• STUDIO EVREN BASBUG

Yeşilova Höyük Visitor Center

Updated: Mar 25


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

LOCATION: Yeşilova Höyük, Karacaoğlan 6253 Sk. No: 15, Bornova, İzmir, Turkey

CLIENT: Bornova Municipality (İzmir / Turkey)

CATEGORY: Competition / Building / Culture / Education / Museum / Visitor Center / Archaeology / Historic Heritage

STATUS: National Competition / Built (1st Prize)

AREA (BLD): 5.120 sqm

AREA (OUTDOOR): 18.080 sqm


TIMETABLE:

Competition: June 2010 - September 2010

Commission: 2011

Design: 2011 - 2012

Construction: 2012 - 2014

Occupancy: March 2015


DESIGN OFFICE/S

Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects

SCRA Architects

www.studioevrenbasbug.com

www.scra.com.tr


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

CREDITS:

Principal Designer:

Evren Başbuğ (Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Originators:

Prof. Kamil Okyay Sındır (Former mayor of Bornova)

Assoc. Prof. Zafer Derin (Archaeologist / Yeşilova Excavation Director)

Yeşilova Excavation / Affiliated Institutions

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Ege University

Municipality of Bornova


Architectural Concept:

Evren Başbuğ (Lead Architect, Principal Designer / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)


Architectural Design Group:

Evren Başbuğ (Lead Architect, Principal Designer / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Umut Başbuğ (Lead Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Seden Cinasal Avcı (Lead Architect / SCRA Architects)

Ramazan Avcı (Lead Architect / SCRA Architects)

Hüseyin Komşuoğlu (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Tuba Tuncalı (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Dilşad Kurtoğlu (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Can Özcan (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Müğe Bilgi Başbuğ (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Özcan Kaygısız (Architect / Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects)

Mesut Dural (Architect / SCRA Architects)

Gamze Kahya (Architect / SCRA Architects)

Suzan Bahtiyar (Architect / SCRA Architects)


Engineering & Consultants Group:

Yüksel Konkan (Civil Engineer / Konkan Engineers)

Cemal Çoşak (Civil Engineer / Methal Engineers)

Mustafa Şahin (Civil Engineer / Methal Engineers)

Mahmut Atilla Eser (Civil Engineer / Atilla Eser Engineers)

Necdet Tunalı (Mechanical Engineer / Proje Isı Engineers)

L. Hulusi Satoğlu (Mechanical Engineer / Egetek Engineers)

Bülent Örün (Mechanical Engineer / Egetek Engineers)

Önder Demirdöven (Mechanical Engineer / Egetek Engineers)

A. Levent Ünal (Electrical Engineer / Levay Energy Engineers)

Mustafa Boz (Electrical Engineer / Levay Energy Engineers)

Korhan Şişman (Interior Architect, Lighting Expert / Planlux Architectural Lighting)

Elif Ayalp (Lighting Expert / Planlux Architectural Lighting)

Ebru Bingöl (Landscape Architect / Izmir Institute of Technology)


Communications and Institution Concept:

Robert Paul McMillen (Communications Expert / İyi Şeyler Publishing and Production)

Füsun Gençsü (Communications Expert / İyi Şeyler Publishing and Production)

Müge Gürkaynak (Project Director / İyi Şeyler Publishing and Production)


Museology Consultant:

Prof. Ayşen Savaş (Architect, Exhibition Expert / Middle East Technical University)


Opening Exhibition Design:

Prof. Ayşen Savaş (Architect, Exhibition Expert / Middle East Technical University)

Barış Yağlı (Architect / Middle East Technical University)

Aslıhan Günhan (Architect / Middle East Technical University)

Ömer Burak Polat (Architect / Middle East Technical University)


Artifact Photographs:

Assoc. Prof. Güven İncirlioğlu (Architect, Artist)


Exhibition Visuals:

Assoc. Prof. Güven İncirlioğlu (Architect, Artist)

Seda Özen Tanyıldızı (Visual Communication Designer / İzmir University of Economics)


Artifact Replicas:

Ahmet Demirtaş (Archaeologist / Atölye Demirtaş)


Special Collection Jewellery Design:

Güliz Mustafaoğlu (Designer / YUKA)


Video Documentary:

Asst. Prof. Andreas Treske (Editor, Filmmaker, Media Artist / İzmir University of Economics)


Museology Consultants & Contributors Group:

Adrian C.S. Saunders (Philologist / Koç University)

Asst. Prof. Çiğdem Maner (Archaeologist, Koç University)

Yusuf Yavaş (Archaeologist)

Assoc. Prof. Hüseyin Cevizoğlu (Archaeologist)

Hasan Cenk Dereli (Architect / NOBON)

İdil Erkol (Architect)

Meriç Kara (Designer)

Şükrü Koçak (Archaeologist)

Duygu Hevesli (Architect)


Contractors:

Petek-Aras & Ümsan Joint Venture

Turrek Fair Stands Exhibition Systems


Photograph Credits:

Cemal Emden Architectural Photography

ZM Yasa Architectural Photography

Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects Archive

Zafer Derin Archive


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

In Between Ages...

