Self-criticism

5 years ago, when Superpool was deciding for a city as a home base, Istanbul was the choice.  The reason behind this selection was the sheer mass of issues that were available for discussion, and a lack of clarity for the city’s architectural future. Since 1980’s Istanbul is growing with a practical economic impulse.  Happy to be leading an upward economy with soaring real-estate profits, the public administration is immune to self-criticism.  The city officials dream, without reservation, of becoming the financial capital of Turkey, Balkans and the Middle East. As a young office operating in this environment, without a long list of nurtured patrons, we utilize several tools of the profession to escape the stronghold of commercial ambitions on the city. With projects ranging from temporary and ephemeral to deeply involved research, we interact and interfere with the city while we are being involved in critical discussions.  Open Library, Open City, Becoming Istanbul exhibitions and Mapping Istanbul book are several of these ephemeral projects.
At the same time, we propose architectural designs, like Suryapi residential project and Sisli high school, often admired but not picked-up by developers.  Our intention with architectural proposals is to remind ourselves of the absent ideal of the architect working for the public good, even within commercialized processes.  We will conclude our presentation with research for the growth of Istanbul central business district, which we hope will demonstrate a pro-active attempt to engage the financial forces of the city for a better urban future.

BIO | Selva Gürdoğan, Architect (born 1979, Turkey. 2003 graduate from Sci-Arc, USA) and Gregers Tang Thomsen, Architect (born 1974, Denmark. 2003 graduate from Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark) founded Superpool in Istanbul in 2006. They met at Rem Koolhaas’ studio Office for Metropolitan Architecture – OMA – in 2003, where they worked until establishing Superpool. Currently Superpool is engaged in TailorCrete, a European Commission funded research for incorporating robotics into concrete construction technology, along with the design of single-family houses in Zekeriyakoy, Istanbul.  Superpool has also recently completed Mapping Istanbul; a book commissioned by Garanti Gallery with nearly a hundred maps and information graphics creating a valuable resource for architects, planners, and policy-makers invested in the city’s future.

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