SPECIAL NOTES OF OUR ARCHITECT ABOUT SAFF KAZDAĞLARI

As Aboutblank, we are a structure that combines today’s knowledge, manners and technology with experience from tradition, and we always enjoy including as many actors as possible in our projects. We have an architectural design approach in which the idea and belonging to the place are ahead of every ego. It is actually not very correct to call it architectural design. Architecture is just an interface, a language of the designs we realize. Our focus is always on the life itself that will be sustained within the project. We try to communicate with the life of the piece of nature we shape, the partitions we spatialize, before its form and aesthetics. Because in the end, there will be “life” in the atmosphere that emerges at the end of all this design and labor. In the traditional residential architecture of Anatolia, we see that the courtyard is sometimes called “life”. All spaces are lined up around this life. The main human relations and the feeling of togetherness, the concept of being a family, take place in life, that is, in the courtyard. As an architectural designer, you need to be aware that any intervention you make in this core concept means touching the lives of the people who will live there.

In this project, our area is already the Mount Ida, Ida in mythology…

It is referred to as the place where gods are born, live and communicate with and help humans. I think it has connected to the geography and the energy there. As human beings, we actually maintain our vital functions by consuming different forms of energies in nature. The more pure and undiminished these energies reach our bodies, the more energetic and better we are. I think this is the situation in Mount Ida, I can even say that I know it.

As an individual, I have been living in these mountains for at least 15 days every year for almost 15 years. And I can say that those 15 days are the source of the energy of the rest of my 350 days, both physically and mentally. Today, I interpret the meeting of people with the gods described in mythologies in Mount Ida as follows; Mount Ida is the place where man meets himself… What I mean by this is, what am I as Erhan beyond all definitions? Who am I? And what is my reason for existence? What am I doing that requires my existence as a result of the energies I consume? What should I do?

The whole natural cycle in Mount Ida, the oxygen, the food, the sun, the iodine of the sea, its coordinates on the earth, its coordinates in the universe, whatever you want to call it, makes you think about these things. It allows you to be alone with yourself and your true self. Because the energy you get from nature here is pure. It reaches your body without being involved in any man-made process, without being diminished. After all, a healthy mind and thinking power also exist in a healthy body. Our body is our means of communicating with the world. And it allows you to establish this communication through various performances… By writing, thinking, doing sports, working, producing, making music, painting, sculpting, theater, etc. This is the “life” that we are based on and trying to design in our project in Mount Ida….

Urban life and urbanization have unfortunately detached us from the context of our existence and we have forgotten our ability to coexist with nature. On the other hand, since the metaphysical concepts accepted since antiquity have always been based on a distinction between man and nature, man has acted as if nature is an object that exists for him. This is because man is a being who can think according to his own perception, who can bring things together by establishing cause and effect relationships, and who is constantly developing and transforming as a result. In this way, it is very likely that he sees everything else in the universe as a “resource” that serves this purpose. However, in the last century, we observe that the balance of nature is rapidly deteriorating due to our excessive consumption of resources as human beings. For this reason, we have come to realize, as I have always believed, that a new metaphysical perception must be born, and only then can we survive and develop further. This is actually a very simple approach. Not by establishing superiority, but by living together in the same flow, in harmony. The approach that no one is superior to anyone else, but that we can become even more developed with a common consciousness and a common philosophy of existence… We aim for this approach in the project. This approach is not only to live an organic life in nature but not to consume unconsciously. It is not just a life that uses sustainable energy sources, manages waste, saves water and respects nature. It goes beyond these… This is a circular goal where nature is a partner in our lives, where we learn from nature and nature learns from us, where we produce using nature’s energy and nature feeds on our energy. Only in this way will we be able to build a life in accordance with the geography in which we exist, which is the subject of mythologies and legends.

Technical Features

The project area is a 60,000 square meter area in the Ida Mountains, adjacent to the forest.

Within the area, there is a grove that flows through the forest and divides the area into two. This grove of pine and oak trees already tells us in its own way how we should approach architectural design. In this area, which is 650 meters above sea level, there will be a total of 90 carefully designed wooden houses of two different types. In addition to the wooden houses, there is a boutique hotel structure that we designed for temporary users who want to experience the area. In connection with this hotel, there will be 20 glamping units. Glamping offers a nice experience for people who have adopted the city life to meet with nature. We attach great importance to these units, especially as they offer both comfort and the freedom to be in touch with nature.

In architectural design, we have taken care to design with qualified materials that preserve their own character. We have a simple design approach in which wooden structures are predominant and topographic elevations are organized with natural stones and compacted soils specific to the location. We preferred wood because it is a building material that minimizes the carbon footprint from the production stage to the end user.

In order to diversify the daily lives of the users of the project and to include them in the natural cycle, we have created common areas in unexpected corners of the site. These areas can be a refreshment or meditation stop, or a small square and a pergola covering this square. There will be designs that allow for agriculture and agricultural workshops, art workshops, sports activities, yoga, meditation and artistic workshops that are thought to be spontaneously incorporated into life over time.

The landscape design in our project is not just a background, passive landscape. We aim for an active landscape where people can communicate and offer products that can be included in production. Instead of visually strong plants that require a lot of irrigation, we have a landscape design with plants that already exist in the natural vegetation of the place and are suitable for the habitat of this region.

MSc. ARCH. ERHAN VURAL

MSc. Arch. Erhan VURAL, the architect of the Saff KAZDAĞLARI project, continues her work under the brand name “ABOUTBLANK”, of which she is the founding partner. Aboutblank is a unique brand where architecture and urban design are reflected in all projects as a holistic approach. It adopts a production process that blends site-specific values and experience from tradition with contemporary design approaches and technological infrastructures. It has an efficient and sustainable workflow using the most up-to-date possibilities of computer-aided and parametric design.

He has implemented projects in urban design, city square, city park, life valley and zoning plan scale, especially ecological living villages, housing, mass housing, high-rise buildings, offices, schools, mixed buildings, factories and public buildings. In addition to these, he has won over 30 national and international awards in architectural and urban design project competitions. In 2020, he won the 1st prize in Kadıköy Square Urban Design Competition and in 2017, he won awards in two different categories from the European Property Awards held in London with his two high-rise buildings (Skyblue Kartal and Royal Garden Kartal).

Aboutblank cares about enriching its designs with the perspectives of as many stakeholders as possible. For this reason, Aboutblank has produced joint projects with internationally respected companies such as MVRDV in 2012, AECOM in 2013, KCAP in 2016 and KKAA in 2023.

Aboutblank founding partners are members of Istanbul SMD. In addition to his professional practice, he is a workshop instructor, invited jury member and gives seminars in architectural design programs of many universities.

Erhan VURAL was born in Antalya in 1983. He graduated from YTU Faculty of Architecture with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in 2019. He continues his academic studies in YTU Architectural Design PhD program. His works titled “Parametric Portrait” and “Christmas Tree”, which he created by blending architectural and urban design practices with new generation art approaches, were exhibited at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2019. He exhibits his utopias in the field of Urban Design and Architectural Design as NFT collection in various media.