The Banded Edge
Graduate Design Studio, Rice University School of Architecture
This project recognizes the edge as a symptom of an expanding city. Istanbul is its case study. In the last 60 years, the population has grown from 1 to 12 million inhabitants, which has driven the expansion of the city into the surrounding landscape.
The expansion of the city creates voids as the urban fabric is fragmented. These voids are intentionally cut into the fabric for the insertion of parcels of land for private development and gated communities, directly related to the highway network. Other voids build up at the edge from process of leap-frogging as the city expands.
The territorial dichotomy of city and hinterland creates an intermediate band of highway, parcel and void at the urban edge. Integration of public, private and natural space in the voids preserves the city-hinterland edge in a new typology of urban growth.
The edge is not a line but a band that mediates between the city and the wildlife beyond. The band is largely correlated with the highway network that feeds the encapsulated gated communities at the edge.
The edge is proliferated with voids that are opportunity sites for intermingling private and public urban space with natural ecologies from the hinterland in a new quarry typology. The development of a metrorail and underground subway system is currently underway and will feed the quarries, as an accessible system that parallels the highway/capsule network.
The field of voids inserted as capsules within the edge band creates a pixilized edge. The urban growth mechanism of land parcelization [dense voids] at the edge proliferates the undifferentiated edge between urban and natural territories. This causes a deterioration of the natural as the unbounded urban edge constantly migrates into the hinterland.
The band is a field of quarries that are concentrated within sites along the edge. This edge is not only a band of mediation, but also of differentiation between the urban and natural territories. The quarry provides a differentiation of density, topography, and surface, which allows for the mediation of city and hinterland.
The quarry is a spiraling alternative to the linear edge condition of the city/nature dichotomy: a new interterritorial urban void.