Prejury I

We are working on On This Earth project in this semester. First jury of this project was the key point of evolution of project so it was very important and we worked very hard actually. Firstly I wanted to talk about my project and design ideas. My strategy is framing and blocking the vista for this purpose I created a orientation pattern which contains possible alternatives. So in general sense, orientation creates different visual experiences inside the spaces or between the spaces.


My overall organization is not working with idea of orientation pattern. I could not achieve this property like in orientation diagram. Also, two space in higher levels they are so lonely and actually it is not part of the orientation which is very problematic because in this design there should not be seperated spaces. Additionally the orientation must  start in the higher levels so it is also important critique in the jury. So I will focus on topographical properties which will help me to develop new relations about the overall organization and overall orientation pattern 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 These are my ideas about orientation in general sense and specific situtations. However, in the prejury about my orientation pattern is not actually pattern because pattern is something is often done or repeated like behaviour or attitude. Actually mine is combination of very complex alternatives so it is not pattern. So I recently worked on this issue and my initial design about orientation pattern, something is much more similar and containing the initial’s relations and, I think this orientation pattern is still useful and I formed it in basic and working manner.

Critiques about my design applications is very useful for me because I had some doubts about certain things which were all discussed at the jury. Mainly form of spaces and ramps are very problematic and becoming a composition of tails.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Initial Generic Space

My initial generic space is main focus now after critiques in prejury. Of course there are some issues which needs attention. My main problem about this space is the accessing openings becomes the main frame in the space. So I should work on it, I will probably create a special form for accessing openings. Also as general sense, the spaces must work with the topography as well so it is another issue of my design.

 About my visual and oral presentation was probably bad because I was very tired and forget many things in the jury and, also general orientation pattern diagram was very confusing for prejury too.

Generally, I took very important critiques and I know specific points which I work on very hard and try to discover new things.


Islamic Architecture


Mecca and Medina is the cities of Muhammed and his followers. Kaaba is the place of rituals and the most important place in Islam. Mecca had long been a major cult site for the nomadic tribes of Arabia and attracting religious pilgrim to the Kaaba which has certain significant properties for Islam religion such as a cubical granite house with many idols including a mysterious black meteorite. Also surrounding court of Kaaba was rebuilt over the centuries and represents the unity of faithful. Prophet Muhammed forced to leave Mecca in 622, spent ten years in exile in Medina where refined his new religion. Muhammed directly influenced the transformation of his own house in Medina into the new’s religion first congregational mosque, ‘’place of prostration’’. Muhammed encouraged ascetic attitudes in architecture with using vernacular methods for mud-brick walls and a palm-trunk roofs. Initial prayer hall faced Jerusalem which means direction of prayers or qıbla. However, after conquest of Mecca, he redirected the qıbla to the Kaaba. Like the early Christians, the first Muslims rejected the form of Pegan temples and they preferred to base their cult buildings on secular structures. So that earliest mosques took the place of the forum-basilica core of Roman cities in way that the sermon which had political content, ending invariably with decoration of allegiance by the community.

Kufah, Syria

Kufah city plan

 The first mosques provided simple architectural settings without apses, chapels, ambulatories etc. They needed to a large halls which were usually arranged laterally. The most common plan were the basilica with longitudinal aisles directed to the qıbla which transformed lateral qıbla wall and hypostyle hall. As a example of this latter type, first appeared in the new city of Kufah, Iraq in the mid-seventh century. They built the city victory against the Persians. The architect was Abu al-Haiyaj. He structured the new city on a grid with two board cross streets. The intersection of two main streets where the governor’s palace and the Friday mosque back to back. With the using grid, each of the four quadrants of Kufah contained an open plaza or maydan which were surrounded by orthogonally arranged streets  9 m wide. This attitude of planning was almost same methodically geometric as Ancient Rome.

The Dome of the Rock 

The original promoters of Islam assumed that religious and political authority descended from Muhammed and this followers chose Abu Bakr as successor. After Abu Bakr, next successors Umar and Uthman. Uthman assassinated by Muhammed’s cousin and son in law Ali (reign 656-661) who moved to the political capital of Islam from Mecca to Kufah. The Umayyads and Ali’s followers were two different clan. The Umayyads settled in the Greco-Roman city of Damascus, Syria. They sponsored a brilliant urban culture with the production of fine architecture. They attempted to create a charismatic setting to smooth over the succession disputes. Also they borrowed forms and techniques from Persians, Roman and Byzantine precedents. The first great Umayyad monument was the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which was designed by a Byzantine architect and mosaic artists from Constantinople. Also central plan structure resembled a Christian martyrium. Two characteristic features became common in Islamic architecture after the Dome of Rock, pointed arches and ablaq( is an architectural style involving alternating or fluctuating rows of light and dark stone). The Dome of the Rock differed from most central plan of Christian churches in the way that concentric ambulatories. The major structural elements of the interior piers and arcades followed the intersection of two superimposed nine square grids, one rotated with 45 degree

