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Darzanà: Two Arsenals One Vessel
Pavilion of Turkey at the
15th International Architecture Exhibition ,
La Biennale di Venezia

Curators: Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet V. Kütükçüoğlu, Ertuğ Uçar
Curatorial Collaboration:  Cemal Emden, Namık Erkal
Project Team: Caner Bilgin, Hande Ciğerli, Gökçen Erkılıç, Nazlı Tümerdem, Yiğit Yalgın


Central to the concept behind Darzanà is the emphasis on frontier infringement and on hybridity. Challenging the increasing confinement within borders of religion, language, race, nationality, ethnicity and gender, the common cultural and architectural heritage shared between the arsenals of Istanbul and Venice is highlighted. For the Biennale Architettura 2016, a last vessel, a baştardahas been constructed out of abandoned materials found in the old dockyard of Istanbul and transported to Venice to suggest a new connection in Mediterranean.

The project title Darzanà means dockyard and it is a hybrid word, like the Turkish word tersane and the Italian word arsenale. These words are derived or distorted from the same root, the Arabic dara’s-sina’a (place of industry). They all originate from the common language that developed in the Mediterranean from the 11th to the 19th century among people such as sailors, travellers, merchants, and warriors. Known as Lingua Franca, this was a shared language when Mediterranean was the main vessel connecting the surrounding cultures. In the same vein, it is possible to talk of a common architectural language and to define it as Architectura Franca.

Despite their very different identities and populations today, Venice and Istanbul once both featured considerable dockyards of similar sizes and production. The common core of these dockyards was the shipsheds called “volti” in Italian and “göz” in Turkish. The shipshed is the building block of a shared architectural heritage; its proportions grow out of the dimensions of boats and of common building technologies. It is like an archetypal womb, which gives birth to boats and lets them float out to other ports. Darzanà links a shipshed of İstanbul with a shipshed of Venice by a vessel. For the project Darzanà, a last vessel, a baştarda was built earlier this year at an abandoned shipshed at the Haliç dockyards in Istanbul.


Design and Production Leader: Caner Bilgin
3D Modelling and Installation: Serdar Albaz, Yiğitalp Behram,  Burak Sancakdar,  Hüseyin Komşuoğlu
Lighting Design: ZKLD Studio
Lighting of the Arrtwork: Linea Light by TEPTA
Structural Consultant: Necati Çeltikçi

In Istanbul, Baştarda was constructed beneath a reproduction of the wooden trusses of the hall of Sale d’Armi in the Venice shipyard that hosts the Pavilion of Turkey. Measuring 30 metres long and weighing four tons, the vessel was built from more than 500 pieces    including seven kilometres of steel cable and abandoned materials found on site including wooden moulds, discarded furniture, signboards and boats. In April, the components were shipped to Sale d’Armi, where Baştarda was re-constructed in May for the Pavilion of Turkey. When La Biennale closes in November 2016, Baştarda will continue her journey and she will eventually become the centrepiece of a museum of arsenal in Tersane, when the site is opened to public in Istanbul.

Darzanà’s main theme raises the question of whether it is possible to transform borders, fronts and other spaces of conflict into thresholds and spaces of consensus. In this vein, Baştarda becomes a vessel of frontier infringement. She came to Venice, and she will eventually go back to İstanbul, travelling back and forth, just as the languages, the      architectural forms, and people of the Mediterranean, have done throughout history. She will continue to tell her stories, and to show that one can trespass borders within cities or between cultures. Reporting from Darzanà, one can see the futility of demarcations on the seas and in between the words.

All images © 2016 Caner Bilgin

All images © 2016 Caner Bilgin

All images © 2016 Caner Bilgin

All images © 2016 Caner Bilgin

All images © 2016 Caner Bilgin


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