Today, two different images exist together in Bergama. One of them is the ancient city of Pergamon including the famous Pergamon temple that is exhibited in the Berlin Museum. The acropolis that has been the capital for Pergamon Kingdom which has ruled between B.C 3-1 centuries, presents the physical appearance of a city culture built upon a rooted civilization.
In contrast, the city of Bergama today, which can be seen looking downward the Acropolis, displays a rather rural city texture. The urban texture of a typical small town started yielding itself to apartments. Is there any possibility to consider a relationship between the Acropolis and Bergama? The question that becomes more naive when repeated, waits for the description of a place that will host Bergama’s cultural life without hesitating to be affected by the memory that the ground holds rather than creating a short circuit between two different cultures.
The commerce that takes place along the Cumhuriyet Avenue continues with the rambling stores that intrude the pedestrian walkways. To sustain the commercial life that exists here and at the same time to not displace the tradesman appears to be a triangulation point. The surmise that the culture will be enticing and sustainable from the moment it meets the consumption mechanism and that the allure will be lost at the point where the sophistication becomes too dominant or the depth will be lost where the consumption becomes too dominant, is not disregarded and payed much attention to.
The commercial units along the Cumhuriyet Avenue recede a step back to keep the elevation alignment alongside the avenue and create a shaded arcade. This arcade creates an interior space that seems like a courtyard by surrounding the area from three sides. The stores which work both ways bring life into the courtyard. These three masses placed in the courtyard generate the spaces concentrated with cultural activities like the library, cinemas and theater. These masses which rise from the arcade and become visible from the avenue, represent their functions with their strong geometries and reveal rich spaces open for public use in the voids generated between each other .
The park across the road is a widely used public space.This park that sits higher than the ground level of the city is connected to the city with the green bridge that descends first to the level of the open air cinema,cafe and lounge spaces and then into the courtyard. The arcade that is formed beneath the bridge, connects the two avenues in the ground elevations by creating a protected walkway. The passage between the main masses which is formed by the walls that restricts the parking lot, creates an alternative transition that connects the two avenues as well as being used as an information-communication wall and an exhibition road. The cafes and the recreational areas in the courtyard as lounge spaces for the cinema and the multi-purpose room, carry the potential to enrich the daily life of Bergama. With all of these qualities, Bergama Cultural center, breaks the image of the ‘cultural center’ that fails to form a relationship to the citizens, and makes itself a citizen of Bergama.
EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture was founded in 2004 by Emre Arolat and Gonca Paşolar in Istanbul, as the continuation of Emre Arolat’s experiences at his parents’ office, Arolat Architects, since 1987. Today, EAA has turned out to be one of the largest architectural offices in Turkey with a team of more than 50 people, reintegrating parents Şaziment and Neşet Arolat as partners. The firm continues its practice at İstanbul and London offices with many prestigious national& international projects in that design is elaborated to the smallest detail. EAA displays a prominent presence in academic realm with Emre Arolat’s lectures, jury positions and studio tutorage at schools of architecture as Berlage Institute-Delft, Pratt Institute-New York, Middle East Technical University-Ankara. EAA’s works has been honored with many eminent awards as Aga Khan Award, The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, World Architecture Festival Awards and AR Emerging Architecture Award.