emre_arolat_bergama_cultural_center
Bergama Cultural Center, 2010

Izmir, Turkey

Today, two different images exist together in Bergama. One of them is the ancient city of Pergamum that is exhibited in the Berlin Museum including the Pergamum temple. The acropolis that have been the capitol for Pergamum Kingdom which has ruled between B.C 3-1 centuries,presents the physical appearance of a city culture built upon a rooted civilization. In this settlement that religious, administrative,cultural and commercial functions intertwine, buildings are articulated by coming side by side to each other and the voids in between make up the rich public areas.The scale of the ancient theater which is considered bulky even to this day, gives an idea about the social and cultural life in the city. The ancient city evoke admiration even to this day with its strong building gramer and its monumental posture. The Pergamum that is seen looking downward the Acropolis is consists of only a pastoral texture. The few storey typical formation that can be rarely seen in other towns of Turkey, started yielding itself to apartments. The only thing that delineates the city image in Pergamum is the Cumhuriyet Avenue which holds a few public buildings. The commercial activity in the city concentrates on that avenue and the one that is paralel to it; Kaymakam Kemal Bey Avenue. At the end of the avenue is a small forest and a stadium.

Except these everything else seems a appearance of the pastoral existence. Apart from the old two cinemas, small theater and a library, there is nothing related to the cultural life in the town.Can some sort of a relationship form between the Acropolis and Pergamum? The question that becomes more naive when repeated, waits for the description of a place that will host Pergamum’s cultural life without hesitating to be affected by the memory that the ground holds rather than creating a short circuit between two different cultures. The area that belong to the cultural center that is going to be built to the town, is across a park that the people of Pergamum use often.The commerce that takes place along the Cumhuriyet Avenue continues with the rambling stores that intrude the pedestrian walkways. These stores that continue along the three edges of this area, seem to have made an impression on the memory of the city with their human scale and uninhibited existence. To

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sustain the commercial life that exists here and at the same time to not displace the tradesman appears to be a triangulation point. The surmise that the culture will be enticing and sustainable from the moment it meets the consumption mechanism and that the allure will be lost at the point where the sophistication becomes too dominant or the depth will be lost where the consumption becomes too dominant, is not disregarded and payed much attention to.

The commercial units along the Cumhuriyet Avenue recede a step back to keep the elevation alignment alongside the avenue and create a shaded arcade. This arcade creates an interior space that seems like a courtyard by surrounding the area from three sides. The stores which work both ways bring life into the courtyard. These three masses placed in the courtyard generate the spaces concentrated with cultural activities like the library, cinemas and theater. These masses which rise from the arcade and become visible from the avenue, represent their functions with their strong geometries and reveal rich spaces open for public use in the voids generated between each other .

The park across the road is a widely used public space.This park that sits higher than the ground level of the city is connected to the city with the green bridge that descends first to the level of the open air cinema,cafe and lounge spaces and then into the courtyard. The arcade that is formed beneath the bridge, connects the two avenues in the ground elevations by creating a protected walkway. The passage between the main masses which is formed by the walls that restricts the parking lot, creates an alternative transition that connects the two avenues as well as being used as an information-communication wall and an exhibition road. The cafes and the sitting areas in the courtyard by being lounge spaces for the cinema and the multi-purpose room,carry the potential to enrich the daily life of Pergamum. With all of these qualities, Pergamum Cultural center, breaks the image of the ‘cultural center’ that fails to form a relationship to the citizens, and makes itself a citizen of Pergamum.






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