Archipelago as a tool to study urban form: the case of Ankara

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Bilkent University
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In the literature on urban morphology, the city and urbanization are considered two antithetical forms since urbanization as a term was coined by Cerda. There is a dichotomy between the practices of these two terms regarding the physical form of the city. This formative dichotomy covers a variety of tensions arising from architectural production processes. In the context of urban morphology, the contemporary city can be defined as a meeting of those spatial contradictions depending on architectural form.
Typology is a discourse including different formative theories that could reveal those contradictions and enhance urban morphology analyses. Within those theories, autonomous form is the one that aims to create an independent abstract language of the physical form by isolating it from the other practices that influence the urban form. Under the influence of the theory of autonomous form, the literature of urban morphology contains several concepts as a result of different attempts to explore the urban form. “Archipelago” can be described as one of the radical concepts depending on the theory of autonomous form. It is a metaphor to describe architectural formations that emerge as individual forms of aggregations-resembling the islands of an archipelago- based on their typology.
Since the beginning of the Turkish Republic, Ankara, as the capital city, has encountered the dichotomy between city and urbanization through different planning periods. Through the planning periods, Ankara has become a laboratory land of urban form, which has accelerated the formative contradictions in the city. Despite those contradictions, Ankara has a considerable domain of autonomous forms in terms of urban morphology. In this context, this thesis attempts to explore the autonomous forms of the city, Ankara, by conceptualizing it as an archipelago. It is also an attempt to transform the diagram of the autonomous forms into a generative matrix that could discover alternative urban form.

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Urban morphology, Typology, Autonomous form, Archipelago, Ankara, Visual matrix
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