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Great Mosque of Damascus

al-Walid built three impressive mosques in his reign. The first one was the Mosque of Prophet in Medina which added mosaics and the first mihrap and, decorated niches that indicate the qıbla direction. The second was the al-Aqsa mosque with a congregational hypostyle hall and this mosque destroyed and rebuilt several times, the original one had central nave and seven aisles. Third project was the greatest one, The Great Mosque of Damascus which was similar to the Dome of the Rock and reutilized the principal Greco-Roman Temenos of ancient city. History of that mosque was a bit complicated. Starting with the Byzantines destroyed the temple and built a five aisled basilica church, St. John the Baptist after that during the 7th century Christians and Muslims shared the precinct. After demolition of church, the Umayyads built a mosque. Lateral courtyard of mosque was greater in area than the prayer hall which articulated with arcades on two levels. There was important symbol in the The Great Mosque of Damasvus which was ‘’treasury’’. An arcade octagonal pavilion used for symbol for showing wealth of empire. On the corners of southern wall of Temenos city, the guard towers served as platforms for the muezzins’s call to prayer which was the first minarets. The minarets developed into the most monumental element of mosques. Also Maksura served to protect the caliph and his court like screened areas in palatine churches in Byzantine. Additionally Minbar which elevated sitting platform, served as a podium or pulpit for Friday prayer meetings which was very similar with basilica churches.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The second Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur created a round city on the Tigris River ‘’city of peace’’, Baghdad. Initial plan of Baghdad was a prefect circle 2.6 km in diameter. The designers rotated its four symmetrically places gates with 45degree from cardinal points so that southwest gate pointed to Mecca. Each entry had a deep vault arch, ‘’iwan’’, and over it a hall with a golden dome for diplomatic ceremonies. Like Kufah, Baghdad had two major cross-axial streets. However those main streets were not line with arcades, they were covered by vaults and creating cool climate for nearby environment. The fourth secondary streets led radically from the center. The outer ring of round Baghdad’s blocks contained houses for the caliph’s family members. İnner ring hosted military barracks and administrative buildings. The only structure allowed in the inner circle served as police.

The plan of Baghdad

The Great Mosque of Samarra

First residence, the Caliph’s palace was built in 836 by Jausaq al- Khagani. The palace occupied nearly same area as al-Mansur’s Baghdad. The Caliph’s palace surpassed the scale of the imperial complex in Constantinople.  Samarra, under the control of al-Mutawakki, built two more palaces for his sons almost as large as Caliph’ Palace. So a colossal scale imposed a solemn distance between the people and the rulers. Also he built the largest mosque in the world, The Great Mosque of Samarra. Outer set of walls created a perimeter court for service functions. The inner sahn(courtyard-ish) of the mosque had arcades four cloumns deep. A spiral minaret evoking the ancient ziggurats of the region, 52m height, served as icon rather than acoustic function.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Emperor Constantine 

Before Emperor Constantine, Christianity lived as a underground religion such as they used churches in basements and underground catacomb cemeteries for ritual meeting places. After, Rome Empire accepted official religion Christianity, this attitude of churches similarly continued and kind of opposite style of imperial regime architectural design. So early Christian churches appeared modest and unassuming.

Roman Empire broke into many fragments between 4th and 6th centuries. The papacy was the most powerful institution of Rome and sponsored the last expressions of classical architecture with the great churches. On the other hand, in Milan struggled between different interpretations of Christianity led to significantly different solutions for church architecture. Political power fight between papacy and imperial regime, created uncertainty in the empire. So Rome acquired some magnificent facilities. For example The Baths of Caralla which was magnificent in terms of scale, technique and decoration thermal complexes. Also The Baths of Caralla is UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Emperor Diocletian (284-305) made drastic effort to salvage the empire’s disintegrating structure. In 294, he proposed a four-man executive system with two young emperors. In theory, two older emperors would retire after ten years and allow to take power their younger’s. Diocletian retired in 305 and he lived in Spalato palace. Spalato was called ‘little palace’ which located near modern Split, Crotia. Palace had three different side entry gates flanked by octagonal guard towers. Spatial organization of little palace created by two intersecting streets divided the palace into quarters. They were lined with colonnades which was not classical tradition. Also architects inserted an arch into the pediment between two central columns which created fastigium, a stage-ish space for imperial appearances. Similar attitude with Hellenistic style which was propylon at temple of Zeus in Lebanon. General sense of Spalato palace, predominantly defensive appearance of Diocletian’s palace set the precedent for the fortified castle of medieval Europe.

In the 300, Constantine rebuilt his father’s capital of Trier in Germany. Constantine was one of the son tetrach. (the four co-emperors of the Roman Empire) Constantine redesigned the city such as erecting new city walls, built one of the largest bath complexes outside of Rome, a formidable basilica side by side with imperial palace etc. Basilica of Constantine served as an audience hall and also like throne room. Heat system used similar with baths. Constantine’s basilica covered in plaster which produced a stern architectural character which influenced the later centuries also.

