When architects sit down to design a project, they have to various things into consideration, not the least of which include the client’s expecations and needs, regional factors such as geography, climate, and culture, harmony with the surrounding city and structurecapes, sustainability, and budget, and then somehow come up with a unique concept based on all of that. It is only after along hours, exhausive effort, and back-and-forth collaboration with the client that the project takes on a healthy life of its own. Another phase of any project is materials selection, which, while guided by the architect, can only take place with the client’s approval. This is where natural stone enters into the picture if of course it suits the function of the project, and if the client agrees upon it. Architects generally like using natural stone because of its longevity, durability, air of prestige, functionality, and sense of aesthetic. In this month’s Showcase, we have handed over the microphone to architects to explore what kinds of natural stone they prefer and why, as well as to look at what critea has driven their choices in their most recent projects.
Aylin Batur, Kutluer Batur
Batur ve Batur Mimarlık
We used the Tundra Grey dark and light colour collection in the lobby of our luxurious residential project “Marin Pendik,” in Cape of Pendik, İstanbul The stones were obtained from the regions of Afyon and Kütahya, and processed in Bursa. We wanted to use natural stone in order to give the design a more natural, lively, and aesthetic feel, as well as a sense of quality. In terms details, we were able to capture all of the dimensions we sought after, alongside a timeless sense of chic. We also were able to re-wax the stone and thus preserve the glossiness as it had worn off over time, in turn ensuring an unparalleled sense of unity throughout. We felt it important to avoid using and oscillating chemicals for artificial products at all costs. Our client asked us to use economic ceramic products. However, showing them various images, we were able to convince them that this would not ensure them the visual quality that they were after. While budget was of course a factor, we told them that being frugal in sections that show the building’s quality would ultimately have a negative impact when the time came to sell it; this was a matter for which finding a compromise was simply not an option. In the end, they listened to us, and were able to sell 3 to 4 duplexes within the span of a month, simply by using images of the lobby. They were delighted that they got bang for their buck, and in such a short time at that. We used natural stone because it provided visual unity, it could used as whole thanks to its unique vein structure, we could easily eliminate any cracks and fissures by filling them in, and we could restore its gloss, especially in high volume areas, when it becomes mat with use. Most importantly, it proved to be the best option every last detail of our unique designs in so far as we experienced no problem with measurement, dimension, or thickness. Likewise, by following the stone’s veins, it allowed us to “book-match” the walls, thereby creating a feast for the eye.
Gönül Ardal, Yelin Evcen
Gönye Proje Tasarım
We chose to tile the entrance, kitchen, and bathroom floors of our private duplex project, which is located in Erenköy / İstanbul with marble. Even before we sat down to design everything, we sat down with homeowner, selected the marble together, and created the house’s overall colour scheme around it on the very first day because we liked it much. On the one hand, the marble is rather lively; on the other, its black, brown, and grey tones compliment one another, meaning that it isn’t tiring on the eyes. Likewise, we chose to design the vertical paneling using very straightforward, calm tones to juxtapose the rather flamboyant character of the flooring. We prefer using natural materials in all of our projects, whenever possible. In this particular project, we had the marble custom cut to seamless fit the scale of the space, which it ultimately did. We were careful to go with the direction of the veins when doing the flooring. We chose natural stone because we wanted to ensure that what we had in mind dimension-wise was technically feasible, and because we also wanted to create a sense of unity that was completely gap free. We love the fact we were able to reflect the aesthetic freedom that the marble allowed us upon application, as well as bring out its own natural sense of aesthetic. Fortunately for us, the homeowner is a fan of natural stone. At no point did we have to sway them in any one particular direction. We selected the materials together, and had fun doing so. Better still, they were very pleased with the result! We feel that natural stone, wherever its used, lends a space a certain feel. For Mother Nature to mould it layer upon layer underground over thousands of years into its present form is nothing shy of a miracle, really. We’re talking about a material that has breathed life into and defined architecture since the dawn of time. Even as everadvancing technology presents us with more alternatives to materials, they remain but mere imitations of the real thing. We love marble’s uniqueness and thus very much enjoy incorporating it into all of our design projects. On a side note, not every type of marble suits every type of surface. You can do a real disservice to marble if you don’t process appropriately. Furthermore, how a floor is layered out is just as important as the kind of marble you select for that floor. That said, if you fulfil each of these criteria, your project ends up perfect.
