Located in the ancient city of Sanliurfa in south-eastern Turkey, Urfa Park will be one of the first shopping centers to bring a modern retail experience to the historic city. The aim of the design is to respect and make reference to the city’s history by creating a culturally informed and contextually relevant modern architectural language.
Steeped in history, the city of Urfa dates back to 9000 BC and is believed to be the birthplace of biblical figures Abraham and Job. The site is adjacent to numerous historic buildings and ancient ruins, as well as active archaeological digs. The concept of the project is derived from the history of the site, as if the project itself was an archaeological finding.
To strengthen the concept of blending modern with historic building languages, layers of walls, arcades, and canopies comprise the project’s articulate form. Rich colored stone and copper walls accent the project’s exterior, making reference to the traditional metal work sold in nearby bazaars. The interior is defined by free-standing stone walls which form arcaded passages within the mall. Skylights and clearstory windows above allow light into the building, which passes through patterned metal screens and cast mosaic-like shadows on the travertine floors.
The two-level racetrack loop is anchored at both ends by thematic public courts that make cultural reference to the city; The Ice Court is a crafted composition of metal, glass and local stone, featuring an ice rink in its center. The Garden Court features buttressed stone arcades build around lush landscaped planters, bringing the outdoor experience inside. The premier feature of the project is the Great Park; an impressive outdoor courtyard built around an ancient grove of existing deciduous trees. Landscaped dining terraces from the food court and cinema surround the Great Park, making it a local dining enclave as well as a shaded retreat from the intense heat of the city.