Misia 15300 Houses, 2006

Bursa, Turkey

It has been rumored that the first settlements in the city of Bursa were in Tahtalı neighborhood and Çalı town, which are currently within the borders of the district of Nilüfer. The city later moved to the skirts of Uludağ, which has abundant water sources and fertile lands. It henceforth extended towards the plain, and developed in the eastward direction, and today’s city center was established. Today, the traces of Ottoman and Byzantine empires as well as the former periods can be found, and many buildings of various periods can be seen in the neighborhoods, villages and towns of the district of Nilüfer. 

However, central Nilüfer is a newly-developing region. It was one of the three historical centers of Bursa, which attained the status of metropolis in 1987. The striking aspect of this region, which is located on the western part of the city, is the impetuous and careless traces of current socio-economic strata rather than the historical fragments mentioned above. The population growth is several times higher than the average rate of Bursa. New investments, each asserting promises of becoming a center of attraction of its own kind, simultaneously condition both a structural/physical and a sociological transformation. The effects of this motion, which takes place at an incredible speed, on the urban structure are thought-provocative. For it would not be erroneous to mention the presence of a pattern which is established of typical apartment blocks, scattered sometimes side by side and sometimes in groups of three of five buildings to make a site behind walls that isolate them from the outside world, based on the peculiar habitudes, aspirations and challenges of local construction mechanisms rather than a problematization of its contextual relationship to the land they are settled in. The land, topography or environmental structures frequently whisper to the architect what is to be done. And sometimes what is not to be done. Just like in the case here…

Current practices in architecture involve acrobatic tendencies that make the harshness of sociological transformation more glaring. This preference is embodied in the ambitious disposition in the mere massive formation of certain projects, or directly in the glare of the materials used in other projects. Regardless of whether it is a shopping center, or a housing site, the “society of the spectacle” finds the returns of the demands created by architecture in the aspiring dispositions of the architects.

In the Misia 15300 Housing in Bursa, the design aims to recognize the conventional criteria of settlement culture, and to lay importance on the urban contexts, topographic structure, traffic and climate data, the antagonisms of occupation-vacancy, building-green areas, public-private spaces and the tension that may arise from these antagonisms. The data such as the current building conditions, the potentials that may be created by these conditions and the predictions of the investor on sales have been influent on the decisions of settlement and massive formation.

In the area, which is bordered by a relative secondary highway on the northern side, a rather wide and busy avenue in the southern side, and neighboring plots on the eastern and western sides, two housing blocks of 18 storeys each have been oriented northwards, to the Uludağ, in contrary to the general position of the surrounding buildings. In addition to these blocks, four linear housing blocks of 4 storeys each, formed with a rather widespread massification, were built in two duplex storeys one on another. A private garden at reasonable dimensions for the ground-floor flats, and greenifying of roofs of the 4-storey blocks by articulating in context of fifth facade aesthetics have been foreseen.

A series of commercial constructions have been positioned in the section looking at the road in the southern direction. The façade of these buildings have been made transparent as far as possible to benefit from the commercial potential of the road which is consolidated day by day. For the upper storeys, continuation of different housing units by specifying each, and use of the roofs of the commercial sections of these houses as green terraces have been planned.

The basement floors of all buildings have been designed to meet the need for both diverse service and refuge areas as well as the garage need for different functions. The garage access and pedestrian entrance-exit for the houses have been provided via the secondary road on the northern side, and those for the commercial building via the avenue on the southern side. It has been planned to greenify the ground level by isolating from vehicles as far as possible, and to provide a service road to all buildings to be used only in emergencies.