3XKO delivered an innovative urban and landscape design concept for Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Gezi Park.
Our Vision – “See the City!”
The Vision for Taksim seeks to bind the city’s core with its special natural catchment with a new community, featuring human scale development and a vibrant creative culture – an urban habitat that borrows from the best examples of international city-building and entirely recreate the brand “Taksim”.
A place that captures the imagination of artistic creative professionals to attract small specialist organisations and businesses – especially from gastronomy. It is a place centred on innovation, exemplified by its architecture and streetscape quality. It seeks to become an international iconic destination for local and international visitors, attracted by its colourful, vibrant human-scale attractions and relaxed atmosphere.
Taksim Square, Gezi Park, the Ataturk Library site as well as Istiklal and Cumhuriyet Avenues can provide much more quality than they currently offer. In order to unlock their full potential, we propose to expand the project area beyond that currently designated and include the other green areas (as shown on the vision images: “See the City!”) too.
Our vision is to create a place of innate aesthetic appeal, offering an unrivalled range of functions, amenities, cultural beacons and activities within a short walk which also appreciates its history. A lifestyle district that embraces modern values, culture, history, arts & innovation. An interactive environment which is vibrant and alive!
Create a new Identity
We are creating a new identity which reflects the open mind and unique hospitality of the Turkish people and their love for freedom and democracy which will result in an undoubtedly unique Spirit of the Place (Genius Loci) which it deserves.
The Folding Park, the Green Gate and the Taksim Museum
The revitalized Gezi Park will break out of its “cocoon” and rise to become a three-dimensional park which folds up towards the Monument on the south west corner. “The Folding Park” will become the green walkable roof of the newly designed “Taksim Museum” which frames the square perfectly with its unique connecting element: “The Green Gate”. The existing white steps will be re-integrated at the entrance of “The Green Gate” and bind Gezi Park with the square becoming a beautiful green beacon as well as a destination. The green roof of the museum will be fully accessible on which people can walk up to the top and enjoy the fantastic views on over the square towards the monument or watch the amazing sunsets over Istanbul’s horizon.
The iconic design of the new “Taksim Museum”, with its walkable green roof, will frame the square and park alike but also act as the link: “The Green Gate”. The roof of the museum will visually be linked to the secondary AKM building, which sits on the north side of the main building and between the existing buildings on Mete Street. The height of the new museum building will not be exceeding the height of any surrounding buildings. The west edge of the park will be moved by approximately 8 metres westwards, increasing the width of Gezi Park and enhancing the sense of enclosure of the newly redefined pedestrian-only “Cumhuriyet Boulevard” – an important connecting element of Gezi Park with the Talimhane neighbourhood.
The newly formed areas within Gezi Park, derived from the natural movements and the flow of the people travelling through the park. Along with the interlacing of the grid of Talimhane grain, the park becomes a special place with diverse pockets within the park. The new amphitheatre at the centre will become its Oasis.
The Cumhuriyet Avenue and Istiklal Avenue are the most important streets in Turkey but are currently disconnected from each other. By gently relocating the Istiklal Monument to its rightful place and the introduction of a new “Cumhuriyet Boulevard” a strong link between the most important avenues in Turkey will be created. Currently Gezi Park and the Square are blocked by constantly ongoing construction works on the white stairs but also the “permanently temporary” Police station on the top of those stairs. This hostile environment is creating unrest among visitors and is separating the two entities. With our design we will unite the two elements with each other by creating a beautiful green gate which will be the link between a new “rising” three-dimensional Gezi park with more green areas than currently and the newly redefined Taksim Square.
“The New Amphitheatre” with its iconic canopy is a fantastic opportunity to integrate a unique activity space. Which can be used for open air events such as cinemas, theatre plays, little concerts or art and cultural events. The park will also provide different types of great functions (i.e. Sculpture park, Zen Garden, Urban Farming Areas, Exhibition Space for young artists and designers etc.) and host “green diversity”. In addition, artist and creative minds can use parts of the park as their workshops and get inspired by the revitalized public realm as well as the breath-taking landscape.
At the corner of Mete Street, a new feature restaurant will be placed on the corner adjacent to the Ceylan hotel which will have beautiful views towards the Bosphorus. Bike lanes on each side of the park and square will also be introduced along with bike and scooter rental stations.
There is a fantastic opportunity to enhance the green areas and habitat of Taksim by using innovative solutions which can add tremendous value to urban life, public square and the park. Currently the area is soaked in concrete. Shy interventions by putting pot plants are showing the desperation for green areas and the creation of a microclimate which is necessary for a healthy public realm.
The new “Folding Park” with its congenial partner, the green “Taksim Museum” building which tugged under the folding park, and the integration of soft surfaces into hard surfaces will have a long lasting and sustainable effect on the space. Along with the new green on the hard surface, the integration of a creek is a beautiful way to bring quality to the area. The idea is based on the historical water distribution in the Taksim area which name derived from “Taksim etmek / to distribute (Water).”
The creek springs from the historical Maksem building runs along Cumhuriyet Boulevard down to the junction of Divan hotel. The creek also will run down along Istiklal Avenue to Tünel accompanied by a line of trees. These effective interventions will provide an excellent natural cooling during hot summer times and become a the “Beautiful Journey” from the junction (Asker Ocagi / Cumhuriyet) all the way to Tünel with a stopover at Gezi Park and Taksim Square.
Restaurants / Cafes
The newly and redefined Cumhuriyet Boulevard will become a vibrant pedestrian promenade. It will be an attractive and buzzing place to be with beautiful restaurants and cafes of international level which will act as a catalyst for the entire area.
Istanbul, in particular Taksim needs to reinvent itself. It needs to put itself again in a positive spotlight, by establishing a world class destination in the world’s only city which sits on two continents – connecting Orient and Occident. This is Istanbul’s chance to enhance its brand awareness and become once again a global precedent.