SAVAŞ / SORGUÇ / ERKAL / AKSU / BEKAR / KIZIL
DE / RANGED AND TAMED TERRITORIES: ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTIONS ON ANKAPARK
In the fall and spring semesters, this studio explored a variety of de/ranged territories in Ankara. As products of diverse processes, such spaces manifest as synthetic environments that inhibit continuities in the urban context. Alternatively, with their spatial, morphological and ecological formations and imprints, they also incubate potentialities for an urban future. The studio focused on one of the de/ranged territories in Ankara -Ankapark- and encouraged students to invent alternative operational strategies and programs that can provide a new lens through which to view Ankara’s urban future.
Ankara, as the capital of modern Turkey, was transformed into a center for political, bureaucratic and economic activities in the early years of the Republic. This state-driven and multi-faceted transformation not only established balanced production and consumption patterns but also reconfigured the landscape by reshaping the water resources and green spaces to serve the expanding urban fabric. While constructing new buildings that were suited to house modern institutions in Ulus, the early Republic encouraged a new pattern of city life by investing in industrial and recreational infrastructure, as exemplified by the Atatürk Forest Farm. In the following years, as the state gradually retreated from urban investments and handed them to private organizations, the territory of the Atatürk Forest Farm was fragmented to create new commercial and financial opportunities for private capital. Meanwhile, what state-driven investment remained became focused on monumental and alienating constructions that have either failed or served almost non-existent public agendas such as highway gates, the presidential estate, or our studio’s focus: a deserted Amusement Park.
Ankapark, with its relational natural and built environment, is a complex site composed of a multiplicity of industrial, infrastructural and ecological territories. It is a fixed investment in the city and today presents itself as a giant landscape of steel that rises and falls over the ground like an unmapped second landmass in the city. The site’s structures include huge water ponds built above vast concrete surfaces, and steel construction domes with wide spans and membrane coverings. Electro-mechanical contraptions disguised as theme park rides illustrate a fixed and prescriptive view of entertainment. However, the financial failure of the project has already invited the forces of entropy to eat away at it. Rust and decay are inevitable for this expensive tectonic jungle.
The multi-layered geographic, legal, financial and historical identity of the park is now a territory that is unproductive, unstable and abusive towards nature. Students responded to the current state of the site by initiating resilient spatial activities and proposing urban programs that reconstitute the location’s natural and artificial elements. The territory of the park was mapped as the intersection of culture, nature, technology, production, and collectivity within the urban network in respect to ecology, consumption, recreation and labor.
Accordingly, the park’s lack of public utility and its operational disconnection from the city and nature was questioned in terms of the site’s potentials beyond leisure and work. In the times of the pandemic, the studio critiqued existing definitions of urban relations, agents and, consequently, the obligation that falls on heedless urbanization to propose an alternative urban reality for Ankara starting from this very area.