help generate activity, such as the municipality building, the Süleyman Çavuş Mosque, the district governorship, and the ancient amphitheater of Antiphellos. These arteries feed into and help activate the Cumhuriyet Meydanı, a fluid-like organic shaped public plaza partially framed by shops and restaurants that take advantage of the high volume traffic of pedestrians traveling through the town. Within this space floats public goods such as the Atatürk Sculpture, benches, and trees for shading.

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Another issue that is creating a divide between the Cumhuriyet Meydanı and the Kaş yacht harbor involves a large contrast between the amount of greenery found within these two spaces. Because the harbor has been constructed with a permanent concrete structure, and has no surface level access to soil, the space is disconnected to the green network of the town and its environment. This is a problem because this paradigm further increases the separation between the town and the waterfront.
A solution towards removing this divide would be to extend the green network of the town into the project area of the memorial.

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Increasing the amount of green surface around the memorial will not only connect the waterfront to the green network, but it will also make the harbor area more attractive to inhabit and walk through, activating the harbor as a public space even further. Another advantage for implementing greenery into the project area is that as of now, the lack of vegetation is allowing for a more intense heat effect around the harbor, making it harder for pedestrians to use and enjoy, especially during hot days and dense crowds of people. It is also important that the vegetation used around the harbor should be native species that can withstand the local climate.

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A cypress tree is selected to embody the qualities used to symbolize the Tree of Life. With its strong trunk, its spread out roots underneath the soil, and its leaves reaching for the heavens, the characteristics of the cypress tree is known to symbolize the trinity of birth, life, and death. It is known to be a very durable evergreen tree that is endemic to the region, making it local to the environment, while it also produces an oil which gives off a soothing and refreshing aroma. The Tree of Life, by destiny, were designated to be protected by both Mustafa Ertuğrul Aker and Yusuf Ziya Erdil. Both of their lives led to the service of their fellow countrymen as protectors, creating a defensive line around the perimeter of the tree. The physical manifestation of this protection is The Path of Reverence, which spirals around the Tree of Life, creating a protective shield that will safeguard the health and safety of the tree. 

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The project site is connected to the green network of Kaş, bringing in much needed groundcover to the bald and concrete hardscape of the harbor. To maintain this amount of greenery, there is a minimum amount of soil needed to maintain it. To support this much soil, a supportive border is needed around it. This structure will also allow for visitors to freely sit next to the new greenspace. The Tree of Life is planted at the center of the project site, and will act as the focal point for the memorial. To support this tree, additional soil is needed so that the greenspace can maintain the root network underneath the tree. It also gives the harbor a natural topographic element, as the city center and the Cumhuriyet Square are relatively flat. To improve circulation around the memorial, the green space is reduced to allow for comfortable movement for visitors of the site. The circular form connects the memorial to the narrative of our heroes as a protective perimeter for the Tree of Life.

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The project site is connected to the green network of Kaş, bringing in much needed groundcover to the bald and concrete hardscape of the harbor. To maintain this amount of greenery, there is a minimum amount of soil needed to maintain it. To support this much soil, a supportive border is needed around it. This structure will also allow for visitors to freely sit next to the new greenspace. The Tree of Life is planted at the center of the project site, and will act as the focal point for the memorial. To support this tree, additional soil is needed so that the greenspace can maintain the root network underneath the tree. It also gives the harbor a natural topographic element, as the city center and the Cumhuriyet Square are relatively flat. To improve circulation around the memorial, the green space is reduced to allow for comfortable movement for visitors of the site. The circular form connects the memorial to the narrative of our heroes as a protective perimeter for the Tree of Life.

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