Settled in the adjacent plot along the northwest - southeast border of the Yesilova Höyük archaeological excavation site, the building intends to create a spatial interface between 6.500 BCE and the present with its form, alignment, and materials. Chosen as the winning project in a national architectural competition in 2010 and built in 2014, the complex generates an unexpected cultural focus within the urban context through an intricate architectural program which is composed of artifact exhibition, active education, and scientific research.


The tension generated by the location and program is sustained at all levels by means of the architectural context and choice of materials. The three main functions (Museum, Archaeological Laboratory and General Services) which are spatially linked to each other, generate the integrated building blocks that give the building its form. The functional program which is mainly composed of exhibition, education, and research has been enveloped between two surfaces of different characteristics: The southwestern opaque façade (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete Panels) which greets and welcomes the approaching visitor, and the northeastern translucent façade (Multi-Layered Polycarbonate Sheets) which gives the visitor hints about the archaeological excavation site that is outside and across the border.



Project History


In terms of its observable geometric form, Yeşilova Höyük is not in the ordinary form of a ‘höyük’ that can be found in vast numbers throughout Anatolian landscape. Since it is located on Bornova plain which is mainly a huge silt deposit, the tumulus seemed to be buried completely underground and therefore it was very hard to identify the settlement from outside. Höyük was discovered by chance in 2003 and archaeological excavations began in 2005 first under the patronage of first İzmir Archaeology Museum and then Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ege University. The settlement dates back to early neolithic period (6.500 BC) and it is the oldest one discovered in the whole region.


The idea to build a visitor center on the adjacent plot which will at the same time accommodate the excavation laboratories was undoubtedly a foresighted vision of the local government and it was one of the most influential cultural investments in the city. The design of the facility was acquired by a national architectural competition which was held in 2010. A partnership of young architects (Studio Evren Başbuğ Architects + SCRA Architects) have won the competition and they were commissioned by the municipality for the design and the shop drawings. The construction was completed and the building was opened for public use in early 2015.


With the laboratories, work spaces and accommodation units in the facility, it is now possible to continue the archaeological excavation and related technical activities non-stop throughout the year. Today with its informative exhibition and renowned ‘time travel’ program, the facility offers a unique experience and an active learning environment for the visitors from all over the country (mainly for primary and secondary level students but not limited to them) and serves as an informal education center. In 2017, with the increasing interest by the local schools and educational institutions, the number of total annual visitors have passed 25.000 threshold. This number continues to increase day by day, getting closer to the number of annual visitors of some major archaeological sites such as Ephesus and Pergamon.


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

Project Information


Settled in the adjacent plot along the northwest - southeast border of the Yesilova Höyük archaeological excavation site, the facility intends to create a spatial interface between 6.500 BCE and the present time with its form, alignment, and materials. It generates an unexpected cultural focus within the urban context through an intricate architectural program which is composed of artifact exhibition, active education, and scientific research.

Three main functions (Museum, Archaeological Laboratory and General Services) which are spatially linked to each other, generate the integrated linear building blocks (155m long in total) with different sizes that give the building its form. The museum block in the middle is the widest (13m cross-section span) and highest (13.5m to the top ridge) of the three. The ground floor serves as a connector between different functions of the visitor center such as the reception hall, the archaeological laboratories, a cafeteria, an activity center, several media rooms, and a conference room for 100 people. The first floor is completely dedicated to the exhibitions and a (40m long) ramp connects this level with the reception area. There is also a mezzanine level in the exhibition space which was planned to be used as a library in the future.


Archaeological laboratories with all the required services (lecture room, workshop, archive, kitchen and dormitories) are in the relatively smaller block in the north. This block is both visually and functionally connected to the adjacent open courtyard, which serves as an outdoor working space for the archeologists in summer time.


The viewing terrace was designed to be an extension of the main exhibition level stretching out towards the excavation site finalizing the tour of the visitor with the real encounter. The concrete torch is designed both as a vertical element balancing the highly linear scheme and as a visual indicator of the neolithic era with real fire lighted up on special occasions.

