November 16, 2014


June 07, 2014 - November 23, 2014

June 07, 2014 - November 23, 2014
Rather than conducting a historical account of modern epoch in Turkey, presenting an exhaustive catalogue, or trying to capture its unique local attributes, “Places of Memory” attempts to explore the main theme of the biennial via perceptions and experiences.
The project idea departs from three areas of Istanbul: The first comprises Taksim, where I was born and grew up. Taksim is also an important square, with a constantly changing appearance because of partial and inconsistent interventions. The Atatürk Cultural Center, situated on the narrower end of the square, is a symbol of modern architecture in Turkey. My father, Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, was the architect. This first area spreads out across a wider zone, and continues downhill from the square to the coast, passes along the warehouses designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldem, an important representative of 20th century architecture in Turkey, reaching Salıpazarı harbor. Like many other areas in Istanbul, this area, too, is undergoing transformation. The GalataPort project (a master plan proposal, 2001) developed by us (Tabanlıoğlu Architects) for the area and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, which we transformed from a warehouse into a museum (2004), were among projects that triggered change in this area. The second area is Bâb-ı Âli, where I spent my youth. Starting in Sirkeci, the area used to host the headquarters of important newspapers and printing houses in Turkey along two sides of the Cağaloğlu slope.
I used to pass through this world every day since I studied in a high school in the same area.
The final one is Büyükdere Boulevard and its environs. This area, once lined with fields and orchards, later with light industry buildings, today is in juxtaposition with the CBD, featuring high-rise buildings especially between Levent-Maslak axes that connect main transportation routes of the city.
A detailed discussion of these places that acted as thresholds during different stages of my life—or in a sense, my memory—seeded the first layers of the conceptual framework. Our focus in the exhibition is not necessarily on these places, but rather on the concept of place itself, incorporated with the subjective vision of every exhibitor in the team. The works interact with each other via different approaches based on different scales and mediums.
We chose not to write in advance the story that might emerge from this project. We will see the outcome together. This is a conscious decision that keeps us on edge, but one that also holds potentials.
Murat Tabanlıoğlu

“Büyükdere is a very ambiguous and recently shaped urban fragment of the city. It is [very] hard to understand what’s exactly happening there since there is no real planning process like we know… In relation to this, I looked at process patterns to understand these intricate moments…
I was trying to trace what was [happening] underneath this current fragmented situation by tracing today’s notions to the past. There are various layers that have caused different situations which range from topography to social values or political maneuvers—and which cause a lot of things to transform. As you are following these tracks you don’t even need to mention the actors, like architects, politicians, urban planners and so on. You can shift your perspective and look at what lies behind them, focus on the static data like topography, infrastructure and other things shaping this dynamic city. Bringing the same factors together, the city becomes the actor itself.”
Alper Derinboğaz

Curator Murat Tabanlıoğlu states;
 “The concepts ‘place/space’ and ‘memory’, that form both the title and content of the first International Architecture Exhibition mark, in a sense, a beginning, as the first step taken in this new space.” He adds “Following the assessment of a long list we formed with Pelin Derviş, we invited five architect/artists we believed we could create a fertile work environment with” and “as in architectural production, our preferred method was to approach the project as a natural process that develops with contributions, although it began to take shape from the first sketches on, and through consideration of all data we had gathered.”
 “In order to retain the spatial qualities [of the Pavilion], we preferred to have a self-standing structure in the middle, as a simple but bold gesture. It has a slit in the middle, creating four planes that enable the exhibitors—whose works have different scales of concentration in the areas we selected to work on—to have their own surfaces.”
The curator continues “Along with the governing idea of ‘architecture, not architects’, specifically underlined within this year’s general theme, we kept in step with the guidelines of the exhibition via individual perception, remembering, and narration.”

“Nostalgia and memory… are two things that somehow feed into each other… I started feeling under my skin that things have changed too much, too fast. And it brings a strange anxiety, a sense of loss… photography itself is a two-sided blade where you always have to deal with an event which you transform and make part of a history via transformation, so it is always subjective, it is always a construction… I [also] have another kind of memory which doesn’t belong to me, when I close my eyes I try to render how this place was 50 or 100 years ago.
I have a certain longing for the past, but I have to represent or capture this without romanticizing it. I can’t do this with singular images. With a constellation of images, I try to relate certain situations about particular places, and also to connect all these different urban areas to each other.”
Ali Taptık

“Living in a city like Istanbul—which is experiencing an incredible urban transformation, especially in the last decade—it seems vital to look at what really is happening. Being aware that architecture and the built environment are not solely related to their subjects, but also related to us, in other words, related to our own memories about the place, it seems crucial to ask: what if we lose these? Are we about to lose our own memories? Let’s for a while try to relate to the built environment through our own experiences, through our own past, through a subjective approach to feel what it means to us.”
Murat Tabanlıoğlu