Auto as Utopia
Autopia is an automotive shopping mall designed around the automobile with the client brief specifying the centrality of the vehicle in the scale and program of the building. The building located on a major highway in Istanbul, Turkey is in fact a hybrid between a parking garage and a shopping mall where the parked cars are for sale yet allowing for pedestrian circulation. This unique program dictated an original structure with 6 meter floor-to-ceiling heights and expansive indoor spans that gives the interior a decidedly outdoor sense of space and light. On the facade the building employs a galvanised stretch metal screening that blurs the large building’s mass while providing opportunities to embed graphics and lighting. The overall proportion and scale of Autopia is based on cargo ships and airplanes giving the building a feel of a large vehicle. The sweeping, round forms of the architecture supported by the series of roadways and ramps going in an out of the building provide a sense of movement and motion to this unique typology that was intended to serve as a benchmark for similar large automobile showrooms in Istanbul and Turkey.