Tarsus-Gözlükule Excavations Research Center, Boğaziçi University, Mersin, Turkey
The dilapidated buildings of an abandoned 19th century ginnery in Tarsus are now home to a redesigned contemporary centre for archaeological research and public engagement. The industrial complex where seeds were separated from cotton, now serves as the premises of Boğaziçi University’s archaeology project, currently focused on the ancient mound of Gözlükule in the heart of the town. The project has received support and contributions from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Boğaziçi University with funds acquired from the Ministry of Development.
The complex has been provided with an artefact conservation and restoration laboratory and an archive for artefacts unearthed from the Gözlükule mound. There are dormitories, library, a study room, an open kitchen and dining area, a conference room for national and international conferences and an exhibition hall. The sustainable design by APAYDIN Engineering, implemented by SAYKA Construction and both led by Saadet Sayın, highlights the architectural, spatial and aesthetic values of the complex, while retaining its unique historic character as a monument of industrial heritage design.
The site has been reintegrated into the contemporary life of the town, meeting the needs of researchers and of the local community. The jury admired “the original new use of the site, which is as original as the history of the ensemble. Research has shown that the site, of simple and functional architecture, is of notable significance in European history. In addition, the functional integration of the converted industrial heritage site into the urban context has contributing to the regeneration of the neighbourhood.”
The innovative technologies developed for the complex’s energy needs are a model for the sustainable transformation of cultural heritage sites. A new system was developed to store rainwater which can be used by the excavation team to clean artefacts. The electricity and hot water are provided by solar and photovoltaic panels on the roof. The entire energy and hot water requirements of the research centre are thus covered by solar power, greatly minimising the complex’s carbon footprint. “This intervention has improved the building through the use of high-quality materials. It has been very ambitious in coping with the sustainable development requirements of the 21st-century,” the jury noted.