The Turkish "Flying Carpet" of Alper Aytac’s Golden Horn Library wins Architizer A+Awards

The Golden Horn Library designed by Alper Aytac was selected as a 2021 Architizer A+ Awards Jury Winner in the Institutional - Unbuilt category. The Golden Horn Library will be located in Galata, a historic neighborhood at the crossroads of Istanbul’s cultural and visual memories.

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View from the Golden Horn
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

The Galata District was once the Genoese quarter of the city and was surrounded by its own city walls and towers. Today, nearly all the walls are gone, but the iconic Galata Tower remains and provides the district with its identity.

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View towards the Historical Peninsula
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

The Golden Horn Library looks across the waters of the Golden Horn to the Historical Peninsula, overlooking the seven hills of Istanbul, each hill crowned with its own monument. Views include Hagia Sophia, Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, The Cistern of Mocius, Fatih Mosque, and Yavuz Selim Mosque to the southeast, and Mihrimah Sultan Mosque to the northwest. These seven hills represent the history of old Constantinople, surrounded by historic city walls. Views of the dancing domes of the seven hills, and the iconic Galata Tower, provide a silhouette of the city over the Golden Horn.

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View towards the Library Entry
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

 “The Golden Horn Library was conceived as almost a “Turkish Flying Carpet”, woven by the culture and the context”- Alper Aytac.

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Model view
Photo credit: Orhan Kolukisa

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Model view
Photo credit: Orhan Kolukisa

The profiles of the monuments and the axiality of the seven hills pointing towards the Galata Tower form the main roofscape, with the three closest hills inspiring the roofscape housing the functions of the library and learning center. The remaining hills, set further away, provide a smooth transition between the building and the landscape, functioning as a sort of plinth of public space between interior and exterior.

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Model view
Photo credit: Orhan Kolukisa

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Sections
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

Sectionally and proportionally, the nearby Azapkapi Sokullu Mosque, designed by the great architect, Sinan, sets the precedent, with its elevated prayer hall almost floating over the city to protect the interior against bustling city noise. This strategy was duplicated in order to insulate the library and learning center from noise. Beneath, the ground level houses the busier and noisier activities of the auditorium, a spiraling children’s library, and a restaurant.

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View towards the Galata Tower
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

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Children's Library
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

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View towards the Historical Peninsula
Photo credit: Alper Aytac

Alper Aytac states: ”The Golden Horn Library is a beacon of knowledge in the city of Istanbul, and it aims to be an instrument of connectivity between symbols of the city on both sides of the Golden Horn. It radiates energy that is injected into the city, rather than funneling energy out of the city for itself.”

About Aytac Architects

Alper Aytaç founded Aytaç Architects, architecture and research practice, in 2005 to develop an architecture that would transgress the normal bounds of traditional forms and materials and produce unexpected intensities with other objects/spaces/buildings.The office operates as a laboratory with the aim of rendering space and the built environment more mobile, dynamic, and active than their previously stasis and sedentary interpretations. The office strives to create powerful and clear design solutions that are unique to each project and site. As a full-service practice, Aytaç Architects is engaged with building design, urban design, interiors, and landscape design at all scales.Certain interests of the firm are non-architectural. The study of natural landscape formations, such as river deltas, oceans, deserts, ice flows, rock formations, forests, and canyons, affect their work in ways that explore, challenge, and move architectural space beyond codifications at various levels.


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