top of page
A Story on Common (G)rounds

Taksim Square International Design Competition Runner

It is Saturday, 23.04.2030. Ayşegül (7), a fresh urban spirit is boiling with joy on a day at the newly built Taksim grounds with her father. Her story of a couple of hours in Taksim is hosted by a system, designed ultimately for the people of the city. People passing by, taking a break, flying in, riding out. Us...

Elif Erdoğdu, Kürşad Özdemir, Sami Yücel, Nilay Yurtsever

The architectural design idea utilizes an array of everyday-urban fragments of a round shape. So does the story of Aysegül:


a bowl of salad,
with fresh Taksim produce

the pneu-seat of the new autonomous bus, “Tosunette”

the urban farming unit,
lent to city dwellers

the bus-stop,
holding a welcome scene 


the buffet-hub,
a node of surface & aerial traffic

the piazza,
an inherited scale & form


Combining the composition of round forms in different scales with urban mobility on foot-on smart wheels-in the air gives us a dynamic topography of movement lines, canopies and nodes. The main principle is to include smart vehicles in the composition of design at ground level and as a spatial component of Taksim. A family of autonomous vehicles that can cope with the unobscured pedestrian mobility and the rhythm of Istanbul-everyday. 


Making the Definitive

Urban Stage

The presented design-scenario is set to focus on the actual square and along the Anıt-Harbiye axis. The dominant element of design is a fluctuating canopy, re-formatting the Taksim plain into a composition of 3 new piazzas of

friendly scale for urban people, as inherited from the monument -anıt- square. integrated mobility routes on the surface potential to hold scenes of urban spontaneity -music, dance, performance, games-

the canopy, providing the atmosphere for the semi-open spaces under it, is also home to green bays for urban farming. Arranged in a polka pattern, the circular green units are envisaged to be lent to Istanbulites to provide a new range of Taksim produce: Crisp Taksim lettuce?

A Bus,

Designed for Taksim


Seen as a natural extension of the overall architecture, an electric bus design comes up in the story of Ayşegül, featuring:

autonomous electric drive: free from human error, ‘tosunette’ can safely cruise on the square, together with people at walking pace 

dynamic interior arrangement: with smart-pneu furniture, the cabin can transform between a roomy lounge with few seats and a utilitarian space of full-seated passengers

simple configuration: all the utilities are housed in the structural keel of the vehicle, freeing the whole upper shell for transparency and reflected data visuals.

a look of heritage: the form and colors are based on the legendary “Tosun”

Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 12.43.13.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 12.43.24.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 12.43.51.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 12.44.03.png

Bus Stop: A gate to Taksim Grounds

As Ayşegül, accompanied by her father -and her pet goat- is busy completing her homework on the Tosunette bus, the vehicle is drawing closer to the bus stop by Gezi Park. The main street leading to the square is crowded with weekend strollers, cyclists, vendors and pets. Tosunette gently halts by the stop, opening her glass doors for the passengers to step into an informal welcoming by a group of performers and players on and under the circular canopy of the stop. The bus stop is reflected as a welcoming gate, akin to the city gates of the past with own character of space. It is not just a structure for people waiting for the bus, but a component of Taksim Grounds of distinctive character. Ayşegül, fascinated by the whirling dancers seems keen to stand and watch. Her father reminds her the plan to pluck strawberries from their farming bay. It is hard to leave the scene. People are said to come, just to hang out at the bus stop, their favorite spot in Taksim, just like the kitchen in a house party.


People And Vehicles

At the moments of approach to Taksim Grounds, the full glass cabin of Tosunette gradually becomes a part of the square, with her already attracted passengers seated in a casual manner. The vehicle is traveling at a walking pace, along with the crowds, gently sailing among them. This is possible thanks to a pedestrian-centered algorithm, commanding the driverless bus.  The idea of using a common floor for all traffic-goers is not a new concept. First emerged of bare necessities, (see frames above_Beyazıt Square, 1914 source: Fırat Gökdemir), shared streets begin to come back into the urban life, this time with capital pedestrian safety, lower speeds and automated control of the vehicles. The result is you, walking casually shoulder to shoulder with a mini driverless city bus. Only autonomous and certified vehicles are admitted into the grounds. Quality of daily life comes with a feeling of patience and casualty.   


Buffets and Vertiports

Our trio, Ayşegül-papa-the blue goat, is now walking past a roomy and vivid interior. A wide skylight floods the space with sunlight, a round shaped hall with a Buffets-Kiosk, topped by a landing pad for flying cars in the centre and traffic whirling around it. The smell of fresh cut döner is a solid reason to stop by and watch the scene. 


Urban Farming: For & by the People

The sprinkling energy of the little girl draws her father along to their designated urban farming bay, on the hills of Taksim Grounds. Atatürk Cultural Centre, Trees of Gezi Park and the minarettes are visible above the gentle skyline of slopes. Fascinated by the sight, our trio sets now to pluck the now-red strawberries, their first produce!

Each urban farming bay is fed with water and nutrients through a lattice-work piping along their rim. The bay pods sit precisely into the circular pattern of structural sections. Down below at Anıt-Square, a band is playing a march. Spectators are on the slopes, watching the parade: It is Children’s Day!


A Node for People, 

Flying Cars and Street Food

As the flying car hovers and precisely lands on the circular roof of the Büffet-Node, the döner-master hands out a delicious sandwich to Ayşegül. The space reminds us the lively atmosphere of bazaars with ever going activity. The canopy above holds an array of circular bays for urban farming. A lattice of structural steel sections bears the loads of the roof, and provides a pattern for the piping and lighting fixtures. “An edible park!”  cried out Ayşegül with joy as her father came up with the idea to rent a bay. Now it’s time to scale the green slopes, to find their spot of fresh strawberries.

bottom of page