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GANJAN NEW TOWN: LARGE-SCALE ARCHITECTURAL INTERVENTION
Designed by Slash Architects, the mixed use Ganjan New Town project brings together the city’s identity that is being restructured after the war, through social-cultural areas, recreation areas, parks and market areas.
Led by Architect Şule Ertürk Gaucher and Architect İpek Baycan, Slash Architects presents the Ganjan New Town project, which considers the local people’s living habits and addresses all kinds of social and cultural needs of the users in Erbil, which has started a rapid process of restructuring following the war.
CONSTITUING A SUBSECTION of Ganjan City, which started to be established in the outskirts of the city as a self-sufficient unit together with the restructuring that began after the war, Ganjan New Town combines residence, trade and social areas, representing a formation on a neighborhood scale. Located at a point where the large highways that ensure access to downtown Erbil intersect with Ganjan City, Ganjan Town was considered by Slash Architects as an interface through which Ganjan City will be connected to the city, and the design of this interface in a manner that would provide the most correct contribution to the city was considered as one of the most important inputs. Employing computer-assisted calculation methods during the analysis and interpreting urban data phases, Slash Architects aimed to achieve the optimum solution in the most effective way.
In Ganjan New Town, which is located on a long, narrow strip of land which the construction of 380,000 square meter will be applied, residential texture with secure entrances is created at the rear part of the land, while the active city connection road at the front features commercial units and outdoor shopping facilities. Thanks to this concept, the idea of creating public squares and alleys rather than a closed housing estate was made possible. Making an effort to prevent the physical inputs within the blocks from being barred while locating the residential blocks, Slash Architects reduced the number of blocks under the project from 19 to 14 in the light of many analyses and studies conducted on the land and the population and to deal with the concentration of population and to correctly conceive the commercial, residential and social center strategies. The architects, creating an alternative solution to the possible problem of dense population, included in the project the “terrace houses” that constitute a key aspect of the problem.
Ganjan New Town combines residence, trade and social areas, representing a formation on a neighborhood scale.
In order to locate the blocks on the land without intersections and to not affect the security of Ganjan City, a ring road was conceived at the rear of the land for entrances separating the residential areas from the commercial areas. The blocks were located on the rear part of the land, which resulted in the creation of a public area open to utilization by the city population. Indicating that the flexibility achieved during all of these analyses and adaptations, as well as the adaptations of the design to the inputs, were made possible through BIM methods, Slash Architects provided a design that stretches and attenuates the rigidity mass brought about by high-density construction.
Questioning the logic of residential towers on bases, Slash Architects aimed at creating human-scale spaces that take landscaping into consideration, by structuring the high-density and mixed-use land from the road side. In the project, in which zoning and security criteria were considered as yet another design input, the aim was to conceive an outdoor shopping and social spaces complex that would meet Erbil’s need for a social recreational area, while increasing the motivation of people coming from the city center to the region. At the center point of the plot of land, the recreational spine planned to extend horizontally, and the social spaces located on this spine, formed the project’s main strategy. The design of a green recreational band extending along the plot, including the social and cultural areas and sports fields, conceived to be combined with the parks, playgrounds and outdoor organic markets, extended the experience and continuity of the outdoors to the entire plot of land, increasing the surface area of the commercial fronts.
Under the project, which prioritizes the ground permeability, the ground floors and the upper floors of the structures conceived as facing the road were planned as social and commercial spaces. In the neighborhood, which was designed as the new social life center of the city of Erbil, considering its location and functions access to the plot of land from the highway front was achieved by placing heaped masses on the road side. The privacy of the plot of land against the Ganjan City region was controlled through the single-front commercial bases placed at the rear.
GANJAN NEW TOWN ENSURES TRANSFORMATION NOT ONLY ON A REGIONAL SCALE, BUT ON AN URBAN SCALE…
Ganjan New Town, as a neighborhood, was designed in a structure that would contribute to the living habits of not only the residence owners, but also entire population of Erbil, and would recover public areas for the urban population. The conceived recreational axis and the commercial street located at the beginning of the plot and achieved a continuity in circulation. With this intervention, the three separate foci on the plot were converted into urban attraction centers.
The strategy of horizontal houses and vertical houses, which is embedded in the archetype of the project, led the creation of the forms. The tectonics, soft lines and perspectives of the structures aim to address the human dimension, while a structuring allowing the use of terraces was targeted by creating a topography effect as one climbs the floors. The continuous eaves appearing at locations where the structures neighbor each other were converted into elements to offer protection against the sun, in accordance with Erbil’s physical conditions. The alleys created through the use of advanced modeling techniques and potentials brought with them a flexible form. In the project designed in the light of user circulation mapping, the continuity of circulation, while mostly foregrounding the surface in commercial terms, also allowed the creation of intermediate spaces with surprises. One of the most important parameters in this rather large project area was the placement of the perspectives within the narrow plot of land in a manner that does not allow intersection.
While the interrelation of horizontal and vertical residences was achieved through common cores, the use of base areas of the residence blocks with maximum efficiency was targeted. The profile and purchasing power addressed by Erbil due to the current crisis played a role in the flexible conception in planning the residences. The residences were designed mostly as 1+1 and to a lesser extent as 2+1. While this planning accommodates today’s circumstances, the project was kept flexible to allow for the creation of 3+1 and 4+1 residences should purchasing power increase in Erbil within the next 10 years. The private loft flats at the tops of the towers bring variety to residence types, while having an effect on the termination of the structures.