Subtractive Affinities

by Dirk van der Meij from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Tutored by: Niklaas Deboutte, Nicola Marzot, Jelke Fokkinga, Filip Geerts

Author comments:

Istanbul’s current building developments, too big to appropriate the hills, punctuate the landscape and reveal a hidden truth: the hill is more than a surface condition - underneath the pavement, the beach!

When we take a close look at the beach, we can distil three types of creators: the kid, the dog and the tourist. The kid makes sandcastles, leaving behind a pit; the dog creates pits, leaving behind a heap of sand; the tourist creates a pit to seek shelter from the wind, the excavated sand surrounding the pit contributes to the goal of blocking the wind. Building is a process of subtraction and addition.

Through the lens of subtraction and addition, the city of Istanbul can be read as a series of boolean operations. The project, the hotel of a glass research centre, is located on the edge of Istanbul’s biggest quarry. The building reflects on the nature of building: building as collection of subtractions and additions and building as a linear process, glass being the irreversible product of sand.

The hotel is placed within an excavated plot. The core is a poured earth mass containing entrance and servant spaces. A layer of opaque glass hotel rooms is squeezed in between the public access square above and the lobby beneath.

As a whole, the building exhibits the process of creation. From solid to surface, from landscape to object. The visual presence of the pit in every space makes the visitor contemplate on this process: the relation between building and the pit.

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