Hakan Habif, Hande Karakaş
We used 2 cm-thick, high gloss “Mediterranean Grey” marble platesin our office project Gelecek Varlık’s reception desk. We incorporated black anodic metal panels, natural oak panels, and marble when designing reception area itself. This in turn gave project its overall feel. Within the design concept, the wood backsplash softens the cold harshness of the metal. We used marble for the upper surfaces in very specific ratios as well as for detailing. In terms of colour, we projected that grey would tame the texture of both materials. Detail-wise, the wood from which the main structure of the reception desk was designed secretly complimented the marble. The choice to use marble on the surface of the desk was one of function just as it was of visual appeal. Considering that the reception area would have a heavy user circiulation, we opted for marble because it was virtually scratch resistant while also being hygenic, therefore ensuring that the surface would enjoy many years of use. We had no problem convincing the client about incorporating marble in this context either. In fact, our meetings with them proved fruitful in this regard to the point that they gladly acceted all of our suggestions. At Habif Mimarlık, we take the timelessness of a material very much to heart. We place priority on brining together materials that are natural as opposed to popular. Hence, we feel it vital to use natural tone wherever possible. Firms want there corporate identity to be visible, be it in waiting rooms or in upper-level administative spaces. Therefore, it has become commonplace to link them to some kind of design story.
Y Evi is located within the Mandarin Oriental housing estate in Cennet Koyu, Bodrum. We chose slate as the star material of the project because it is local to the area. We incorporated throughout the house’s common spaces, including the entranceway, the stairway corridor, the kitchen, and the living room, its more private spaces, namely the bedrooms, and on the walls. Whenever possible, we feel it necessary to use local materials in all of our projects for ecological reasons, and thus make a special effort to do so. Our general approach at Ofist is to handle every project as though it were a universe of its own, to thoroughly analyse the what the project’s needs are as well as whatever data that is available to us, and to design the project properly. Hence, for us not to benefit from all that Bodrum has to offer, in terms of its location, Mediterranean context, flora, climate, local architectural colour, and bounty of materials would truly be a crime. Residential projects in particular can be very emotional. Shaping them over time are the interaction between the client and the designer, trust, and sympathy-more so than their non-residential counterparts. The right designer-client union can virtually eliminate the need for rhetoric on both sides. We do our best to avoid using imitation materials in our projects as much as possible. Laminate that looks like wood, ceramic that looks like marble. We prefer natural materials because we think they are familiar, warm, intimate, beautiful aging and real materials.
We used “Kazan Beige” honed marble from the region where the project stands to line the terrace of a wide steel bridge connecting the building to the path, as well as to line the entrance paths connected to that. This material is also known “Ankara Light Beige” marble. It is a homogenous, patternless, smooth beige stone, and is generally used to line or dress exterior surfaces, namely terraces and façades. The quarry and construction sight were in relatively close proximity to one another, given that the factory itself is located within the Ankara Kazan Industrial Park. This proved to be positive when it came to actually obtaining materials, due to the short distance. Why we chose natural stone-from a technical angle-what that it was harmonious with region’s climatic conditions, it lacked a slippery surface, and it seemed like the perfect solution for the desired architectural concept. The client went along with whatever our team of architects proposed in terms of design decisions. At the same time, the stone used fell well within their budget. Stone is very much a perennial, environmentally friendly, onewith-natural structural material. It also makes for a fabulous deign element in landscape projects in particular.
