Science Center

İzmir, Turkey
General Square
6 500 sq. ft.
National Competition
2016 (Competition)
İzmir Municipality
Burak İlhan
Green Building Expert
Mirbek Bekboliev
Electrical Engineer
Tayfun Can
Civil Engineer
Erdinç İbaş
Mechanical Engineer
İbrahim Çakmanus

Architecture is a way of portrayal that creates its image before the actual object. During the design phase, architect observes his/her creation from angles that users will never be able to see. Even though this feature of architecture allows complex problems to be solved visually, sometimes it breaks the bond between design and reality. The masses that rise without respect to the limited visual characteristic of human eye eventually lose the characteristic language they had formed during the design phase, and become alienated to the users. For these reasons, Bornova Science Center is designed with respect to visual references to context and functions. Circulation paths are connected to each other on their tangents inside and outside of the project site and thus, create relations between each other and use the whole building as a exhibition object. The building aims to create a micro cosmos that children can feel themselves safe to encourage them to explore their potentials by fictionalizing an introverted typology. Whole building acts as a canvas for them to express themselves. In this sense, implementation of the design is the first step that shapes the building whereas the second step will be creative activities of children.

The project site is located in a residential area with Ege University Campus and Forum Bornova on the north. There are significant education, health and commercial centers in the vicinity. Borders of the project site is determined by zoning plan rather than natural restrictions. The continuous lines in the project are determined by implementation master plan. Vehicle circulation axis on the east of the project connects existing carparks on the north and south. The main circulation axis that divides the ground floor in east-west direction is bent to protect the privacy on the eastern courtyard and connect important nodes on south and west. The axes that shape the ground floor plan protect the grid system of existing residential fabric whereas main circulation axis breaks the harmony to create contrast. Visitors are directed from both ends of this axis to the controlled north entrance to the exhibition area. The building opens itself to the south and west in a controlled manner, east with a visual connection and it completely breaks the bond to the north. On order to keep the connection with the courtyard in both floors on the east part, circulations are solved in open area.


While doing sustainability analysis on the site location, LEED-v.4 standards are used. The biggest problem of the site is access to mass transportation. This feature of the site disconnects it from the center of Bornova. Although FTE (full-time equivalent) of the building program is not very high considering the density of surrounding residential buildings, the site is isolated by surrounding centers in macro scale and it is going to require a solution for transportation in the future. When daily vehicle densities are analyzed, it is understood that in the north, 372. and 1172. streets, are specified as the main vehicle axes in the site. These axes are connected on the east of the site to form further connections with the existing carparks and underground parking area in the building. While vehicle traffic is kept in the east, on the west, a small scale square is formed to prepare the visitors to the science center before they enter.

The outer shell of the building hides its complex structure. The shell is designed in a figurative manner to create a volume that children can feel free and secure. The workshops that are hanging from the shell, are the "tree houses" of children that will be shaped by them. The precast concrete walls rise from green areas wait for visitors to shape them. These walls form a canvas that allow writings and paintings on them to reflect the inner design qualities of the building. The main façade is determined as the south façade because of the educational facilities on the south. The south facade becomes a building size exhibition object by exhibiting itself with its connections to surroundings and its user dependent workshops and walls.

The exhibition space forms its vertical connections with vertical cores as well as stairs that are placed in different places with different charactersitics. The science center in the north, forms its connections in itself. In the north, stairs in front of the reading space connects that floor to the private space in the ground floor. This way, public and private study areas are kept connected while an alternative common space is created to the corridor that connects the workshops.

İzmir's climate allows users to enjoy open areas. For this reason, on the west part, the circulation between public areas is solved in the within the courtyard. Birthday celebration room and cafeteria are connected with foldabla doors since it is understood that FTE of birthday celebration room shall be significantly lower than other spaces. These two spaces have a common kitchen. Cafeteria is connected to both courtyard and south area to allow visitors experience both spaces.

The users are evaluated in three groups: visitors, staff and the children who are expected to feel themselves at home. In the building usage scenario, it is expected that visitors shall use tickets to visit the exhibitions whereas children will be using their ID cards. Although whole western courtyard has the capability and potential to act as the foyer of the multi purpose hall (MPH), the entrance of the MPH is divided from the rest of the courtyard by embedding on a lower code.

Emergency stairs are connected to the terraces on the west and they became a part of the design. Whole building is designed according to usage of disabled people. Acoustic suspended ceiling panels are used in the MPH and modular mesh ceiling is used in flexible exhibition spaces to hide mechanical fixtures.