Project Name : Solmazer House Client/Owner/ Investor : Murat Solmazer Architectural Project : DS Architecture – Landscape Landscape Project : DS Architecture – Landscape Design Team : Deniz Aslan, Elif Çelik, Ceyda Özbilen Project Location : Çatalca, Istanbul / Turkey Design Year : 2005 Construction Year : 2011 Site Area : 29.000 m² Landscape Area : 28.500 m² Photography Credit : Gürkan Akay Text Credits : Deniz Aslan Web : http://www.dsmimarlik.com/
After the earthquake in 1999 which rocked particularly the Marmara Region of Turkey, Solmazer House from DS was designed primarily as an agricultural area. A plantation fiction has been created by years within the rural land of Çatalca in the outskirt of Istanbul. Immediately after the shaping of the landscape, first outbuilding then a single-storey residential building was constructed. The residential structure was located as a deep rural landscape dominated. In every part of land, vegetation was applied before buildings. In time, the inadaptable plants were revised. Efficient snowy landscape wasn’t ignored in the plantation fiction.
At the beginning, the project was identified as reinforced concrete and two-storey at the request of the client/owner, however our request to maintain the design with flat and all-laminated wood construction was approved by the client and the project has been shaped in this direction.
Due to the economic crisis at that time, our estimated budget became much more than we anticipate in field. We divided all components of work and moved on with different practitioners. These events affected both economy and duration of the construction negatively; on the other hand enabled us to stop work when asked and to restart work when required.
Before stating the main features of the project, we mentioned about the client so much because this is the first time that we have experienced such a high level architect-client relationship throughout our business life. So, it is important for us to thank Dear Solmazer for his positive contributions on the project and to state that these contributions and his correct guidance is very important and valuable for us.
As regards to the overall fiction of the project: Land is entered through a green wall and fences of cypress on both sides of the land through the residence have served as a shelterbelt protecting the agricultural land. We would like to specify that Çatalca, despite the proximity to Istanbul, is quite open to the dominant north wind of Thrace and also has a location affected by severe southwester. We have learnt from this effectiveness of natural conditions that the vegetation cover we suppose to recognize very well cannot be created without ensuring optimum conditions.
Fruit and vegetable garden between the main entrance and residence is divided with poplars. Here, there is a outbuilding in which the family; serving for garden care of the area between the entrance and the house, resides. This building is the first structure on the land that we produced. In time, this construction and its environment has become a mini farm with poultry, small cattle and bovine animals. It has enabled us to experience very practical information especially in vegetable gardening. We have learnt by experience how agriculture is labor-intensive process and how nature and human relationship is sharp.
Despite our mistakes while creating plant tissue, eventually we managed to establish a framework adapting to this geographical position. Within the elapsed time, the orchard and our semi rural design had fit together and suitable scale was obtained. By the way, we carried out the works of vineyard, orchard and gardening that we anticipated. These nature experiences also gave us a lot of clues for the residence that we had designed for Solmazer family. The residence consists of simply “L” plan. The long side of “L” plan consists of living room-kitchen-bed rooms and the other short side consists of guest rooms. All rooms have direct access to outdoor opens and so every room is possible to be reached from both inside and outside of the house.
The entrance facade (north side) is a masonry construction supported by vertical and horizontal beams. The main structure of house consists of laminated wood-frame and metal ties. Small number of light bands in the entrance facade lightens the corridor. Inside, entirely of wood and gas concrete surface are connected to each other with metal clamps. Apart from these, all system consists of laminated wood, metal, glass and plywood.
The central area of the long side is the common life unit that intertwines the living and kitchen with two-storey height following the kitchen. All south side with the pool in the garden dominates the natural landscape and is transparent with enough light. The industrial type metal kitchen in the interior harmonizes with wooden system and basic materials. Veranda along the south façade protects the house from sunlight by pergola and enables practical open-field living. The lime tree inside corner of the garden of “L” structure has been planted for shading and smelling through inside with the wind in time. The pool which is the important element of upper garden has been considered as level water surface for both swimming and as biological and has been evaluated as a cooling element of summers in particular. As long as coming closer to the stream at the bottom of the land, the water level reaches almost 20 cm. So it has enabled us to use waterfront plants and particularly kinds of arundinaria and to create a small poplar wood/grove.
We had problems with the clamped metal roof covering of the building. Construction system based on entirely building-up caused trouble with the roof that we didn’t expect. Especially because of the faults of manufacturer, the unexpected isolation problems emerged. Dear Solmazer’s all doubts about the roof became a major growing problem. After manufacturing, no service could be gotten so we had substantial solutions. However, after raining, the metal roof surface returned to the appearance of wrought copper; this wasn’t a foreseen situation! All project team was indicated that architectural fantasy and reality sometimes wasn’t the same. Nevertheless its new color and texture was managed to adapt that environment. This contradiction was a pleasant memory for us.
Sometimes making mistakes and usually learning lessons from mistakes, we have lived this process with the family of Solmazer. This process has enabled us to actualize both rural and an ordinary residential fiction and has guided us for our architectural life. Within all these processes, Dear Solmazer hasn’t given up hope from the project and has provided an opportunity for the project to be developed with his highly rationalist management and his fair and good questions; and these contributions has made possible for the process to be completed and become usable within the last one year even if it’s late.