To be located in Galata, a historic neighborhood at the crossroads of Istanbul, the Golden Horn Library looks across the waters of the Golden Horn to the historical Peninsula, overlooking the seven hills of Istanbul, each hill crowned with its own monument. These seven hills represent the history of old Constantinople, surrounded by historic city walls. Views of the dancing domes of the seven hills, and the iconic Galata Tower, provide a silhouette of the city over the Golden Horn.
The profiles of the monuments and the axiality of the seven hills pointing towards the Galata Tower form the main roofscape, with the three closest hills inspiring the roofscape housing the functions of the library and learning center. The remaining hills, set further away, provide a smooth transition between the building and the landscape, functioning as a sort of plinth of public space between interior and exterior.
Sectionally and proportionally, the nearby Azapkapi Sokullu Mosque, designed by the great architect, Sinan, sets the precedent, with its elevated prayer hall almost floating over the city to protect the interior against the bustling city noise. This strategy was duplicated to insulate the library and learning center from noise. Beneath, the ground level houses the busier and noisier activities of the auditorium, a spiralling children’s library, and a restaurant.
“The Golden Horn Library is a beacon of knowledge in Istanbul, and it aims to be an instrument of connectivity between symbols of the city on both sides of the Golden Horn, while radiating energy into the city,” says Alper Aytac, Principal Architect.
Photo Credit: Alper Aytac