Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and is today the center of manufacturing in Turkey, leading the field in the automotive and textile industries. But the city is also a natural wonder: it sits at the base of the 2.000 meter-high Uludağ mountain, which is the location of the country’s first ski resort, and the city is also host to natural springs whose waters have long been thought to be therapeutic. Moreover, the fertile grounds around Bursa produce some of the country’s best produce. The municipality of Bursa required a new, modern facility for the wholesale trade of fruits and vegetables, as well as separate facility for fish and other seafoods. The building would consolidate these commercial activities, providing the city with a centralized control point from which to monitor the Bursa’s food supply.
The essential social function of a market is to fairly and transparently negotiate the quality and price of consumer goods through the complex interactions of many producers, brokers, and retailers together within a common space. By bringing these encounters together under one roof, the full extent of supply, demand, and quality can be accessed by all parties to the transaction at once, resulting in the most accurate evaluation of value. While markets were once the great gathering places of a community, functions such as wholesale trade are more and more frequently relegated to architecturally insignificant, anonymous warehouse spaces: a worldwide trend with negative repercussions for both the cultural traditions of trade, as well as for the individual labor’s experience of work. The design of Bursa’s wholesale greengrocer’s and fishmonger’s markets, on the other hand, maintain the idiom of the high, vaulted bazaar, connecting the new buildings symbolically and functionally with long-standing Central Asian architectural and cultural traditions.
The complex patterns of vehicle, material, and pedestrian traffic are carefully coordinated within fluid, elliptical shapes, which in turn are bordered by brokers’ offices. The rational form of the 350 meter-long greengrocer’s market is designed to facilitate easy orientation, efficient exchange, and optimal routing of foodstuffs from suppliers to retailers and restaurateurs – all of which keeps down transaction costs. But it is also a good place to work: an animated space and architecture that is representative of the energy and productivity of the laborers, as well as of the city of Bursa.
It should come as no surprise that the forms of the two buildings resemble stadiums: a market only works when goods are on display and transactions can be observed. The panoptical form is as appropriate to the activities of a market as to a football match. At the same time, the configuration of the naturally-ventilated spaces allows the municipality to ensure the efficient, safe distribution of food products to its citizens. By consolidating the wholesale trade of produce and fish for the city of Bursa in a single location, the municipality is able to monitor the goods for quality and also to ensure that health regulations are followed.
By reinstalling steel into the architecture of the Wholesale Greengrocer’s Market, a sense of emotional satisfaction was also achieved in the place, apart from all the functional conventionality. A high area topped with a steel spanned arched roof provides a healthy and orderly atmosphere for trade, as it is with grand bazaars of authentic Turkish architecture. Steel allowed reflecting Greengrocer’s Market’s unique character; and therefore, was the most suitable material.