from the remnants of the past to the functions of the future : GoldenTrail

Golden Horn is an extraordinary geographical formation at the confluence point of two old rivers Kagithane and Alibeykoy creeks, meandering approximately 8 kilometers, expanding to the Bosphorus, splitting the European side and isolating the old city from the newer one, defining the historical peninsula. 


it has been in the middle of wars overthrowing greatest empires, in glooming dreams of traveling artists, and in glowing eyes of rejoining lovers, it was even subject to demigod legacies of Greek mythology dating back to seventh century BC. 


Istanbul’s Golden Horn or Haliç, meaning “estuary” in Turkish which is not the issue in a geographical manner, is one of the world’s largest natural harbors and has also served for industrial purposes for many years which doomed its failure. the shorelines of the Golden Horn have been transformed into a cultural and green site category after it lost its main function as an industrial harbor site.


while the competition is about designing about 20 kilometers shorelines of the Golden Horn, it had been segmented into 7parts all having their unique characteristics and existing functions as in connection to their related districts. 


along the shoreline of Fener, Balat, Ayvansaray, and Eyup districts, which are exceptionally homage to various religions, cultures, and structures, like the fortifications, “Golden Trail”, is a regional recreational corridor that creates a unique environment both for residents and visitors, connecting people and the neighborhood to the waterfront, using the remnants of the ever-changing relations of the city wall and the shoreline, as an inception point for the design. At the time, the shallow shoreline had been filled-in to make new land for the growing industrial area and the effect can be easily traced back to the city walls from the archived maps of Istanbul. This changing shoreline effect is used to determine the mainly filled-in areas and excavate back to wetlands to give back to nature, forming habitats suitable for wildlife and filtering the water naturally and maintain sustainability while a “golden trail” is flowing through for people to observe and enjoy the moment, with the aim of a more balanced environment. 


the project site has 5 distinctive characteristics of rail, land and water relationship and Golden Trail is segmented into these island zones consisting of “sports and events”, “rest-and-play”, “museum and exhibition”, “fragrance garden”, and “urban garden” sections. 


one of the main problems in this area is that the districts mainly have limited access through few lost ports that faded into streets long ago along with the newly constructed light rail system in which its transitions also do not correspond with the few city wall ports and obstructs the waterfront. As a solution a linear filtering “fragrance garden” is formed that generates new shortcuts and long runs to the existing rail transitions, giving way to more colorful, joyful, and sensorial strollings along the main road and expanding the area for pedestrians and cyclists.


the project site has 5 distinctive characteristics of light rail, land, and water relationship. Golden Trail is expanded into these islands consisting of several different functions. zone1 is layered for sports, training fields, and playgrounds that are located on lower elevations to create a natural protective border and event spaces for concerts, and festivals in direct contact with the waterfront. 


zone2 has the densest tree stock and the widest land area on the whole site and the invisible functions are mainly about uniquely relaxing experiences and forgetting about the day. the Golden Trail meanders along the waterfront, extending the shore,  creating diversified layers and relations with the green and blue. 


standing alone in between the light rail system and vehicular traffic, Zone3 features the historical Feshane building as transformed into a “history and future museum” with supportive lightweight structures that enhance the industrial legacy of the region in a social, economical and cultural way involving the user in its cultural and artistic functions, embodying it to the public space.


zone4 is the fragrance garden, a linear arboretum that lays in between the road and rail, comprised of distinctive types of and peculiar odorous herbs, flowers, and trees composed in harmonious colors according to seasons contributes to the natural life of plants and animals, slows down the vehicular traffic, widens the pedestrian area and generates lively and sensual filtering and transition effect from the introvert neighborhood to the interrupted waterfront.


the existing main road turned into a pedestrian-only service shared street for a more lively commercial neighborhood connection on the fortification line, zone5 has scattered micro-urban farming and gardening areas in between historical buildings that emerge from the old trails of various ateliers and factories that used to be there. 


Golden Horn Waterfront Design . 2020 . ISTANBUL . Turkey . 360.000m²    //2nd Honorable Mention