We felt that natural stone would best suit the entrance and hallways of Bilişim Vadisi, especially when it came to flooring. We used a combination of white Afyon and black Antalya marble to create a different contrast that harmonized well with our project’s concept. As elements, these materials played an important role in terms of helping us bring to life the spatial feel that we had envisioned. We went for a language that was rich in curvilinear forms within the space, in line with the project’s concepts. We wanted reflect the trace of the hanging metal seeing onto the floor for the sake of spatial unity. This is why choosing materials that juxtaposed one another in terms of colour so as to strengthen this particular note was important. Additionally, the sense of straightforwardness, prestige, and quality that natural stone lends any space was important to us both aesthetically speaking and design-wise. As was mentioned slightly earlier, we opted to use natural stone as lining for the flooring of the main entrance and hallways granted their high volume status. The fact that it is hard, durable, low maintenance, and can handle heavy traffic further solidified our choice. Bilişim Vadisi primarily is publically funded project. That’s why we chose to specifically work with local materials, much to the client’s delight. Better still, we also had no trouble whatsoever convincing the client in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it was they set an example for us in this particular matter. First, what natural stone has gained as well as reflected upon the space in term of prestige, quality, durability, reliability, and simplicity is, for us, ranks number one in terms of priority. Of course, no single natural material embodies all of these traits in one breath. That said, it is these very same traits that render natural stone truly incomparable to any other material. Second, I wish to add that, in line with the technical details we mentioned above, natural stone not only extends a structure’s life, it also keeps maintenance costs low hence another important factor. In sum, we carry the view that natural stone is a very important architectural ingredient capable of creating prestigious spaces bound to dazzle the eye of the user.
We used basalt obtained from a quarry in the region of Kayseri in our Bener Law Office project. We incorporated the basalt into every inch of the exterior, including the ground tiles, garden walls, and façades. We left and Gökhan Erze in charge of assembly and application, as we have always trusted them in such matters. I’m convinced that we collectively put forth very high quality work and in a short amount of time both when it came to details and to materials. Our decision to use basalt stemmed from the fact that it is durable and lends itself to rather large dimensions when it came to the matter of assembly. Likewise, it is a living, breathing, porous, and stain resistant material that moreover doesn’t go beyond a certain price threshold, even when it surpasses conventional dimensions. We were also easily persuaded by the fact that our supplier, who is approximately 300 km away, was extremely patient in terms of supporting us unconditionally every step of the way. Generally speaking, we don’t have to convince our client step an excessive amount beyond their anticipated budget. So long as we’re not designing a public building, the client never has to experience that anyways because they stand alongside us at every phrase, including material selection, of course. As it stands, we rarely encounter clients who specifically request imitation products. No matter the project, I always prize the use of not only natural stone, but rather all natural materials. I do my best to use materials that are local, economic, and long lasting. In particular, using materials that can be found close by and that are small in scale always makes my job a wee bit easier. Basic research helps me decide whether or not I really want to use a certain structural element or material in that it sheds light on things like how much it would cost to process it, and whether it is harboring any surprises. This also makes directing the client all the easier as well. I think, at the same time, that contemporary structural materials alongside an avant-garde approach to design should be a blend of natural, local materials, as well as should concentrate on unique, long-term usability. This is why I go out of my away to stay as close to natural materials as I possibly can.
Our project was an interior design solution to semi-detached townhouse. Due to the structure’s nature, only the front and back of the house had yards; moreover, its inner ceiling height was quite low by today’s standards, and its ground floor was split. What we thus proposed was to create an open plan throughout the entire floor, incorporate diffusion lights that provide illumination that is as close to natural light as possible, and to transform the ground floor, front, and back yards into an interwoven tectonic. Additionally, we used chevron-pattern Karacabey Black and Moca Beige marble because of its durability in the face of intermittent floods and the high volume use of the ground floor. That said, the homeowner was also fond of marble, and the material had to compliment the colour scheme of other accessories and furniture in the house. Likewise, we exclusively used Karacabey Black marble for the columns in the entranceway, the threshold, and on the stair cases. Throughout the study/design phrase, our client reacted rather positively to our using marble. They however did express a number of concerns as to how to look after it. While chevron pattering is ever so slightly sensitive in terms of care and chipping due to its dimensions, the client felt this to be negligible and therefore immediately accepted our suggestions. Natural stone, as it is a unique formation of nature, is a material that adds uniqueness to the surface or volumes used in the buildings. Its broad range of textures create a sense of timelessness on surfaces, while its lithic expression forge the perception of prolonged continuity. We believe that stone and its technical traits is what allow us to capture that sentiment-it is what breathes soul into our projects.