The ES-Lab is an Innovation Center located in the campus of Özyeğin University in Çekmekoy, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. The campus is undergoing transformations and the ES-Lab is the flagship building of the new campus.
The project consists in transforming the concrete shell of an existing structure, originally meant to be the campus cafeteria, into an innovation center. On a larger scale, the shift in program is meant not only to reorganize the building, but also the campus. Located at the heart of the Educational District of the University, the ES-lab will be the new focus point for the students.
The ES-Lab itself is a 80m x 40m new facility, located under the ground level, and is organized around a start-up incubator led by the University, surrounded by laboratories for students from both the Engineering and the Architecture Faculties. A large makerspace links all the various laboratories together by offering services to all students and incubees. The ES-lab will foster interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary projects and teach product realisation from design through to manufacture, bringing into one space various stages in the design and manufacture process and blurring between academic and business spaces.
For the two laboratories, we had the opportunity to design them as "social buildings" that foster interaction and team-based research. It was necessary to create an appropriate balance between "open" and "closed" labs, and answer the need for flexibility to accomodate change in teams and projects.
The ES-lab, being under the ground level, originally had one façade onto a sunken garden. This garden is preserved and enhanced by allowing the interior programs to extend onwards and into the garden. A new access ramp, the "canyon", is created on the opposite side and will become the main access for the Innovation Center. Inside, circular openings in the top slab allow for the creation of inner patios, brining light into the building and creating a visual link from inside to the top terrace.
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