Perkins+Will: Physically linking the continents of Europe and Asia, the Bridge has the potential to be a catalyst for public enrichment throughout the region, connecting people with their heritage, with nature, and with each other. On either side of the Bosphorus, extensive forest land serves as a natural tapestry containing quaint fishing villages, historic ruins, and invaluable natural resources. While the region is poised to gain economically from the addition the 3rd bridge, a critical opportunity emerges to promote resource conservation, as establishing a connection between the people of Turkey and the rich natural resources of the Marmara region can have a far reaching impact into the future.
With spectacular cliff views, lush forests, and critical watersheds, the European and Asian ends of the bridge engage several square kilometers of land along the Bosphorus Strait. Factoring in the region’s storied history and the site’s picturesque position at the mouth of one of the busiest shipping waterways in the world, the opportunity emerges for a world class park destination that is both a place for entertainment, and a vessel for ecological enhancement.
The bridge itself represents a significant engineering achievement, and should be celebrated with an actively programmed waterfront park that not only draws locals for a weekend getaway, but tourists all over the world hoping to experience the confluence of iconic engineering and historical immersion. Rather than supplanting a piece of architecture onto the site, the design team responded to the site and the regional context with an architecturally integrated park experience that can only be found along the Bosphorus Strait. By creating a rich public park nestled among the coastal cliffs at the base of the bridge, the Turkish public benefits from engaging history and nature from a 21st century perspective.
The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and Northern Marmara Motorway form a unique opportunity for an iconic waterfront park for the people of Turkey. Just as the bridge physically links Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait, it symbolically links cities and cultures across history. In this extraordinary transitional space, the new public parks anchoring the bridge have the power to connect people to Turkey’s rich history, to the natural landscape, and to each other. Situated on the Bosphorus Strait near the mouth of the Black Sea, the site for Bosphorus Landing Park played a critical role in the economic and cultural development of Istanbul. Trade routes through the strait fueled the growth of the Ottoman Empire while bringing together people from cities and cultures all over the world— from London to Aleppo, Venice to Cairo, and even Paris to Baghdad. Inspired by these historic routes, the bold geometric shapes of the park are the result of projecting direct lines across the site that emanate from global cities once interconnected by the Ottoman Empire. In its modern form, Bosphorus Landing Park celebrates Turkey’s rich history and future.
Drawing on the principles of historic Turkish garden design, the park establishes a performative landscape through constructed nature. Traditional Turkish gardens were practical, but valued a sense of harmony with nature. Likewise, Bosphorus Landing Park creates an interplay between structured and natural spaces. Whether terracing the landscape, constructing pavilions, or embracing the natural flow of water, architectural elements are thoughtfully integrated with the natural topography. In this spirit of harmonious, site-specific solutions, these anchor parks are being developed within areas already disturbed during bridge construction in order to preserve natural areas which remain largely untouched. This ecologically sensitive strategy necessitates a place-based model of design. Bosphorus Landing Park will perform as a living machine, filtering storm water runoff from the bridge and highway, significantly reducing the impact on local natural resources. As storm water meanders slowly through a series of native planting terraces, bio-remediation gardens, and aquaculture wetlands, it is filtered into clean runoff before it enters the Bosphorus Strait. Re-vegetation strategies for both sides of the Bosphorus will consist of native successional plantings and in situ nurseries to encourage tree replacement along the highway corridor. These plants restore the habitat for local flora and fauna, including roosting sanctuaries for migratory birds. Using vegetation native to the Sariyer Province and the Beykoz Province of the Marmara Region is one of many ways the park supports and functions like the larger regional ecosystem. The parks are defined by their relationship to the bridge, and their design supports and restores that specific landscape.
The same experiential elements that bring identity and richness to a place, over time, also elevate it to the level of a regional and even global destination. The park is rich with possibilities for entertainment, observation, relaxation, prayer, learning, and play. Under the cover of a primary green roof, architectural pavilions provide shelter while creating versatile spaces for public art, performance or outdoor dining. Turkish history comes alive in the museum and didactic gardens, while an amphitheater and cafés benefit from spectacular views all the way to Istanbul and the Black Sea. As the waves crash, children play, families picnic, friends gather for a concert or a wedding. A priceless piece of the Bosphorus Coast is within reach of everyone.
The ultimate goal of the design is a compelling experience that draws people to return again and again, through different seasons of the year and of life.