The Besiktas Fish market Project is a notable effort by the community of Besiktas to revitalize the neighborhood. Besiktas is one of Istanbul’s most populated and diverse neighborhoods. It is an eclectic area with a hectic yet village like atmosphere that is in the process of urban preservation and renewal. Located on a triangular site in the heart of the neighborhood’s commercial district, the market is very well-known. Throughout the day, it is bustling with people as many locals and visitors buy fresh fish and produce. Since the structure of the old fish market was in dire condition, there was a desire to rebuild it. Besiktas Fishmarket Project team was assembled to work directly with the municipality and local merchants to organize an effective project strategy.
GAD Architecture and Gokhan Avcioglu started the design process with a series of manipulations of the triangular site and its ground surface. The inflating the surface was a quick indicator of the possible symbolic nature of the site and project. To achieve a public and welcoming appearance, the surface was pierced along its periphery. This technique created a hollow, porous form allowing program and circulation to easily mix and flow. Besiktas Fishmarket was developed into a simple yet iconic concrete and steel seashell-like form covering the site with large openings at street level. The sturdy porous shell provides a column-free interior space, optimizing the project’s programmatic needs, a dramatic market space. Both the underside and top of the shell could be used as a platform for artistic installations. The interior volume is divided into 6 display sections of various sizes. The 6 sections are joined by circulation that easily connect all the sections and extend to the larger urban fabric. The display cases were hand-crafted by local experts as continuous stainless steel forms. For the lighting system, the design maintains the traditional use of hanging light bulbs; common for fish markets in Istanbul.
Overall, the new design presents a contemporary and pragmatic solution for the famous Besiktas fish market; it has become a proud beacon of the community’s effort to improve the market and neighborhood.