Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001.
The Olbia Social Centre was designed for the Akdeniz University (Mediterranean University) in Antalya, Turkey. The purpose was to provide the campus community with a complex where students could engage in social and cultural activities in an interdisciplinary and intellectual atmosphere that would contribute to their personal development and learning experience. The project comprises an auditorium complex; an amphitheatre; rooms for student societies; a restaurant and various cafés; a book and stationery shop and various other shops; an exhibition area; and a circulation area articulated with public spaces, waterscape elements, plants and sculptures. One of the tasks in designing the Centre was to solve the identity problems of buildings that existed in different styles, and tie together the disparate parts of the university. The complex is designed according to a basic module that gives flexibility in area divisions and functional changes. The spaces of the project, created in an intimate human scale, flow into each other in a perpetual series of perspectives. The area is well used by university students and staff, as well as by members of the community.
The site area of the Olbia Social Centre is 12,000 square metres. Most of the floor is at ground level and covers an area of about 3,000 square metres; there are also some mezzanine areas in the restaurant and cafés. The clock tower is about 12 metres high. Total covered area is about 3,641 square metres. The complex is composed of detached masses of different lengths, widths and heights, all of them designed on a basic repetitive module of 3.6 metres in both directions of the plan. This allows for flexibility in the future division of the spaces according to changing needs and functions. Some areas of the complex, however, are permanent and do not allow for much flexibility, namely the open-air amphitheatre, the auditorium complex and the toilets.
The complex is designed according to the layout of the traditional Oriental bazaar, and links two focal points of the campus in a curved line that forms a short cut between the two points. The mass is fragmented according to the spatial requirements of each function, and in order to humanize the scale. A series of paths connects the main axis with the bus station, the student's hostel, the rector's office and the neighbouring university buildings. This connecting role gives the complex the importance of a hub and makes it the visual focus of the campus complex.