ArCHITECTURE AS HUMAN EXISTANCE
Throughout this study, Buyuk Valide Han is studied from an architectural perspective where the paradigm of Human-Environment relations is defined as a unified system of different levels and spheres of being.
Definition of what architecture is commonly derives from the built world, i.e. it is basically object driven. Thus it presupposes the differentiation of the subject from the object, and interprets the human being and its environment as two separate and distinct categories. Whereas, we would like to open the way to an epistemology which would include and interpret the dynamics of change as an inherent character of architecture and hence, bring into perspective architecture’s dynamic, time-bound, and change-bound character, employ the insights and particulars of daily life practices that are historical, and socially and culturally determined.
In defining the human being as in a social existence and architecture as a product of this socialization, architecture then needs to be defined as something other than a simple building practice. It is possible to interpret architecture as humanity’s effort towards achieving a concrete and spatial form for its existence when positioning itself within the cosmos, and also as a practice which concretizes the values of humanity and its socialization. Architecture is not merely a play of volumetric geometries and a selection process of materials, based on an understanding which conceives it as an object apart from all other entities; and what goes on within the building should not be merely considered as a programmatic listing. Architecture belongs both to the ideal being of the subject, and to the whole system of being, including the material world as well.
In defining architecture in such wholeness, it becomes necessary to discuss two other issues. Firstly, the interpretation of the building as the object of knowledge for understanding the human being and its forms of existence. Secondly, proposing a theoretical model and a method to analyze the dynamics and time-bound relations that exist among the building, human life, and values of being me.
Sustainability in architecture
If architecture is considered as one concrete form of a unified system of being; how will it be possible to sustain the environments and buildings, which are the apparent concretizations of humanity’s past practices and life-forms? We do not approach architecture as an object bound only by its original construction and as that can be isolated from both the life practices of people and the dynamics introduced by the dimension of time. Hence, the sustainability of architecture is only possible by understanding it as wholeness of being, yet, exposed to change.
In sustainability, architecture need not be necessarily beautiful and qualified, or “high”, but, it can also be commonplace and ordinary. Intensity of life should be examined in terms of the symmetry that is vital for building-life relations. Furthermore, how change – as a reflection of the life practices into the physical form of the building – and possible attitudes and interventions concerning these environments will be dealt with is very important as it deals with the problematic issue of an origin, and originality (or authenticity).
Given the above framework, the additions and the alterations that added onto the original form of the Buyuk Valide Han throughout its history are not viewed as parasitical, but as parts and parcels of the wholeness of human existence in space and time that need to be articulated in an architectural study. Yet, the symmetry of space-life needs not to be violated, summoning up with either, destruction of life in the building, or destruction of space.