Press Release:
The Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale

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Istanbul Camialu Shipyard 2016-©IKSV

The Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition Venice Biennale

Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel

The Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia (28 May-27 November 2016) will feature the project Darzanà. Curated by Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar, with curatorial collaborators Cemal Emden and Namık Erkal, the exhibition team of Darzanà consists of Hüner Aldemir, Caner Bilgin, Hande Ciğerli, Gökçen Erkılıç, Nazlı Tümerdem and Yiğit Yalgın. The Pavilion of Turkey, coordinated by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, is located at the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale.

Central to the concept behind Darzanà is the common cultural heritage shared between Istanbul and Venice arsenals, reflecting the trails found in language and architecture on future projections. The title of the project Darzanà shares the same origin with the Turkish word tersane and the Italian word arsenale. For the Biennale, a last vessel, a baştarda will be constructed out of waste materials in Istanbul and transported to Venice to complete the connection between the cities.

Press Conference

The details of Darzanà were revealed at a press conference by the project team on the evening of 7 March at the Istanbul Naval Museum.

İKSV General Director Görgün Taner, Schüco Turkey General Manager Can Eren and Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division Executive Vice President Atalay Gümrah on behalf of VitrA also gave speeches at the conference.

At his opening speech, İKSV General Director Görgün Taner said, “We are participating in this exhibition for the second time, thanks to the permanent venue that we obtained for our country’s use in Arsenale, one of the Biennale’s venues. We believe in the importance of Turkey’s participation in this event and it’s a pleasure to undertake the coordination of the exhibition, which we believe, enriches the creative sector in our country while contributing to the international promotion of Turkey’s contemporary production in this field. Our curators and project team are working on an exciting and remarkable exhibition for the Pavilion of Turkey. I would like to present my gratitude to all the project members, to our sponsors and all the individuals, institutions and corporations who made the Pavilion of Turkey possible.”

Schüco Turkey General Manager Can Eren said, “When İKSV first asked for our support in the Pavilion of Turkey in the International Architecture Exhibition in 2014, we had already had our publicity and sponsorship budget cut down considerably by the central office, due to the negative tendency seen in the economic scene through Europe and the world. Still, the project for the Venice Architecture Biennale was one of the rare international projects we accepted without hesitation, despite the unfavourable circumstances of the time. It’s now clear that our support definitely found the right home. And today we stand here again with you, because we believe that the Turkish architecture should be represented well on this highly important platform and we fully trust İKSV’s competence with its presentation.”

Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division Executive Vice President Atalay Gümrah on behalf of VitrA said,“We believe that our country’s rich cultural heritage and historical texture is a precious opportunity for architecture and city planning, which are vital to all of us. Since our establishment as the VitrA brand, we undertake projects focusing on design and architecture and care for endeavours that improve social life. We are in collaboration and dialogue with all the main players of the sector. We create platforms and support many projects in this field especially for creative minds in architecture to thrive and expand. In this direction, we continue our support for the Pavilion of Turkey in the International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, which was both Turkey’s and İKSV’s dream for years and has been realised for the first time in the last biennial.”

The Pavilion of Turkey Exhibition is coordinated by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, and realised with the production support of Competenza, the contribution of AKDO, and under the auspices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Republic of Turkey. The Pavilion of Turkey is located at the Sale d’Armi at the Arsenale, for a 20 years residency from 2014 to 2034, thanks to the contributions of 21 supporters who have made this possible.

Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel

This project builds a bridge between the dockyards of Venice and Istanbul, borrowing its title from a hybrid word which has its roots in the Mediterranean. The title of the project makes a reference to Lingua Franca, as the term Darzanà corresponds to the Turkish word tersane and the Italian word arsenale in this hybrid language and in fact all three words share the same origin. A Lingua Franca was used in the Mediterranean basin from the 11th to the 19th century between people who needed to communicate with each other, such as sailors, travellers, merchants, and warriors. In the same vein, it is possible to talk of a common architectural language and to define it as Architectura Franca.

Venice and Istanbul, despite their different identities and different dimensions today, both featured considerable dockyards that once reflected one another in size and production. The common core of these dockyards were the shipdecks called “volti” in Italian and “göz” in Turkish – the sites where ships were built and then launched, which were positioned perpendicular to the sea and constructed in proportion to the ships. For the project Darzanà, a last vessel, a baştarda will be built at an abandoned volti at the Haliç dockyards in Istanbul, using the waste materials on site. It will then be taken to Sale d’Armi, the volti that hosts the Pavilion of Turkey, and re-installed there.

Derived from the Latin bastardo, a baştarda is a type of vessel that is a cross between a galley and a galleon, propelled by sails and oars. A symbol of the hybridity specific to the Mediterranean as a concept, it will be the vessel of the project. The baştarda will be a bridge between two shipyards, one which has been left to rot away in the megacity of Istanbul and the other springing to life only at certain times of the year in a museum-city. It will exhibit that which you cannot demarcate water or put a wire fence between words, all the while looking for the clues to transform fronts and borders into thresholds and spaces of consensus. Architectural practice is a field prone to confrontation, conflict, to drawing borders and withdraw, to quitting the profession and taking up other things. The question of whether or not it is possible to transform spaces of conflict into those of consensus by continuing the practice of architecture will be the main theme of the project Darzanà.

Darzanà Book and the Tote Bag

A book will be published to accompany the project Darzanà, which will make use of different archive materials to narrate the history of the dockyards in Haliç from their first establishment through their golden ages to our times when they eventually became unusable. Edited by Feride Çiçekoğlu and featuring texts by Namık Erkal and Vera Costantini and photographs by Cemal Emden, the book will be available in two editions, English and Turkish, at the opening of the International Architecture Exhibition and will later be distributed by Yapı Kredi Publications in selected bookstores. The book and the exhibition’s visual identity are designed by Bülent Erkmen.

Also, a special tote bag for Darzanà made of used sail cloth is designed by Hüner Aldemir.

Pavilion of Turkey Pre-event

A pre-event for the project to be exhibited at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be held on 5 April at Salon İKSV. The curatorial collaborators of Darzanà, Cemal Emdenand Namık Erkal will tell the history of the Istanbul dockyards via photographs and stories. The details of the pre-event to be held free of charge can be followed at

Pavilion of Turkey Selection Committee

The selection committee’s members who chose the Darzanà project among the applications made in response to a two stages open-call, are Prof. Dr. Sibel Bozdoğan, Head of the Architecture Department at Kadir Has University’s Faculty of Art and Design, and Faculty Member at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD); Levent Çalıkoğlu, Director of Istanbul Modern, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art;Prof. Dr. Arzu Erdem, Dean of Faculty of Architecture at Abdullah Gül University; Prof. Dr. Murat Güvenç, Director of the Istanbul Studies Centre at Kadir Has University and Faculty Member at Kadir Has University’s Faculty of Economic Administrative and Social Sciences, Political Science and Public Administration; Yeşim Hatırlı, Founding Partner of Hatırlı Architecture Co. Ltd., Member of the Turkish Association of Architecture in Private Practice, and Visiting Lecturer at the Middle East Technical University’s Department of Architecture; Prof. Dr. Süha Özkan, Founding President of the International Union of Architects; and Prof. Dr. Uğur Tanyeli, Dean of Bilgi University’s Faculty of Architecture.

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition, titled Reporting from the Front, is curated by Alejandro Aravena and organised by la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition will include 88 participants from 37 different countries, as well as 62 national participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Five countries will be participating for the first time: Philippines, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Seychelles, and Yemen.

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