A breathing stop between the gaps of memory


#competition, #urbandesign, #antakya, #orantes, #asiriver, #riverside, #waterfront, #design, #publicspace




History that transcends geography is passing us by. Many have benefited from this water. Many civilizations were established here, many languages were spoken. Sound of the place is quite crowded. This water brought lots of things from neighboring countries, carrying from here to there as well..

Are there any traces?

This water divides the city in two. The old city faces the new. The past inevitably overlaps with the present. Remembered time coincides with the time to remember. This is a rare present where the irreversible past and the future are connected, and they shoulder each other as they connect.

This is a place for River Orontes to breathe.

Orontes will overflow, leave what it carries. They will come alive and arise. What will come from Orontes?


Whatever comes is welcome.


Antakya Metropolitan Municipality




20500 sqm


  • 1th Honorable Mention


Urban Design


National Competition


  • Merve YAVUZ (Landscape Architect) 

  • Cihan ŞEHLA (Urban Planner)

  • Sena Şeyma CAN

  • Enver Yiğit DOĞAN

  • Berfu OKER


We are on a threshold. The old city and the new city touch each other. Passing River Orontes strengthens the threshold effect. Thresholds have a lot of potential as they contain elements that are not on either side. The old city, the old bazaar, the old texture exist with their own dynamics, and so as the new city. Instead of trying to describe this interaction, we prefer to establish the infrastructure in which they can exist and leave the rest to this texture that shows the threshold character.

We are constructing a memory table that is fed by the natural flow of Orontes by the water and by the city with the ordinary flow of daily life, the infrastructure of which is created and the rest is left to this rich texture that shows the ecotone character.

The trans-geographical ancient Orontes is unqualified due to various political conjectural situations and lack of control. But, the city's natural infrastructure, valleys, mountains and channels leading to Orontes from its side streets provide a very suitable infrastructure to make the river lively and flowing again.


Caferağa Mahallesi 34347  

Moda - Kadıköy   | |   İSTANBUL 

T   :   +90 216 330 55 84

F   :   +90 216 330 55 84

River Orontes has an exciting journey that starts from the Humus Lake. It passes through various geographies and is fed by many rivers and comes to Antakya. Its folding journey somehow is taken in restraint as son as it meets civilization. We let it flow through the concrete channels without touching us, we go over it, and its enough. But water carries civilization. Water holds a treasure beyond geographies: the seed. The seeds that the river carries from all the geographies it passes –all the way from Lebanon to Syria-, offer a trans-geographical opportunity.

The relationship between River Orontes and Antakya is extremely battered. The water, which has carried civilization for hundreds of years, is stagnant and stinking. Therefore, we see the issue not just as a project area with defined boundaries, but as reorganizing the water. Primarily, we prefer to make the water flowing and healthy, and then we prefer to rely on the seeds given by the river instead of a designed landscape. This water has carried seeds, culture, language and civilization for hundreds of years. At this point, we set up the necessary systems and withdraw. There is no harm in the overflow of Orontes, we created our gene pools for the seeds it will leave when it overflows. We see the river’s overflow as a blessing. We give it an opportunity to let go of what it has carried for 571 km.

Orontes will overflow, leave what it carries. They will come alive and arise.
What will come from Orontes?
Will be welcomed whatever comes.

The Journey of Orontes

Thanks to Orontes, it is an ethnic and unique geography woven with all the people, all religions and all languages spoken in this land.

After this journey full of history and culture, the design space works as an Open Air Orontes Civilizations Exhibition. The mill-inscriptions located in the area tell the history of Orontes written in ethnic alphabets. While telling the history of the river, it also carries its water to the city level, and brings its seeds back to the lands of Antakya.

The journey begins with the Archeopark. According to the opinions of various experts, it is highly probable that the ruins of shops associated with the Roman period ancient port were found under the foundation of the destroyed Vakıf Office block . The story of Orontes is told in Latin on the Mill-Inscription that is placed on this area. In other mills that follow, this story welcomes visitors in Armenian, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Ottoman and Turkish languages.

This journey, enriched by the gene pools where the seeds germinated, and the waterways up to the upper levels, ends with the Underground Museum - Orontes Civilizations Exhibition, which is connected uninterruptedly by making use of the level difference.