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Crocheting an Urban Fabric

 InForming Fiber Reinforced Polymer Architecture by Turkish Textile Traditions 

 This thesis project aims to explore constraints of the Fiber Reinforced Polymer and creating a design project according to properties of the material. This thesis is consisted of two objectives; exploration and understanding the material, choosing a site that material can perform its strengths and architectural and physical properties. Thesis statement of this is “Fiber Reinforced Polymer can be crocheted to design lightweight and tensile urban structure to unify material, architectural and contextual experiences through the language of architecture. This thesis focuses on hybridization of carbon fiber and fiberglass while integrating indoor and outdoor experience and reflecting cultural textile fabrication techniques.” 


Fiber Reinforced Polymer is a strong, lightweight, flexible and customizable material. The reasons of choosing this material over conventional material such as steel are the fabric materiality, being five times stronger and weighing four times less then steel. For instance; Apple Campus’ roof, which is self-standing while covering the curtain wall system, is made of Carbon Fiber and Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer. Lighter material allows saving on transportation, foundation, hoisting and assembly cost and time. FRP can be formed in any shape and geometry. It provides wide range of tensile, flexural, impact and compressive strength. It is able to span 113 meters. That’s why; I strongly believe that this material has a great potential for applications in architecture. 


After analyzing mechanical properties of the material, this project focuses on hybridization of carbon fiber and fiberglass in order to create more efficient design. There are different types of fabrication methods of FRP such as knitting, weaving and crocheting. Crochet has a cultural significance in Turkish Anatolian Culture. Women would crochet to prepare trousseau for their daughters’ marriage. Therefore, there is a strong connection between the fabrication method and Turkish Culture. Additionally, crochet technique provides an opportunity for creating solid and open meshes. 

 This project is located in Macka Democracy Park, which is in the heart of Istanbul in Turkey. This park has been a connection point of social, educational, commercial and communal spaces. The park connects two university campuses, concert hall, stadium and an old palace. Even though it connects different locations, the visible connection is missing. The park creates a gap between different programs, because it has an important topographical characteristic. This gap creates an opportunity for FRP to perform its properties with crochet technique for design of pedestrian bridge. FRP Bridge will be about half the weight of a steel bridge with better performance and is five times lighter than concrete compeer. Since the material creates lightweight structure while being three times stronger than steel can be crocheted into the site while respecting the landscape and nature of the park. The bridge allows people to have treetop experience while trying to go from one point to other point. The main focus is not damaging any trees since there are limited green spaces left in city center of Istanbul. 


In conclusion, main design concept is crocheting bridges that connect different locations in the site and solving an urban problem that the site topography creates. Bridges are located according to tree locations and significance of the area. The bridges act as an extended sidewalks, and touch the ground in order to give people freedom of exiting or entering the system. There are three structural system; two tensile structures are crocheted FRP and the third compressive structure is molded FRP. The skin of the bridge is crocheted with 3D crochet pattern. It allows semi transparent experience in the park with light diffusion. Bridge contains temporary urban programs. They will be a shelter for the cats and exhibition space for the current events that are happening around the site. In other words, this system will be a space where nature, art, education and people meet together. Each structure and wall system is based on double crochet stitches. To create a continuous space within the bridge system, the surface is pulled from compressive structure to create benches and railings with a feeling of continuity and fluidity. The splines that create the bridge system are inspired by the leg anatomy. Mimicking human leg structure allows for creation of dynamic spaces and the use of crochet technique provides an opportunity for semi-transparent nature experience in the middle of the Istanbul. In short, the material itself performs its properties while solving an urban problem and creates strong, self-standing, organic and tensile structure. 


Fall 2018-Spring 2019

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