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Plate glass and concrete frames, the liberating pillars of the heroic modernists, twist and contort into medieval fortresses. If the project of the modern city has been to erase borders, the latest artifacts of Istanbul’s transformation betray their avant-garde appearance: gargantuan buildings surround a protected garden, detached from the city by their autonomy. Recalling the walled spaces of the Ottoman Era, this Enclosed Paradise is emerging as a new, universally applied, architectural typology. It comes, however, at the inevitable cost of urban plurality.
Ironically, these isolated enclaves are sprouting up at a time when Istanbul is transforming into a metropolis without limits. New roads, bridges, subways, tunnels, airports and canals are being cut through tightly-knit claustrophobic neighborhoods, bulldozing the barriers to neoliberal exchange. Gated communities and other introverted spaces dutifully maintain order amidst this urban maelstrom, walled off from the discord of an endless and rapidly transforming city. […]