Weldon Pries

Professor, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Architect, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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ISTANBUL STUDIO FALL 2012 All Images and Text © Weldon Pries 2015


Istanbul - The Historic Peninsula

Special Topics Studio ARCH916 5th Year Fall 2012 Professor Weldon Pries

Istanbul and Turkey are emerging as Western, Islamic, and secular societies. Strategically located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, and at the center of world trade routes over land and sea, Istanbul expresses historic and present-day cultural influences in its layering and form, and embraces the diversity of its people, cultures, and civilizations.

The Historic Peninsula, where the soaring mosques, palaces and Orthodox churches rise, is surrounded by the shimmering Sea of Marmara and Golden Horn, a natural harbor of transportation and commerce. The majestic skyline of domes and minarets of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque form the backdrop for the city on the water. Within the Historic Peninsula are the communities where ethnic groups of Muslims, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Europeans and recent immigrants have settled. The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the adjacent Topkapi Palace are the symbolic entry and center of the city, located at the intersection of the Bosphorus River, Golden Horn, and the Sea of Marmara.

Istanbul Project:

Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara

The studio addresses the role of cultural influences and architecture in the evolution of the city and its form and urban design, with the unique relationship of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque as its symbolic center. The focus of the studio is the future formation of the architecture of this symbolic center and its relationship to the city and to the water's edge, with facilities for culture, commerce, dwelling and the environmental restoration of the harbor.

The project phases include research and documentation of urban design with focus on the methodology of analysis for cities, urban design proposals of "urban modification" in the Historic Peninsula and related architectural design projects for the new formation of the city's symbolic center and the water's edge. This studio will contribute to the understanding of a significant "world city" in an important geopolitical region and of urban design in cities globally.

Students are traveling to Istanbul in early September for survey of its culture and significant historical and new architecture. In addtion to site visits and documentation of the studio project sites, seminars on Istanbul urban design are planned with students and professors ar Istabul Technical University and Mimar Sinan University. A trip by ship to Bursa, Turkey, the historical Ottoman city in Asia is included in the travel itinerary.


Team Urban Analysis


Stavroula Birmbas-Vendouri, Michael Clancy, Jason Colpitts, Corey LeBlanc, Benjamin Leedy,

Emely Maas, Douglas Martin, Corey Roberts, Marc Winkler, Michael Wojnarowicz


Figure Ground Drawing


Urban Analysis


Topography and Urban Massing - City Sections


Spatial and Plan Analysis


Urban Cultural and Architectural Forms


Urban Spatial Impressions


Digital City Renderings


Phyiscal Model


Student Urban Design Projects

Stavroula Birmbas-Vendouri


Michael Clancy


Jason Colpitts


Corey LeBlanc


Benjamin Leedy


Emely Maas


Douglas Martin


Corey Roberts


Marc Winkler


Michael Wojnarowicz




All Images and Text © Weldon Pries 2015