2002, September: Istanbul Technical University Architecture faculty established six workshops for 2002 summer term, with the collaboration of Philosophy Depatment, Istanbul University. The workshops were neighboorhood projects that students and professionals from various disciplines have participated. An exhibition was the part of the "Architecture and Ethics" symposium.

The starting point was the exploration of the relation between the visual codes and the subcultures of Beyoglu which is a cosmopolit district that could be considered as a multilayered marjinal city space. The questions were: "How local and hybrid idetities translate themselves in different spaces?", "What is space?", "What is utopia?", "What is Hetereopia?", "What is the relation between body (gender) and space?". Heterotopia: The spatialization of the sub-conscious of urban practices.

I believe in the necessity of a dream machine of a free mind… In terms of its increasing the things to define ourselves and in respect to its contribution (if there’s any) to include to our unfertile choices, the absolute difference of a world that is thought of in detail in relation to other values and other relations, the “city” as “utopia”. The one that we can’t build, but that can build itself piece by piece in our ability to dream and think, the one that doesn’t ask us to live in it but ask to live in us, in this way making us “the possible locals of a third city”, different than utopia, good and bad, beyond all livable cities of today, born out of the juxtaposition of the new inward and outward conditioning.

Calvino, Italo, “Which Utopia” (Quale Utopia?) Bompiani Annual, Milano, 1974.

The concept of heterotopia defined and developed by recent scholars after Michael Foucault”s article “of other spaces”. Basically the term is dealing with the politics of spaces; that refers to “in-betweeen” spaces which could be found in any society or any situation of spatialization in specific context, related to cultural and social practices.

The main definition for heterotopia is that the spatializaton and social practice co-exist with various cultural fragments. Foucault defines five principles for heterotopias which we think that two of them is still applicable in contemporary file of urban experiments: there is “no culture that could be called heterotopia”, secondly there is “no generalization of heterotopias” (Foucault, 2000, p.296). Heterotopias are not a single culture, the term refers to a space that marginal various social and cultural practice reside in it and the functionality with the related society is in debate. The term could be placed within the discourse of “other” that developed by Western oriented discourses . Therefore the term refers generally to the place for “others” or marginal social and cultural practices. The term could be define as “counter-space” where the function of society become compatible with certain practices. Therefore it is defined always as the “other spaces” , in most cases heterotopia is the side space that is produced by the conflict of power structures. Moreover, there is no generalization of this term except that is define as “in-between spaces”. The term could exist in any time period (temporary or permanent), in any culture and society. Foucault gives example such as: cemetery, sacred places, hotels , museums and libraries (as accumulating time), festivals (as transitory spaces). For Foucault’ heterotopias are spaces for deviant. We could relate this acknowledgment to the contradictory functions of the ambiguous social system that could be defined as the deviant space, in which individuals with deviant behavior in relation to the required mean or norm are placed.

In our research the term heterotopia is “space of the deviant” that could be related to local spaces or locality. In our understanding; beside the idealization of nomad space in Deleuzian approach ; for Deleuze “locality” or local is always a

“nomad space”: “For the nomad, locality is not delimited; the absolute, than, does not appear at a particular place but becomes a nonlimited locality; the coupling of the place and the absolute is achieved not in a centered, oriented globalization or universalization but in an infinite succession of local operations” (Deleuze&Guattari, 1999, p.476).

Moreover, our research consider and follow the relations between heterotopias. As Benjamin Genocchio has critiqued Foucault (Watson&Gibson, 1995, p.38-39): heterotopia is failing to explain how separation is effected between heterotopias and their surroundings” However’ beside Genocchio’s critique, he admits that heterotopia provides an understanding of a new way in which other spaces are establish culturally (Borden&Rendell, p.205). Also Henri Lefebvre has critiqued on the similar point in distinguishing between two kinds of spatiality.

For us the concept could be develop in four main approach:

1- researching the relations and interaction between the defined heterotopias (identities of those spaces),

2- examining them as bio-political spaces that either the power structure or the recent urban system are exercise. For example: immigrant district that are expanded in the center of Istanbul or in peripheries, or the district where gypsies, refugees, asylum seekers or immigrants from Anatolia or other countries, transsexuals live together (Tepebasi, Kasimpasa, Cihangir – districts in center).

3- examining the gender structures in those spaces.

4-It is also very important to define the research in a careful relation to the discourse of others, by keeping a critical approaches through the justification politics of the identity of “others” that tries to keep them near the border of the society in a continuous marginal identity.

What does the concept of the city mean to us today? I feel like I’m writing a last love poem to the cities despite these difficult times of experiencing them as cities… In the heart of my Marco Polo lies the discovery of the secret reasons of why people live in the cities, the reasons whose worth are beyond the crises. The cities are the coming-together of lots of things: memories, desires, the signs of a language…

Calvino, Italo Le Città Invisibili, pg. 12 -13


Agamben, Giorgia. Egemen Iktidar ve Ciplak Hayat (Homa Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life). Trans. Ismail Turkmen, Istanbul: Ayrinti Press, 2000.

Borden, I. & Rendell, J. (ed.). Intersections Architectural Histories and Critical Theories.

Calvino, Italo. Gorunmez Kentler (Le Città Invisibili), Istanbul: Yapi Kredi Press, 2003.

Deleuze&Guattari, Capitalism & Schizophrenia. London: Athalone Press,

Foucalt, Michael. Ozne ve Iktidar (Dits et écrits). Trans. Isik Erguden, Osman Akinbay. Istanbul: Ayrinti Press, 2003.

“Of Other Spaces” (Diacritics 16-1, Spring 1986), Documenta X Exhibition Catalogue, 262-272, 1995. Kassel

Keyder, Caglar. Istanbul Kuresel ile Yerel Arasinda (Istanbul Between Global and Local). Trans. Sungur Savran. Istanbul: Metis Press, 2000.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Massey, Doreen. “A Global Sense of Place”, Marxism Today, June, 1991.

Aysel Yavuz's project

Kerim Kurkcu's project

Nazli Eda Noyan's project


· Pelin Tan; Workshop director, research assistant. Social Science Institute, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University.

· Halil Altındere, Artist.

· Doç.Dr.Ayse Sentürer, Architecture Department, Istanbul Technical University.

main I city workshops I transpassing the courtyard I courtyard I I courtyard II I courtyard exhibition I urban flashes workshop I temporariness of permanency I casazine I peron7 Isummer studio I defining heterotopia I contact