The Pavilion of Turkey to bridge waters between Istanbul and Venice

Titled ‘Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel’, the Pavilion of Turkey at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is a reflection of the two great twin harbours of the Mediterranean sea, Istanbul and Venice.

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.

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 where ships were built and then launched, which were positioned perpendicular to the sea and constructed in proportion to the ships.

For the Architecture Biennale, a vessel, a baştarda will be constructed out of waste materials in Istanbul and transported to the Sale d’Armi in Venice to complete the connection between the cities. 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.


Istanbul Camialu Shipyard 2016 ©IKSV

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. Reflecting on how you cannot demarcate water or put a wire fence between words, Darzanà invites the viewer to look 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 it is possible to transform spaces of conflict into spaces of consensus by continuing the practice of architecture will be the main theme of the project Darzanà.

The Pavilion of Turkey, ‘Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel’
Curated by Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar
Location: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi
Opening date: Thursday 26 May, 13.30