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OVOO Bodrum / Bodrum, Türkiye


OVOO Bodrum

Bodrum, Türkiye
Architectural Project & Design:
Gokhan Avcioglu&GAD
Project Team:
Semih Acar, Oguz Cankan, Irem Sertelli, Zeynep Banu Tekeli, Hasan Berk Aksoy, Pelin Guc, Emirhan Kar, Eda Esen, Omar Alwazani
Building Type:
Construction Area:
9865 m2
Project Site Area:
17748 m2

History of Bodrum, Ancient Halikarnassos

Bodrum, known as Halikarnassos in the Classical period, is located on a historic peninsula in the southwest of Türkiye on the coast of the Aegean Sea. This ancient city hosts a rich architectural and cultural heritage stretching from the past to the present. Of Bodrum's well known historical landmarks the most well known is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus built in the 4th century BC. This monument, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was commissioned by Artemisia, wife of the Carian king Mausolos. Over time, Bodrum has been under the influence of the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, and Ottoman Empire, and significant architectural works from these periods, such as Bodrum Castle, have survived to this day. Historical sites such as Bodrum Castle, city walls, theater, Myndos Gate and the Bodrum Shipyard are other elements that constitute the rich architectural urban texture of the old city. These ruins carry the historical past of Bodrum and traces of different civilizations into the present times. Halikarnassos is also the birthplace of Herodotus, known as the father of history writing.

Vegetation, Bays, Natural Life

The region, under the influence of Mediterranean climate, displays a distinct climate featuring hot summers and mild winters. These climatic conditions allow for rich vegetation and a variety of ecosystems. In coastal areas, plant species such as pine trees, olive trees, and maquis scrubland, which are part of the Mediterranean and Aegean vegetation, are common. In terms of natural life, the Peninsula is rich in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. While marine life includes fish, coral reefs, and other sea creatures, many species of animals live on the land based terrestrial ecosystems. The Bodrum Peninsula's vegetation is distinctly divided into two. West of the Bodrum-Milas road, the vegetation is covered with shrubs, thickets, and thorny plants known locally as "çeti." While the area west of the Bodrum-Milas road is covered with this maquis scrubland, the east is dominated by red pine, wild strawberry, myrtle, and sandalwood trees. The Bodrum Peninsula is known for its bays spread all around the coast, its unique turquoise waters, and impressive natural beauty. These bays are generally known as calm areas where natural life is preserved. Gümüşlük Bay, located on the west of Bodrum, hosts the ruins of the ancient city of Myndos. Yalıkavak Bay is known for its clean sea and natural beauty. Recently, one of the most famous bays, Türkbükü Bay, has become notable for significant holiday resorts, beaches and vibrant nightlife. Torba Bay, located just outside Bodrum, is known for its calm beaches and luxury hotels. For those who want to windsurf, Bitez Bay and Akyarlar Bay are indispensable. All bays of the Peninsula are known for their magnificent scenery and impressive natural environmental setting.

About Aktur Bitez

Aktur Residence, built in 1976, is a residential summer housing and holiday development located on the Bodrum Peninsula. The architecture of the Aktur Residence respects the history, culture, and natural beauties of Bodrum, preserving the local culture. Hills surrounded by olive trees, turquoise seas, and unique vegetation constitute the natural abundance around the site. To meet the demand for summer housing in Bodrum, the then Governor of Muğla in the 1970s, Özer Türk, initiated the establishment of a property development project with a different business model. This project, Aktur, was realized with the designs of the EPA Group following an invited competition in 1973. The lead architects were Ersen Gürsel, Nihat Güner, Öcal Ertüzün, Mehmet Çubuk, with assistant architects Ziya Soyer and Göktuğ Vensürel. Interior design was by Fikret Tan and landscape design by Besalet Pamay. Waste management was managed by Nevzat Kor under the direction of the ITU Environmental Health Chair. The architectural design of Aktur combines traditional, vernacular Bodrum local architectural elements with modern comfort, in harmony with the environment. The sloped terrain features small-scale buildings painted white with plaster, integrated with local stone textures in certain places. Terraces offer residents maximum benefit from the surrounding natural beauty. Aktur Houses, inspired by the texture of the traditional built environment, consists of several core modules and aim to offer users their own living space with different compositions. The white walls and prismatic masses of the residences reflect the unique concept of Aktur and maintain its importance today with dynamic street patterns constructed in 1976. However, over time at Aktur, additions and expansions have been made by the owners and users without the necessary consultations, permissions and approvals from the project architects, distancing the general architectural atmosphere from its initial architecture concept. Additionally, use of the beachfront continues with the same carelessness. Maintenance and repair workshops from the activities of the construction season are another factor creating a haphazardness in the surroundings. We believe that our Ovoo project, located immediately next to the neighboring plot of Aktur, will impact ensure the necessary care for Aktur and other sites in the vicinity will take place.

