İzmir ― "reconstructed": fire, image, language

Yanar, Arzu Beyza
This study develops around a number of workshops organized in İzmir in 2013 with the collaboration of İzmir Institute of Technology students. In these workshops, a city map of Izmir of 2010 is given to the participants with the area selected which was burned in the Great Fire of Smyrna of 1922. The participants were expected to achieve collective spatial détournements within this tabula rasa condition, either following the traces of the plan or free from its restrictions, but with their spontaneous "playful-constructive behaviours". Détournement is a term borrowed from the Situationist International which has been a "radically transformative" and "socio-experimental" group of 1960s. It refers to the "appropriation" of any cultural elements, "subversion" of their meanings and their relocation in different contexts that embraces the "revolutionary propaganda". The primary focus of the thesis is to explore how détournement can become an agency to emancipate urban space and architecture from the burden of canonizations, conventions and "external" influences. Following the Situationist principle that the theory cannot be considered separately from the practice, this study conducts four groups that collectively construct four different situations through workshop experiences, and examine the results obtained from these four situations with reference to Situationist terminology. Likewise Constant's New Babylon project, these four situations cannot be considered as urban planning projects but they all posit models of "Unitary Urbanism". More than anything else, they propose a critique of the existing situation of the city after fire, the critique of Danger and Prost‘s plans, the constructed hierarchies within the city, and social segregation. Regardless of its geographies and conditions, this thesis sees the Situationist International movement as a reaction far beyond being nostalgia. Such an investigation enables us to explore the recent contributions of Situationist urban tactics for the "reconstruction" of the city İzmir.
Citation Formats
A. B. Yanar, “İzmir ― “reconstructed”: fire, image, language,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2014.