THE AGA KHAN PROGRAM AT THE GSD

COURSES

01603: Istanbul Studio (Fall 2013)

Instructor: A. Hashim Sarkis and Erkin Ozay

In the past twenty years, Istanbul has been on a very fast pace of expanding its transportation network and infrastructure to serve its growing metropolitan district. Because of geography and the growth patterns, this network has converged back on the historical center generating major transportation nodes and development projects around them. It has also generated major frictions with the historic city and its citizens.

For one, and with varying degrees of success, the increasing awareness of the historical fabric of the city and its world heritage status, has led to serious negotiations and reconsideration of the new infrastructure so that it would not deface the historic city. At another level, the growing civic awareness of the political and social consequences of such projects has pushed them to the forefront of public debates. The recent demonstrations around Gezi Park are a case in point.

Over the past six years, the Aga Khan Program at the GSD has been addressing these themes through a series of studios on the historic city with projects ranging from a new train station, a new bridge, to new urban equipment that serve the tourists and local citizens alike. All located in the thick of the historic peninsula, these studios have all engaged the public dimension of the new infrastructures with a strong emphasis on the urban and architectural lessons that could be learned from this interface between new infrastructure and historic contexts.

Between Campus and Mat: Beyazit Square, Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar

This studio is the last installation in this sequence. The site is Beyazit Square, a transportation hub located at the critical juncture between Istanbul University and the Grand Bazaar. Through the design of new university facilities, it explores the relationship between two types of architecture, the object based approach of the campus and the mat condition represented by the bazaar and how these two programs, cultures, and architectural approaches could meet and define a public space.

The studio is sponsored by the Aga Khan Program at the GSD. It is open to students in architecture and urban design. It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 and 6. It includes a trip to Istanbul in early October.

09121: New Geographies Lab Seminar: Territorial Tropes (Fall 2013)

Instructor: A. Hashim Sarkis

The New Geographies lab seminar explores new potentials for architecture at a larger territorial scale. It caters primarily to students conducting their thesis research in the lab. This fall, the seminar will be focusing on extracting new tropes out of the territories surrounding historical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and using these tropes to organize new metropolitan regions. A parallel aim is to reconsider the very categories of city, metropolis, and territory and to propose new organization categories.

The seminar will start with readings on urban territories, from historians, geographers, and urbanists and will then proceed to an in-depth examination of four historical cities and their regions, namely Cairo-Alexandria, Istanbul-Marmara, the Levantine coast, and Athens- Attica Region. The emphasis will be on developing hybrid tropes combining artifacts such as roads, viaducts, walls or canals with geographic elements such as coastlines, valleys, and hills.

The seminar meets on Fridays between 2 and 5.

04405: Istanbul: From Imperial Capital to Global City (Fall 2013)

Instructor: Sibel Bozdogan

In the summer of 2013, popular discontent with the authoritarian neo-liberal urban policies of the Turkish government exploded in Istanbul, revealing the political nature of public space and the importance of the “right to the city” movements in modern democracies. This lecture/seminar course intends to give a historical perspective to these contemporary events and look at how a city like Istanbul became what it is today. It offers an overview of Istanbul’s urban/architectural transformations in the last two centuries, situating these developments within both the historical dynamics of modern Turkey and the broader trans-national context of the region and the world at large. In particular, four distinct periods will be covered, marked by important political-social-cultural shifts and the introduction of new urban visions, with corresponding changes in the city’s skyline, macro form, landscape, architecture and overall urban aesthetics: 1) late Ottoman reforms in urban administration, infrastructure and transportation, accompanied by the cosmopolitan architecture of fin de siècle Istanbul; 2) early republican transformations in the 1930s and 1940s: the master plan of Henri Prost and the new public spaces of secular modernity; 3) post- WWII urban interventions and the onset of massive migration, speculative apartment boom and squatter developments transforming Istanbul from a “shore city” to a “hinterland city” and 4) “branding” of Istanbul as a global city since the 1980s: trans-national spaces of consumption, gated communities and suburban sprawl. The primary objective of the course is to investigate the complex, hybrid and contested urban history and geography of a unique world city in the context of imperial, national and global politics. Lectures will be supplemented by discussion of assigned readings; selections of literature and film will also be used wherever relevant. Course requirements are regular attendance and active participation in class discussions, three short response papers during the semester and one long research/analysis paper on a topic to be decided in consultation with the instructor.

05210: Cities by Design I (Fall 2013)

Instructors: Rahul Mehrotra, Sibel Bozdogan, Joan Busquets, Fares El-Dahdah, Alex Krieger, Peter Rowe, A. Hashim Sarkis

‘Cities by Design’ is a year-long course that studies urban form. In the fall semester, ‘Cities by Design’ will explore six urban case studies to expose students to a range of factors that affect the design of contemporary cities in various geographical contexts. In the spring, the course will look at four cities and conclude with a panel discussion to synthesize the conclusions drawn from cases from the entire year. The case studies will focus on both the urban condition as a whole by exploring processes of urban evolution, and on the study of urban fragments or projects. Each case study will be taught during a two-week module, comprised of four lectures and one discussion section. Term grades will be based on attendance and participation in both lectures and sections, biweekly response papers based on assigned readings, and a final term paper.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course. The course will allow students to establish a broader definition of the ‘urban,’ forging commonalities amongst a diversity of cities. It will also provide the historical and comparative material to identify the urban characteristics and design strategies that render particular cities distinct. Comparative analyses of the urban case studies will be guided by the following eight themes, which will be explored through the lectures, section discussions, and assigned readings:

1. The city’s genealogy and key historical events, phases of development, and patterns of growth
2. The ways in which the terrain, geography, and infrastructural development constrain and present opportunities for the city’s development and ambitions
3. The city’s planning and design culture and decision-making institutions
4. The challenges that social equity present to planning and design in the city
5. The orchestration of the city’s relationship to the broader region
6. How the particular city contributes to a definition of the ‘urban’ condition
7. The framing and design of key urban projects/case studies
8. The city’s planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions, etc. that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context

No Prerequisites; Course is required of all entering UD students.

