To date the Taksim square and the Gezi park in Istanbul have been handled as two close but distinct areas (emphasized in the heights). They have had separate competitions, layouts, phases and approaches to urban design. We, then, are designing a space with a single and united identity that begins as coexistence of park and square. This proposal has branded it as the first urban design typology that integrates the two, the park and the square – the PARQUARE. Some of the great squares of the world regularly have parks as separate, isolated zones (Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park, Times Square and Central Park) but in this design we are providing integration and complementation.
We propose the newly devised space as platform liberated from its previous spatial barriers, now enabling large free gatherings. Parquare will become a physical platform for socialising and for the practice of public life. In parallel we propose the making of a digital application via which it will be possible to book parts of the park for interaction, organisation of events, open-air teaching, mini-theatrical events and concerts. Parquare will thus become a platform for inclusive, democratic and participatory public life.
Parquare plans to retain the maximum of the existing natural part, introducing new paths and points of attraction to encourage users to use it intensively. In this way nature is not only preserved, but curated, an integral part of the planned improvements. At the same time, Parquare wants to create the feeling that the citizens are really participating in the growth and development of Taksim and Gezi Park, feeling it their own, making the decisions about it. We propose that zones or islands of the park be left, within which, in time, the inhabitants of Istanbul will be able to plant trees of their own. Total participation is enabled – the citizens will themselves make decisions about which trees to plant and when, and so not everything will be defined in advance by the decision of architects or city administrators. Istanbul is in permanent want of green oases, and this approach allows for the creation of the much-longed-for nature within the dense texture of the city.
Project team: Alen Žunić, Rea Mihelko, Karlo Lauc, Fran Polan, Nedjeljko Špoljar, Marko Ursa, Dora Ivančan, Bruna Krstičević, Ines Jakopanec, Antonija Šakoronja, Siniša Bjelica