Istanbul neighborhood of BESİKTAS, fishermen, fanners, and residents have always congregated in a triangular plaza in the heart of the business district to buy and sell fresh fish and produce. As of December, those age-old activities are taking place beneath a strikingly modern form. The Turkish architecture firm GAD has designed a market pavilion that offers not only items of sustenance hut also an optimistic symbol for the area’s future.
"We started by thinking of the whole design as a shellfish, like a crab,” says Ozlem Avcioglu, a partner in charge of marketing at GAD. The architects then sliced away the sides of the shell to open it up to the daily life of the surrounding cobblestone streets, perfectly weaving the alien structure into the city’s historic fabric. The interior is column-free so as not to restrict movement in the area. "People can easily jmiss by or go right through it," Avcioglu says. "And even while they’re Passing by, they can s<*<* right in.” The space is also bright and inviting thanks to nearly a hundred edison bulbs dangling from the ceiling on red cords—a typical lighting scheme for an Istanbul market. updated with a splash of color.
The fishermen initially asked Beşiktaş's mayor. Ismail Ünal, for a new pavilion, but the neighborhood ultimately took full responsibility for making it happen. GAD completed the design work pro bono, the tile manufacturer VitrA donated materials, and area shopkeepers raised money to pay for the construction themselves. Where market vendors had previously set up their own haphazard tables (which sometimes led to concerns about cleanliness), they now present their goods in custom, polished stainless-steel bins beneath a canopy that protects against inclement weather. But Avcioglu emphasizes that the structure is more than just a sanitary place to do business: the community has plans for further updates to older buildings and conditions at street level. "This is the first step of a major neighborhood improvement,” she says.