Golden Horn Library
The Golden Horn Library will be located in Galata, a historic neighborhood at the crossroads of Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural and visual memories.
The Galata District was once the Genoese quarter of the city and was surrounded by its own city walls and towers. Today, nearly all the walls are gone, but the iconic Galata Tower remains and provides the district with its identity.
The Golden Horn Library looks across the waters of the Golden Horn to the Historical Peninsula, overlooking the seven hills of Istanbul, each hill crowned with its own monument. Views include Hagia Sophia, Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, The Cistern of Mocius, Fatih Mosque, and Yavuz Selim Mosque to the southeast, and Mihrimah Sultan Mosque to the northwest. These seven hills represent the history of old Constantinople, surrounded by historic city walls. Views of the dancing domes of the seven hills, and the iconic Galata Tower, provide a silhouette of the city over the Golden Horn.
Alper Aytac states: “The Golden Horn Library was conceived as almost a “Turkish Flying Carpet”, woven by the culture and the context”. The profiles of the monuments and the axiality of the seven hills pointing towards the Galata Tower form the main roofscape, with the three closest hills inspiring the roofscape housing the functions of the library and learning center. The remaining hills, set further away, provide a smooth transition between the building and the landscape, functioning as a sort of plinth of public space between interior and exterior.
Sectionally and proportionally, the nearby Azapkapi Sokullu Mosque, designed by the great architect, Sinan, sets the precedent, with its elevated prayer hall almost floating over the city to protect the interior against bustling city noise. This strategy was duplicated in order to insulate the library and learning center from noise. Beneath, the ground level houses the busier and noisier activities of the auditorium, a spiraling children’s library, and a restaurant.
Alper Aytac states: “The Golden Horn Library is a beacon of knowledge in the city of Istanbul, and it aims to be an instrument of connectivity between symbols of the city on both sides of the Golden Horn. It radiates energy that is injected into the city, rather than funneling energy out of the city for itself.”