About Bitez Bay

Bitez Bay is known as the jewel of the Bodrum Peninsula. Its crystal-clear sea and natural beaches make the bay a tourist attraction. The Bodrum Peninsula is also an important destination for yacht tourism, offering comfortable accommodation for luxury yachts and boats. Restaurants around the bay offer the opportunity to enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine. The whole of Bodrum Peninsula is also an important destination for yacht tourism. Its ports provide comfortable accommodation for luxury yachts and boats. Yacht tourism adds vitality to the region's economy and is noteworthy for the presence of architecturally modern marinas. Bitez Bay, one of the most beautiful bays of the Bodrum Peninsula, offers visitors both an aesthetic experience and cultural exploration with its significant architectural heritage. The islands of Kos where the Greek physician Hippocrates was born and lived, Symi, and Rhodes, separated by international borders but a stone's throw away, offer wonderful connections for daily visits by sea when the weather permits.

Architecture in Bodrum

One of the significant architectural elements in Bodrum is Bodrum Castle, which has hosted various civilizations throughout history dating back to ancient times. Bodrum Castle, also known as St. Peter's Castle, is one of the symbols of Bodrum. The architecture of Bodrum has been influenced by its rich history from ancient times to the present day. Contemporary residential buildings, hotels, and holiday resorts are new elements that contribute to the region's architectural environment. Bodrum also stands out as a tourist destination where current and traditional elements come together. This occasionally creates a contradiction, but this charming conflict between the traditional and the contemporary creates beautiful differences and diversities.

Architecture of Ovoo

Ovoo, in Mongolian and Altaic folk belief and Shamanism, refers to small mounds made of rocks, stones, or wood. The stone mounds found along roadsides across Mongolia are also considered sacred. It is believed that leaving something on these mounds brings luck. Travelers walk past an Ovoo, circle it three times (clockwise) and place a stone on it. The purpose is to symbolically receive the energy of good luck from the stone mound. The site plan of Ovoo will prioritize the independent embracing of the view for each unit, regardless of the land right precedents, consisting of 21 blocks with 43 units of various sizes. There are villas and apartments ranging from 5+1 to 2+1 sizes, each bedroom having its own bathroom. In addition, there are 11 villas, one of which is a twin, and 10 apartment blocks, all planned with independent gardens and pools. The project features include pergolas designed with special solid wood and stainless steel connectors to be placed in front of each building. These pergolas aim to aesthetically enrich the buildings' outdoor spaces and provide residents with a pleasant outdoor living area. The design aims to enhance the aesthetic integrity of indoor and outdoor spaces, increasing the comfort and quality of life for users. The daily water needs will be met by converting seawater and wastewater, and the trees and plants used in the landscaping will be selected from vegetation suitable for the Bodrum climate and capable of maintaining ecological balance. The building structure is earthquake-resistant, based on radial foundations, two-story, flat-roofed reinforced concrete. A key difference is that the structures are built on thousands of years old rock masses, providing high durability, rigidity, and environmental sensitivity. The stone cladding is considered a thermal dressing to reduce the effects of the hot climate. The stone facade carries the feature of beautifully reflecting its surroundings at different times of the day.

Beach Club

In the sea front area of Ovoo, there are two different beaches. One of the beaches is reserved exclusively for Ovoo homeowners, while the other is designed for the heavy use of day visitors. Terraces graded in harmony with the existing topography are built on land stones and host daytime and nighttime cafe, bar, and restaurant areas. The terrain slopes towards the sea and has a rocky geographical structure. Retaining walls are made from rocks extracted from the land. These coffee-red toned rocks make the retaining walls blend into the terrain and become invisible. The building facades use yellow-toned Anatolian stones cut in 60-80-120 sizes.