01603: Istanbul (Spring 2013)

Instructor: A. Hashim Sarkis

The studio is set in the area around the old Byzantine hippodrome in the historic center of Istanbul. Here an accumulation of buildings and groups of buildings over time provides strong evidence that architectural objects could produce effective urban orders between them.

The studio explores how objects, whether by accumulation or orchestration, have the ability to develop inter-relational qualities. It also seeks to extend this proposition from the discreet confines of the architectural project to the scale of urban ensembles. Instead of the monument/fabric conception of urban form by postmodernism that excepted monuments against the city fabric ordered by streets, and instead of the modernist object that highlighted the object’s radiant order against urban systems, the studio explores other possibilities of mediating between monuments, urban equipment, and ordinary buildings.

04323: Constructing Vision (Fall 2012)

Instructor: A. Hashim Sarkis

The course examines how architects have historically used means of representation, not only as allographic tools, but as design tools that visually organize buildings and spaces. In that sense design becomes the means by which habits of seeing are shaped and expressed. We will refer to these models of representation/design/experience as “visual constructs.”

The course proposes that a diversity of such “visual constructs” has been developed throughout the history of designing buildings, landscapes, and cities. These constructs utilize perspective and other means of representation in composite ways. They also confound the components of perspective with those of the object being designed producing specific types of spaces and types of seeing. Such visual constructs as the picturesque, the panoramic, the prospective, the field, the cognitive, and the oblique, will be studied at their origins and will then be observed as they travel and develop from one setting to another and across time.

04334: Geo-Architecture (Fall 2012)

Instructor: A. Hashim Sarkis

“Geo-Architecture”: Le Corbusier’s Urbanism and the Territorial Challenge to Architecture (1911–1965)

In a 1957 review of a lecture by Le Corbusier, a Swiss newspaper characterized his urbanism as a “geo- architecture.” The geography being evoked was at once human and spatial. Importantly, the review proposed that the Three Human Establishments that Le Corbusier was presenting in his lecture situated architecture in a larger setting than the city and developed a formal repertoire that operated at this larger scale.

The course examines this relationship between architecture and geography as it manifests itself in Le Corbusier’s urbanism. It covers the different periods of his urban output namely: WWI and formulation of an evolutionary understanding of cities; the 1920s systemic urbanisms; the 1930s type-oriented explorations and the advent of the notion of “equipements;” the post-WWII reconstruction projects and the idea of the ensemble, and the 1960s experiments with landscape and two-dimensionality.
The case studies include some well known examples of his urban design work such as La Ville Radieuse, le Plan Obus, Chandigarh, St Die, and Berlin as well as some underexplored projects such as Stockholm, Izmir, Rochelle, and Vallee de la Meuse. The course will also extract the urban logic of some of his architectural projects and typologies like Villa Savoye, the Unite Bloc, and the Venice Hospital.

05210: Cities by Design I (Fall 2012)

Instructors: Rahul Mehrotra, A. Hashim Sarkis, Eve Blau, Sibel Bozdogan, Joan Busquets, Alex Krieger, Robert Lane

‘Cities by Design’ is a year-long course that studies urban form. In the fall semester, ‘Cities by Design’ will explore six urban case studies to expose students to a range of factors that affect the design of contemporary cities in various geographical contexts. In the spring, the course will look at four cities and conclude with a panel discussion to synthesize the conclusions drawn from cases from the entire year. The case studies will focus on both the urban condition as a whole by exploring processes of urban evolution, and on the study of urban fragments or projects. Each case study will be taught during a two-week module, comprised of four lectures and one discussion section. Term grades will be based on attendance and participation in both lectures and sections, biweekly response papers based on assigned readings, and a final term paper.

Two main pedagogical objectives guide the course. The course will allow students to establish a broader definition of the ‘urban,’ forging commonalities amongst a diversity of cities. It will also provide the historical and comparative material to identify the urban characteristics and design strategies that render particular cities distinct. Comparative analyses of the urban case studies will be guided by the following eight themes, which will be explored through the lectures, section discussions, and assigned readings:

1. The city’s genealogy and key historical events, phases of development, and patterns of growth
2. The ways in which the terrain, geography, and infrastructural development constrain and present opportunities for the city’s development and ambitions
3. The city’s planning and design culture and decision-making institutions
4. The challenges that social equity present to planning and design in the city
5. The orchestration of the city’s relationship to the broader region
6. How the particular city contributes to a definition of the ‘urban’ condition
7. The framing and design of key urban projects/case studies
8. The city’s planning institutions, historical conditions, urban forms, or ambitions, etc. that have contributed to its iconicity in a global context

No Prerequisites; Course is required of all entering UD students.