What would be the best way to memorize a great architect?


To build a fixed museum and display his works? For an architect who changed Istanbul’s skyline dramatically, images and physical duplicates of his works seem to be a rather weak statement. As Le Corbusier once said,


“nothing is transmissible except thought”.


It is the thought, the idea behind the scene, that is more valuable to memorize.


Inspired by “Muqarnas”, which carries the spirit of traditional Islamic architecture with its highly geometrical scheme, and also frequently innovated by Sinan, the proposal creates a set of contemporary MÜqarnas (Mimar-Üsküdar-qarnas) on a human and urban scale, rather than provide a solid answer, but instead to encourage encoding and decoding meaningful urban spaces through flexible and combinable units, to autonomously memorize the architect in serious and daily ways.


Mimar Sinan’s masterpieces are located in two clusters on both sides of the Bosphorus: Europe and Asia continent. The site is located at the waterfront square close to Üsküdar Port, which has the potential to make it a link between the two clusters on the tour routes.As a hub of various transportation modes, the marina square acts as a bilateral gateway connecting Üsküdar with the other side of the Strait. It is not only the portal for tourists to enter Üsküdar, but also within walking distance of strait tube passage line, underground station and bus stops in the Sinan Triangle.The iconic urban installation will become the visual center connecting the two sides of the strait. It will also redefine the large waterfront square that currently does not contribute to the daily life of citizens, and provides a destination for tourists and citizens to stay by the sea.


Muqarnas, an archetypal form in Islamic architecture, its highly geometrical units and carved-out / filled-in patterns symbolizing the complexity and mysteries of the universe. As a structural (later on decorative) part that mediates between two geometries, Muqarnas creates a smooth zone of topographical transition, commonly seen bridging cube and sphere, for example underneath domes, squinches or mihrab.


Inspired by Muqarnas, Müqarnas is thus created. Using the same way of constructing logic, a negative and constructible sculpture of multiple units is carved out. 9 similar but slightly different units are permutated by 3 different heights and 3 diverse types . In compact pattern, a total of 162 units are combined into a monumental matrix of 16.2m x 16.2m.


With unlimited possibilities, 9 basic units can be combined into diverse functions: sitting, skating, lying down, climbing, chatting, bubbling pit, picnicking, dancing, etc.


Thus various urban scenarios are created. The squarish compact layout turns the Muqarnas upside down and serves as an urban sculpture with the ocean and mosques background, creating images of a micro Istanbul with towering minarets and chimneys, or ocean waves in the backdrop of Bosphorus. It summons people and reminds travelers and citizens of the glory created by the architect. Besides the compact layout, there are autonomical ways to invent and explore the urban layout possibilities through the creation of the citizens,such as lineal layout as event theater, Spread-out layout as civic park, Cluster layout as weekly bazaar, Zigzagging layout as art exhibition,etc.


The combinable and multifunctional features require the structure to be lightweight yet strong enough. The glass fiber reinforced plastic material meets both requirements and gives the components an elegant and smooth look.The universal wheel at the bottom allows the unit to be easily dragged by a single person. The knob connected to worm gear can realize the lifting of the universal wheel to adapt to the two states of moving and parking. LED lighting, speaker, sensor, and storage battery are integrated on the top openable cap, which can be easily charged and maintained. Through features of moving/parking and lighting up, the structure is easy to use and maintain, and give the citizens a lot of fun.



Commemorating Mimar Sinan in Üsküdar Competition



Shiqing Liu, Yang Liu