Istanbul (1930s-1940s)/ The Influence of Transportation Plan on Espaces Libres

Henri Prost, as the chief in urban planning Istanbul from 1936 to 1951,  outlined his master plan of Istanbul based on  transportation, hygiene and aesthetics. As mentioned in the previous post, Prost basically reorganized the city by introducing wide boulevards across the existing street network to facilitate transportation. The following of the blog illustrates how the Prost’s transportation plan on the nature of public squares in Istanbul, by looking at the Sirkeci Square (Fig.1)

Fig. 1 Location of Sirkeci on Istanbul Plan. 1937© Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost. Académie d'architecture/Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine/Archives d'architecture du XXe siècle. 343
Fig. 1 Location of Sirkeci on Istanbul Plan. 1937© Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost. Académie d’architecture/Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine/Archives d’architecture du XXe siècle. 343

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 Development of the port area of ​​Sirkeci - Sarahayburnu , Istanbul. 1941.© Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost. Académie d'architecture/Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine/Archives d'architecture du XXe siècle. 343
Fig. 2 Development of the port area of ​​Sirkeci – Sarahayburnu , Istanbul.
1941.© Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost. Académie d’architecture/Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine/Archives d’architecture du XXe siècle. 343

To accommodate the increasing port activities, Prost proposed a double-tier organization (Fig.2), with the road extending from Eminonu lifted to arrive at the upper level at Sirkeci. This level served as a drop off platform with parking and waiting areas, a restaurant, a coffee house and storage units. From the platform, passengers could also access the ships. The road continued and ramped down towards Sarayburnu to arrive at the car-ferry terminal. The lower level served as a loading and unloading platform, with access to cargo trains.

The multifunctional character of the square pragmatically solved the problem of the port by separating functions into two levels while connecting the road to the train tracks. Also, the integration of bus, ship and railway systems facilitated the public transport circulation, especially when railroad transportation was losing prominence to automobile.  Furthermore, the mixed nature of the transformed square allowed a more dynamic urban life by the coast.

Reference:

Sarkis, Hashim. (2006). Two Squares: Martyrs Square, Beirut, and Sirkeci Square, Istanbul. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, Graduate School of Design.

 

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