A study of meaning in fragmented environment: A proposal for an approach

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Istanbul Technical University, Mimarlık, Mimarlık, Turkey

Approval Date: 2021

Thesis Language: Turkish

Student: Hülya İmge Yılmaz

Consultant: Mehmet Emin Şalgamcıoğlu


The study deals with the meanings of the built environment in daily life in the context of contemporary. Here, the emphasis on the contemporary as a temporal plane, points out to the differing daily rhythms and non-hierarchical qualities and the constant reproduction of architecture and urban space. In the first part of the study, the relationships between architecture and current-daily-temporality are examined and a study-plane -that enables the quest of meaning within the experiential and the textual layers- is introduced. Described as plan-text plane, this study-plane superpositions the spatial and textual syntax, and increases the possibilities of research of meaning by allowing nonlinear narratives to be constructed. Even though the phenomenon of meaning is often described depending on the temporal depth and spatial stability of the human-place relationship (appropriation, dwelling, accommodation); in this study, it is contextualized and discussed at the interfaces where continuous change-transformation and negotiation take place. Therefore, in the second part of the study, the concept of fragmented environment -which does not contain homogeneous qualities- is presented with different conceptions; then it is examined together with the potentials of interface spaces. This research -being directed to the interfaces of a fragmented environment- is discussed around the Levent district in Istanbul and the intersections in this neighborhood. Located on Büyükdere street where the most intense housing and workplace load in Istanbul today, these houses, one of the examples where the modern urban life imagination in Istanbul was realized on a neighborhood scale in the 1950s. In the study, Levent houses, which are examined as a fragmented environment, are considered as an environment that is to-be-protected with its typological characteristics, yet does not allow a holistic understanding of the neighborhood due to the intensification of non-residential activities. It is not possible to describe the neighborhood with an inclusive narrative that includes the relationships between the users, encounters and the relations of the places with the streets and their surroundings in this fragmented environment. Therefore in the study, the ways of discussing the unclear nature of the current situation and producing its alternative representations are explored. For this reason, in the forth part of the study, the notion of meaning and its mediums are discussed within the context of daily life, along with the literature based on the human-place relationship. Accordingly, an approach proposal is presented for the study to be carried out in a fragmented environment. The proposed research approach investigates the mediums of meaning around three intertwined foci; modes of situating that investigates movement and topological properties, modes of experiencing that investigates public-private thresholds, and modes of transforming that investigates intervention styles. Plan-text series produced on the basis of observations and interviews are presented as a medium of reproduction and open the place-meaning relationship to discussion. As a criticism tool, the medium of reproduction presents the phenomenon of meaning through the social and physical xviii potentials / constraints of the environment rather than historical, typological, functional references.