Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Distribution Test

I am still aiming to keep the idea of setting up a direct relationship with the existing buildings and wider context.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Working on the Brief

centre for the building is consciously shifted 
Unquestionably the transept is the centre in the gothic cathedral. In a secular extension, this centre of the crossing is deliberately ignored and the centre point for the ambulatory is taken as the centre of the building.

new entrance to Basse Oevre 
The radius of 60m allows the extension to meet the opening/demolished roof section at the south east of the old church to be replaced by Beauvais cathedral which can also become an alternative entrance.

dividing the mass into three general levels 
The cathedral is 60m high including the roof. Divided into 4m levels, it becomes 15 levels for the extension. First 6 levels reach the level of triforium. This section requires to be the structural base for the rest of the extension. Next 6 is sandwiched between the start of the roof and the end of the first 6 levels.

facade density in terms of rings 
Facades will become denser as moving outwards in plan, since apartments are located at the outer rings, privacy will be provided by this rule. The inner rings require to let the maximum amount of light into the cathedral therefore sparser structure right next to the cathedral would be the right decision.

new west facade is a hologram screen 
Facade of the cathedral is always used for communicating the christianity with the public. Statues of Jesus, French kings, bishops, stories from Bible are all located around the entrances at the west, south and north, but mainly on west facades. Although the extension has a secular programme, the west facade include messages for the public through hologram technique.

replacing the temporary supports
The new system will be replacing the existing supports between the flying buttresses. Also the timber supports in the transept will be removed.

Saturday, 30 April 2011


Beauvais is a small French city at the outskirts of Paris in Northern France. The city has 60.000 population however it hosts the most ambitious gothic cathedral ever built with the highest vault by 48m. The cathedral is incomplete due to the collapse of its 153m central tower in 1570.

The city's growth pace is not likely to change in the next decade. Although the city's airport, Beauvais Tille is becoming important for the use of Paris visitors. Ryan Air and other European economy airlines use this airport for the passengers of Disneyland and Paris.

Our cities today are defined by destinations instead of their whole urban identities. Bilbao is Guggenheim, Sydney is the Opera House, London is Swiss-Re, New York was the World Trade Center. Beauvais already has its own icon that is built with extreme craftsmanship and care. Partially renovated by Viollet de Luc but his proposal for the completion of the nave was never got to realization stage.

What makes Beauvais Cathedral very interesting for me is this building is not a touristic destination. Only in lunch time in a weekday the restaurants around the cathedral are packed with people and when it's work hours the cathedral and it's surroundings are empty.

My proposal is about taking advantage of this attention free, lonely icon, turning it into an icon used 24/7 by the city itself instead of aiming for the attention of the people around the world. A selfish use of the great interior and exterior of the cathedral for the city itself instead of a potential audience from Chile, Japan or Australia. Iconic architecture should not be aiming to become still image in handy-cams, ready for consumption; it has to be truly part of the city life it belongs to, similar to the HSBC building in Hong Kong.

The gothic cathedrals were designed for the breath taking experience of the interior with highest vaults that can ever be achieved without any structural interruption, with very controlled daylight entering into the space. However this ambition became reality without the technology we have today therefore Beauvais Cathedral will be collapsing in about ten years of time as it is predicted by Columbia University in New York. Beauvais Cathedral is surviving from this structural weakness with the temporary timber supports built inside.

My proposal will be allowing the removal of these supports in order to fully experience the interior. The project evolved around the exercises as response to the seven chapters from "Seven Lamps of Architecture" book by John Ruskin.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Recovering from the Jury

Looking for a scaling down operation, a more compact proposal after the reviews.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Developing the Extensions

This is how the extension will be supporting the existing flying buttress while also providing circulation to the triforium level.


Approaching the cathedral from south east. The new walkway between the proposed extensions.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Flying Buttress Extensions


I've been editing the work, putting it together for the preview presentation on friday.

There's a new guideline I've found on my last visit to the site which is originated from the chapel walls. Following that line, these triangular "mini mountains" are formed. 4m is the ceiling height for the spaces shown.

There are two levels in these slices, at +4m in this rendering above, below the first level is pulled up to +8m, and the second is at +24m.

