M1 MEYDAN Merter, Istanbul 2005 - 2009 Making Connections The project serves the densely populated Merter district, a predominantly residential area although it does contain a lumber industry factory and an old established brewery. The new building is responsive to local needs but, being located at the junction of main arteries, also attracts shoppers from the wider metropolitan area. Conceptually the building is akin to a giant ‘market stall’. The exterior walls are permeable and transparent and in the manner of an open market shoppers are able to wander in from several directions. The building comprises three main spaces – a hypermarket at the basement level above the two-storey underground parking lot, a flexible space for retail outlets on two upper levels, and a pedestrian link that forms an integral part of the network of neighbourhood connections - all unified beneath a generous roof. The retractable roof is a feature of the architectural form; the dramatic overhanging canopy, with the irregular transparent rectangular openings giving way to daylight, extends 8 meters at each side of the terraces. The land has a significant slope: Mehmet Akif Street is approximately eight metres lower than the rear of the site. The hypermarket entrance is located at the lower level facing a park, whereas the main access to the retail shopping is two floors higher, from London Road. The two streets are connected via a pedestrian route or ‘passage’ that commences at the first floor of the shopping zone, traverses the mall alongside a planted area above the hypermarket and emerges on Mehmet Akif Street at the Metro station, via escalators, elevators or a staircase. The pedestrian route through the building is intended to encourage passing trade and community interaction. There are open and underground parking facilities for approximately 1400 cars. There are additional connections between the hypermarket, the retail shopping area and the underground car park, by elevators and escalators placed at both ends of the complex. The uppermost floor of the shopping zone is designed as two separate modules connected via bridges spanning over the pedestrian route. A separate block houses the Media Market, a department store for electronics and white goods. The shopping mall is a robust design aimed at local people. The corner terrace on both retail floors overlooks the park and it is the location for a busy food court. Other cafes and seating areas are located at the second floor level overlooking the shopping street. The open façades and outward orientation of the retail complex make a significant contribution to the district. The units for different shopping functions are composed harmoniously with each other and the environment in integrity. The semi-closed structure formulates the building as an extension of the vicinity and the passage opens the building to the passerby who feels welcomed.