KEY BUILDINGS
February-March 2012
VitrA Contemporary Architecture Series
Happiness Factories: An Exhibition on Commercial Structures

Scope of work: Architectural research, Installation design
Sponsored by: VitrA
The exhibition “happiness factories “ was aimed at providing a  critical look to commercial buildings in Turkey. It was a parallel event to Vitra’s Contemporary Architecture books series.  Different groups, brought together by the curator Saitali Koknar have looked under 19 sections to the underlying effects and space experiences of commercial buildings. PATTU was responsible for the “Key Buildings” section.
 
The main focus of the exhibition was not about simply displaying contemporary architecture but searching for the underlying dynamics. Many “key” buildings in the city actually had little architectural significance. For example Perpa Building on its own has a bigger trading volume than many Turkish cities, but it is probably one of the ugliest buildings in Istanbul. So we did the selection  not according the buildings architectural qualities but according to their attributes, like the “first” the “biggest” , the “highest” etc…  We chose six buildings: IMC, Perpa, Galleria, Isbank Towers, Highway commission building and Forum Istanbul Shopping mall.
 
We searched for ways to compare different aspects of the buildings. We started an in-depth archival research about them and found out that even the most innocent looking ones were realized with many discussions and scandals and decided to do a mapping in which we could compare quantitative data as well as all the relationships, actors, and construction phases of the buildings. A two month researched revealed a lot of information, hidden relationships, scandals, lawsuits, and revealed the processes/actors and their relationships.
 
When all this information was unwrapped, we could understand how similar the process of construction is no matter when and where it is build.
 
An interactive game accompanied the exhibit. We bought an old scale from an antique shop. At one side of the scale we have our key buildings, and at the other side we have some indicators we can compare it to: how many trees can be planted, or social housing build with the amount of money spent on a single building.
TEAM

Cem Kozar, Işıl Ünal, Ilgın Külekçi