Social Club

Upon first approaching Ovoo, a sculpture garden open 12 months a year is planned as an art gallery that will host both Ovoo's permanent and temporary collections. Additionally, to support young artists, exhibitions, workshops, and "open studios" and workshop spaces for young visitors will be hosted, in addition to visiting artists to stay for a certain period during the winter months. Furthermore, a structure hosting events such as concert areas and open-air cinemas is also under consideration.


Bodrum, in the last century of its three-thousand-year history, was thought of as a place of exile during the Ottoman period and early Republican period. It has regained its old charm and fame, significantly impacted by the intense efforts of writer and historian Cevat Şakir, who was exiled to the island. Cevat Şakir completed half of his three-year exile in Bodrum. After completing the second half of his sentence in Istanbul, he could not stay away from Bodrum, where he had merged with its beloved people and natural beauties, and returned to Bodrum to stay for about 25 years. Adopting the ancient name of Bodrum, Halikarnas, as his pen name, Cevat Şakir worked in various jobs in Bodrum, including fishing. He wrote most of his works in Bodrum. He drew his subjects from the sea-related events developing along the coasts and offshore on the Aegean and Mediterranean Regions. Immersing himself in the free and rebellious sea, which he knew down to the smallest detail, he transferred the tales of fishermen, divers, sponge divers, and ships, strengthened by a rich treasury of terms and mythology, into stories and novels with a poetic, captivating narration stemming from an endless admiration for the sea.

As a person who influenced important intellectuals of his time, such as Azra Erhat, and who has translated about a hundred books from various languages and seen the subsequent editions of his own works, the Halikarnas Balıkçısı realized the first idea and practice of Blue Voyages with his friends during the period he lived in Bodrum. These Blue Voyages included items like cheese, water, Kos biscuit, tobacco, and rakı. Those on the seafaring Blue Voyages did not read newspapers or listen to the radio during the Blue Voyage. The aim was to escape from the world and relax away from civilization. They would spend weeks at sea, only going ashore for essential needs. However, today's Blue Voyages include all kinds of luxury. These voyages have significantly influenced the author's literary works. Since the 1960s, the Bodrum Peninsula has experienced an influx of visitors in the summer; it has not succumbed to the cooperative type of summer house frenzy as much as other bays in Turkey. It is believed that the early decisions on regional protection and the development of low-rise, low-density zoning plans have played a positive role in this. The Peninsula's ability to protect itself under the cooperative name from the real estate frenzies centered on summer houses, dense zoning, and multi-story residences is quite important considering all of Turkey. However, nearby locations such as Milas, Didim, Marmaris, and Kuşadası have not been as fortunate.

Bodrum, located in an seismic earthquake zone, shows through archaeological findings that various tribes have chosen this place for the development of their civilizations and have worked on building systems to counteract the destructive effects of earthquakes, although some of these measures have not been sufficient. The current advantage of not allowing construction of more than two stories is seen as an advantage. In the last quarter century, it is thought that Bodrum Municipality has not received enough state support for basic needs such as transportation, road infrastructure, water, and electricity. (This could possibly be due to a different political preference of the central authority in Ankara.) This situation creates serious problems, especially during the summer months, and seems like a hidden punishment to the local population. In this region, investors who want to make investments in tourism, residential housing, and/or similar projects need to be made aware and encouraged to use environmental resources carefully, to support their investments with alternative energies, and sustain them with encouraging sanctions. Especially after the Covid Pandemic, the increase in both online working opportunities and the "No Space" concept, as well as the desire to live close to the land and nature and raise children, has led to an increase in the number of year-round residents. The majority of the settled population in Bodrum consists of well-educated, urban-cultured individuals with high expectations. This situation increases the potential of the Peninsula to be used as a region for 12 months, from summer activities to cultural and art events. Catching a missed opportunity in almost all settlements in Turkey seems possible through detailed planning starting from Bodrum. In addition to Ovoo, GAD, which has signed many significant projects in the region before, and the GAD Foundation supporting it, do not only consider that the projects add value to their sites but also transform them into regional value contributions.

 The term for the small cairns made of rocks, stones, or wood in OVOO, Mongolian and Altai folk beliefs, and Shamanism is 'Ovoo'. These cairns, found along roadsides throughout Mongolia, are also considered sacred. It is believed that leaving offerings at these cairns brings luck. Travelers passing by an Ovoo typically walk around it three times (clockwise) and place a stone on top. This is done symbolically to draw energy for good fortune from the cairn.