The municipality of Arnavutköy, in the northwest of Istanbul and bordering the Black Sea, holds crucial drinking water reservoirs for the Istanbul metropolitan region. This area is largely agrarian. But as the city advances, tension is growing between ecological interests and ongoing urbanization. The challenge is to incorporate urban developments in the existing productive landscape.

the challenge in Arnavutköy
In 2011 the IABR set up the Atelier Istanbul together with the municipality of Arnavutköy. The Atelier first developed a Strategic Vision and Action Plan. An international team worked on the assignment in a multidisciplinary way involving every layer of government in the effort. The core design team consists of H+N+S Landscape Architects from Holland and 51N4E and AWB from Belgium.

Atelier Istanbul

Joachim Declerck (AWB), mayor Ahmet Hasim Baltaci and Freek Persyn (51N4E)

The problems that Arnavutköy faces are not unique. All around the world the menacing imbalance between ecology and urbanisation is a problem facing many metropolitan regions. The team is therefore working on a local solution that can also serve as an example for other municipalities in the north of Istanbul.

from strategy to implementation
The Strategic Plan laid the foundation for the sustainable development of Arnavutköy. This plan was then further elaborated into an Action Plan and designs for two concrete pilot projects, all presented at the main exhibition of the 5th IABR: 5th IABR: Making City. Subsequently, the projects were further developed in 2012 and then presented in the exhibition Making City Istanbul opening in October at the Istanbul Modern, as part of the 1st Istanbul Design Biennial.

Closing the Water Cycle

The pilot projects developed by the IABR Atelier Istanbul have been hailed as an unqualified success. Flood protection will be built along a section of the flood-prone Bolluça River, simultaneously creating an urban park and an ‘eco-corridor’. Designed by the Dutch H+N+S LandscapeArchitects and the Belgian design office 51N4E, the projects will introduce Dutch hydraulic expertise and eco-engineering to shape a more sustainable future for Istanbul.

IABR–Atelier Istanbul: Arnavutköy

commissioned by IABR and Municipality of Arnavutköy
5th IABR Local Curator: Asu Aksoy
Research by design: 51N4E and H+N+S
Coordination: Architecture Workroom Brussels

Animation by Tungsten Studio

local curator
Asu Aksoy (member of the 5th IABR: Making City Curator Team, Associate Professor at Bilgi University Istanbul)
Project coordination
IABR–Marieke Francke (Head of R&D) and Municipality of Arnavutköy– Gülnür Kadayifçi (head of planning)
design team
Architecture Workroom Brussels, H+N+S Landscape Architects and 51N4E

The Atelier Istanbul is a collaboration of IABR and the Municipality of Arnavutköy, directed by George Brugmans. Parties involved are the Istanbul Metropolitan Region Authority (including the Istanbul Metropolitan Planning Office), the national government of Turkey, ISKI water services department and other administrative authorities, NL Agency. Test Site Istanbul is funded by the Netherlands Architecture Fund.