Two levels for now.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Endless Survey

The accuracy of the digital model is very important for the proposal. It feels almost an endless process but I've just updated the openings (gray colored). My aim is to understand the daylight entering the cathedral properly after this accurate openings study.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Two Centers

After my visit to Beauvais, I felt the importance of the daylight and how it affects the interior more than anything else in the cathedral.

The challenges for the design is becoming clearer,


Beauvais is not a touristic city, the cathedral should not be treated as a potential tourist attraction. It is more interesting if the amazing interior of the cathedral becomes part of the city life more than one day of the week, the proposal aims to pull people to LIVE around the cathedral, not TOUR.

Beauvais is at the very center of Amiens, Rouen and Paris triangle and its airport is increasingly used by budget airlines and Disneyland Paris visitors.

- Good transportation links to airports, stations and other cities.
- Interesting vistas, pleasurable interactions with the rest of the city fabric, landscape.
- Jobs, only Beauvais Cathedral has three unemployment agencies on the perimeter of the building.


There is an endless, ongoing effort to keep the exterior of the cathedral clean and attractive while the interior requires much less work to maintain itself beautiful and functioning. Also, in terms of structural decisions, flying buttresses were the sacrifice done for the atmosphere created inside the cathedral. The proposal must be a continuation of this effort, celebrating the interior, feeding it with functions that are host around the cathedral.

- Additional structure, supporting the cathedral on the sides. 
- Some of the chapel windows and upper openings will become alternative entrances to the cathedral. 
- It is not affordable to sacrifice from the daylight entering the cathedral. Therefore new openings can be considered.

Lille hosted the great development in 90's developed around the Eurostar International Station. Still the airport of Lille is being used as half of the Beauvais-Tille Airport. While the population of Beauvais is very low in comparison to Amiens, Rouen and Paris.

Since on this triangle all cities have their own cathedrals, I compared the size of Amiens, Notre Dame of Paris, Rouen and Beauvais Cathedrals next to each other with the numbers in the maps.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Bridging the Spaces

The interior of the cathedral is the most important space in the building. I would like to be able to make connections between the spaces around cathedral by bridging the two ends on two sides every time. The challenge by doing so is keeping the sufficient amount of daylight that gives the character to the interior of the cathedral. In the representation above, the walkway height is 4m and the width is defined by the existing openings.
Introducing these connections prevent some of the daylight enter the cathedral, to balance this, the old location for the tower can be opened up again, which can also become the "mountain top" for the proposal.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Flying Buttresses

It has been very busy two weeks with Technical Studies submissions for AA fifth years, therefore the project blog has not been updated. From now on, you can see more updates for the next few weeks.

The resolution for the existing flying buttresses is becoming clearer, sharper with my third visit to the site.
Instead of seeing the arches, horizontal connections as the flying buttresses, focusing on the towers forming the flying buttresses is more valid. They have a potential of becoming spaces themselves since some are 4 x 2 metres sized.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Spatial Tests

Mont Beauvais

The project is a lightweight structural web wrapping around the Beauvais Cathedral, supporting the Cathedral; aligned to the existing flying buttresses as extensions. While doing this, this lightweight web also hosts sequence of spaces to create a compact city around the Beauvais Cathedral just like how cities are attached to the cathedrals in Mont Saint Michel, Laon in France.

Just like how the gothic cathedrals were taking the nature: skeleton structures as their precedents, the project aims to have the same approach by forming a building with columns and arches. Supporting churches with building new extensions has been happening throughout the history just like how Sinan built buttressing for Hagia Sophia's dome and the scaffolding that was removed 2010, stayed inside the building for 17 years supporting the dome for the restoration work.

Monday, 7 March 2011

More Precision

For the TS submission I am focusing on these first four flying buttress extensions in detail.

Even though I've been avoiding to have arches in this extension of the cathedral not to be imitating the old building, For the large spans I would prefer to have arches instead of diagonal crossing steel which makes the building very much look wild / out of context.

More like a spider-web, every perpendicular plane can be stabilized with the use of these arches also across the flying buttresses.