Situated at the perimeter of the expanse of Hacettepe University’s Beytepe Campus in Ankara, the Museum, and Center for Biodiversity building house scientific research facilities and exhibition spaces devoted to scientific materials on the topic of biodiversity.
Project Name: Hacettepe University- Museum and Center For Biodiversity
Studio Name: Erkal Architects
Project Dates: 2013-2014
Construction Dates: 2015-2018
Architectural Design: Erkal Architects
Lead Architect: Emre Erkal
Project Team: Atakan Palaşoğlu, Demet Yüce, Nurcan Bayrakcı, Bekir Aşçıoğlu
Client: Hacettepe University
Contractor: SMG İnşaat
Covered Area: 6500 m2
Structural Engineering: Levent Aksaray Engineering
Mechanical Engineering: Prosel Engineering
Electrical Engineering: Kemal Güravşar, Emrah Güravşar, Promete Engineering Photography: Yercekim Architectural Photography
Beytepe Campus is on the main development axis in Ankara, the westward highway to Eskişehir, which creates severe pressure of urbanization and land fragmentation. The campus sits on a system of interconnected valleys and ridges that also extend to neighboring campus lands, with several particular valleys that still have a distinct ecosystem. Several long to mid-term projects are under consideration, aimed at preserving this natural resource within the shifting center of a rapidly developing city of five million people. Museum and Center for Biodiversity are one of the most concrete attempts within this scope; it will be a contribution to landscape preservation as well as a social stimulus for the scientific community.
The building sits on a slope facing east, itself being grafted within a forestation programme. The immediate vicinity has connections with a system of plots slated for preservation, which include the future National Botanical Gardens. The entry platform provides commanding views of these gardens and the city to the east. As the building yields to topography with a series of platforms with cascading levels, it attempts at introducing greenery within hard surfaces and volumes.
Separate entrances are provided for research and museum spaces, facing each other across the ground plaza, even though these functions are intertwined throughout the building. The research facilities include collections, laboratories, offices for scientists, administration, a library, and a meeting hall. The museum is composed of exhibition halls for Zoology, Medical Sciences, and Anthropology on upper and ground floors. The lower floor will house the Botanical exhibit, as these spaces are connected with the gardens in the topography, in which a set of greenhouses are planned for future development.
The architectonic logic of open and closed spaces follows an order of geometric compartmentation which is manifest in numerous biological phenomena. The exhibition material falling under the topic of biodiversity belong to a very wide spectrum of scientific disciplines and has a broad variety of sizes, dimensions, and scales. Therefore, the spaces are desired to be fragmented so that they could be thematized separately, yet continuous and connected for coherence.
A significant body of the exhibited materials is planned to originate from the holdings of scientific institutions and leaders of the scientific community. Therefore, active participation on behalf of the scientific community on biodiversity is expected, upon the inception of the museum. The Museum and Center for Biodiversity building are poised to go beyond its program that serves science and academia and accept the challenges of landscape preservation and cultivating scientific communities.
Emre Erkal graduated from METU in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering. After spending several years as a researcher in academic institutions, he graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Design with a professional master’s degree in architecture in 1999. He worked for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in New York before he joined Erkal Architects in 2001. He was awarded Ph.D. in architecture at Istanbul Technical University in 2007. Emre Erkal has exhibited his interactive installations in many international art shows, and he writes on and teaches architecture, urban design, and interactive technologies in several universities.
Erkal Architects was established by Filiz ve Coşkun Erkal in 1968. Emre Erkal and Ozan Erkal joined the office after the year 2000, extending the scope with new technologies. The projects and buildings designed by the office have won more than 50 awards including 11 first prizes in architecture and urban design competitions. Erkal Architects has extensive experience in cultural and educational facilities, institutional buildings, masterplans, and urban design projects. The office has produced designs in a wide spectrum of topics ranging from residential / housing to touristic, sports, and industrial complexes, spanning various sectors.