Kumkapi Maritime Observatory

C  a  l  i  b  r  a  t  e  d    H  o  r  i  z  o  n  s
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“Counting Ships passing through the Bosphorus might be a strange habit, but since I began discussing it with others, I’ve discovered that it’s common among Istanbullus of all ages: in the course of a normal day, a large number of us make regular trips to our windows and balconies to take account, and we do so to get some sense of the disasters, deaths and catastrophes that might or might not be heading down the straits to turn our lives upside down”, Orhan Pamuk, 2005.*

2011-2012 | Istanbul
This project sets to form a physical translation of the phenomenon of ship-counting in the form of a Maritime Observatory. This Maritime Observatory is located in Kumkapi [Sand-Gate], an Armenian fishing district and one of the original gateways through the city walls; it is located to the south of the historic peninsula of Istanbul. Over time Kumkapi has been disconnected from the sea with the addition of a motorway and park at its edge. The motorway now lies where the fishing village Acemdagi once sat which was famously recorded by Ara Güler. Two towers observe each other, one from sea and one from land. Viewing from each tower the other offers increments in which to gauge scale and distance of the city or sea. From the connecting pier, old men swim, young men fish, children bathe and fishermen drink coffee. Kumkapi Maritime Observatory is set to rebuild the lost fishing village of Acemdagi and reconnect Kumkapi and Istanbul to the water’s edge.


*Pamuk, O., Istanbul, Memories and the City, Faber and Faber, London, 2005.