Urban-spatial analysis of mass housing environments: mapping Batıkent in search of alternatives to generic housing

Küreli Gülpınar, Ece
Living environments in Turkey are shaped with generic housing blocks implemented by public and private actors operating in the mass housing production. Despite the relative diversification and pluralism that started in the 1980s, mainstream housing practice has given rise to the spread of stereotypical patterns and types forming the morphology of cities over time. Nevertheless, alternative searches for the architecture and planning of mass housing have managed to find little gaps for realization. Batıkent stands out as a striking model for being the largest project realized by cooperatives and an alternative solution against the increasing housing shortage in Ankara. The lack of space and place qualities in today's residential environments has created a research axis where Batıkent can be examined as a benchmark. The current study aims to analyze Batıkent with maps and diagrams prepared on the scales of city, neighborhood, urban block, and building block and to assess housing environments that are alternative in terms of the spatial organization and urban image characteristics. Therefore, it establishes a conceptual framework that primarily examines three urban design theories (i.e. figure-ground, linkage, and place) compiled by Roger Trancik to develop fundamental approaches to the formal analysis of urban space. The study develops a set of elements defined for the architecture of mass housing, which are (i) dimensional properties, (ii) building typologies and collective forms, and (iii) urban image experienced at different scales. The applications of this integrated approach are initially examined through prominent mass housing experiments in Europe, built between the 1960 and 1980s. The integration of these elements with three theories of urban design is implemented in Batıkent as an analysis method via mapping. The resulting series of maps show four generations of spatial organization in the housing environments, a mainstream point block typology, besides a number of cooperatives that cannot be considered in this prevalent solution. Among alternative settlements, “Batıkent City Center Housing Area A” project is analyzed and presented as to its unique qualities of scale, collective form, and powerful urban image. The study discusses the results of a functionalist zoning program that originally pre-determined the cooperative settlements in terms of density and typology. It states that a great variety of environmental images reflect a non-holistic urban design that resulted in each cooperative settlement having different characteristics only perceived within the urban block. The analysis maps visualize some mass housing cases as non-prevalent formal solutions as well as strong elements of the urban image of Batıkent. With all these findings obtained from the research, the study concludes that the settlement lags behind the leading approaches of its period in terms of spatial continuity and legibility despite its achievement as a mass housing experiment that also included alternative approaches.
Citation Formats
E. Küreli Gülpınar, “Urban-spatial analysis of mass housing environments: mapping Batıkent in search of alternatives to generic housing,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.