A simulation of a small village representing the real ancient settlement was planned outside next to the courtyard serving as a scene for the ‘time travel’ activity. Here children learn how to harvest, hunt, cook, and perform daily practices in a pre-scheduled 1 hour program.

The plot is 18.080 sqm in total (excavation site not included), and the building has a total construction area of 5.120 sqm.


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

Materials, Construction and Technology


The building complex is basically a steel structure formed by repeating identical H frames sitting on a concrete basement floor. These steel frames are enveloped on the outside with modern materials (glass fiber reinforced concrete panels and multi-layered polycarbonate sheets) but are exposed visually inside. This character is mainly a structural reference to the construction system of the neolithic era. The foundations discovered on the site reveal that the ancient houses were constructed over Masonry foundations by using wooden structural frames which are exposed visually inside but clad by mudbrick walls and clay surfaces outside.


The tension generated by the unique location and architectural program of the facility is sustained at all levels by means of the architectural decisions and choice of materials. The architectural program in the form of integrated linear blocks have been enveloped between two surfaces of different characteristics on two sides: The southwestern opaque façade (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete Panels) which greets and welcomes the approaching visitor, and the northeastern translucent façade (Multi-Layered Polycarbonate Sheets) which gives the visitor hints about the archaeological excavation site on the adjacent plot outside. The red colour on the GRC panels is a clear reference to the most commonly used colour on the household items belonging to the neolithic era.


The decision of using materials that performing in contrast to one another, also creates an ideal situation in terms of the building’s climatic orientation and illumination performance: An impermeable, protective shield against the sun path, and a translucent membrane allowing diffused natural light in the exhibition space.


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

Project Significance and Impact


On the surface of the wall defining the outdoor plaza, stands a greetings text designed (and written) by the architects as an integral and essential part of the architectural scheme. It is a fictional text, a call by an ordinary individual who lived in Yeşilova thousands of years ago, addressing directly to the present time visitors:


Hi

8.500 years ago, when we first settled down on this land, none of the things you see around now had existed yet. The city behind you, the highway passing by, nor the wall standing in front of you; none of them... It was just nature and us.

You and us... We weren't that different. We, too, had a social life, though not as sophisticated as yours. We lived together just like you. Beyond this wall, lied our village, our huts, our "home"... It has been such a long time; all is underground now.

This is not a wall but a portal it seems: Binding what is yours and what was ours.

Now, before you proceed to the other side, please close your eyes just for a moment; and don't think of anything but the earth you're standing on, the air you breathe and the wind blowing around you. Everything that has happened for all this time, everything there is now, try to forget them all. Come in, with your simplest and your purest self. Because the only thing common in here and beyond, is "human".

That is you. That is us.

Welcome to our home.


Upon arriving, visitor groups gather against this wall and read the message before entering the building. This orchestrated ritual triggered by the design, immediately forms a unique bond between the visitor and the site itself which extends far beyond the material existence of the building. This special bond with the original artifact (the höyük itself) is at the core of the design.


The building is just a tool which stands on a border line tearing apart 8.500 years in time and space. Therefore it is not meant to be in the leading role, but has been rather designed to act as the border itself; as a separator and a portal between the object (the höyük) and the subject (the visitor) at the same time. This binary character of the building is strengthened further by its linearity, position, alignment and materials.


The building greets the visitor, gently invites them in, informs them inside about the object (the höyük) and leads them out again bringing the subject and the object together finally.

Considered as an inseparable pack with the building, the architectural program, the archaeological excavation site, the informal education program it offers; one of the major impacts of this project is the awareness that it created in a short time on an administrative level about the educational, urban, touristic and cultural potentials of such valuable sites. On a vast landscape of countless archaeological sites with similar potentials, this case sets a unique example for local governments both as a successful cultural investment vision realized on a limited public budget, and as a sustainable sophisticated collaboration model for ownership & management schemes.


Yesilova Höyük Visitor Center

Awards & Nominations

Awards & Nominations as of January 2019:


- Aga Khan Development Network

Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2019

Nominee (2018)


- Union of Historical Towns

Museums Competition 2017

Archaeoparks Category - Winner (2018)


- Chamber of Architects of Turkey İzmir Branch

4. İzmir Architectural Exhibition and Awards

Special Prize (2017)


- Chamber of Architects of Turkey

15. National Architectural Exhibition and Awards

Building Category - Nominee (2015)


- World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards

Future Projects (Cultural) Category - Finalist (2012)


- Chamber of Architects of Turkey

13. National Architectural Exhibition and Awards

Project Category - Nominee (2012)


- Union of Historical Towns

Preservation of Historical and Cultural Heritage Competition 2010

Project Category - Winner (2011)


















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