Maxentius was also one of the son tetrach and Constantine’s chief rival. Maxentius has a quiet different approach of basilica in Rome. Maxentius’s basilica was one of the grandest vaulted concrete structure in world. Maxentius campaign was also different than Constantine, he sponsored excessive patronage of public projects for his claim to power. He restored The Senate House and The Temple of Venus and built a new hippodrome attached to his palace.

Rivarly between Constantine and Maxentius, resulted with battle of Milvian Bridge. Constantine won the battle by help of sympathies of Christian religion. As a result of battle, everything was changed in Christian world. Constantine rewarded with Arch of Constantine in 315. They redesigned and depicted to Constantine even reliefs. So this recycle fragments which called as a Spolia affect other monuments too. Spolia was repurposing of building stone for new construction or the reuse of decorative sculpture on new monuments. As a result of Spolia, conveyed an organic continuity with greatness of Rome.

Emperor Constantine built Rome’s first imperially sponsored church which was St. John’s in the Lateran. Position of this cathedral significantly designed, turned its back on imperial core to avoid conflicts with Roman shrines in the forum district. St. Johns church a very ordinary exterior rather than colonnaded facade. As a general manner of urbanism, the layout system of Lateran followed a five-aisle (a passage between the lines of seats in a plane) (like coridor-ish) longitudinal plan. The architects avoided typological associations with Pegan temples with using the basilica as meeting hall like Constantine works in Trier. Additionally, rounded arches became a standard element of church interiors.

Constantine sponsored the most important church Old St. Peter’s located near the Vatican Hill. This church served as a funereal basilica around the tom of Peter who was the first pope. Old St. Peter’s was like all of the early churches had an assuming facade and one entered a grand colonnaded atrium that focused on a monumental bronze pinecone fountain of 2nd century. At the end of the court, Narthex served as a vestibule (a small closed area) between the atrium and the church interior. The 100 columns did spolia from other monuments like in St. John’s.

Constantine was donating the building to Jesus. ”Because under your guidance the world rose triumphant to the skies, Constantine, himself a victor, built you this hall.”


I discovered an instagram account and there are many awesome drawings with using shadows. Creativity level is on the top. You should follow @vincent_bal account.

The sketch taken by @vincent_bal instagram account. 

About ORIENTATION Strategy

We are working on a certain strategy which will govern all process and I am trying to discover some new stuff that to add my composition. In this strategy trial, I worked on Oritentation and Time Sense. As a general sense, with some orientations occur certain path to where sky and land meet and, in Salt Lake time sense is loosing somehow. So, I created a combination of interval marks and attraction points which I called Zero Point because this zero points are in the same distance that a solution of time sense. Also Zero Points acts like a shelter for the light and wind. About Orientation, spaces are creating a certain path which leading to people the illusion of light. So spaces and zero points are leading to movement. 1Zero Point is basically a horizontal which blocks the main wind from East side. Also the horizontal element creates a shadow for sun issue. So zero point works as an interval marks and attraction space.


Additionally zero points create a path for the orientation.


Spaces are major key for orientation actually but zero points are supporting that issue also.

3In certain distance, zero points are working as a main factor for orientation.

Also, we had some ideas about entrance point which related with sense of height. Road is in upper level and there is a smooth passage to the entrance. So I wanted to create a sharp passage which I called as a transition part. In the transition parts, spaces are creating the orientation also. My general attitude about the entrance and road, is creating a transition which gives the sense of lower level, in the same level Salt Lake. So I want to enrich that experience with creating diversity.



Struggling with STRATEGY

I recently worked on strategy issue for our project. These are my initals thought about strategy.

TIME SENSE: Salt Lake is endless horizontal so you cannot understand the time through walking for only one direction which is reference point. In my opinion loosing the time perception is a strenght thing and I want to enrich that information. Therefore adding some new reference points could be key for this issue.




ISOLATION: Isolation is feelings of lonely, too small and lost. In my opinion is a good thing because city live is crowded that you do not have those feelings so isolation is a positive thing. In the road part and transition part, there are many obstacles that blocks the isolation. Therefore if I change the level of obstacle in the transition part, salt lake part will be very obivious. As a grafting, I thought that create some paths which people follows increase the number of people in the particular area that increase the obstacle level.


isolation2Obstacles level in reality; smooth transition between transition part and Salt Lake

isolation3Increasing the level of obstacles; sharp transition between transition part and Salt Lake

isolation5The path in transition part which help the increase level of obstacle in that part.


SKY: Sky is very dominant in the Salt Lake but in there I did not realize that in field. Actually I just focused on salt lake eternal space part so I want to enrich the experience of sky. Therefore I want to create a space in the entrance part like a tunnel, that enclosure might enrich the experience of sky.