Gentlemen Magazine Exclusive Interview

We listened to the EKMAS Investment project Saff KAZDAĞLARI, where nature and luxury are intertwined at the foothills of the Ida Mountains, from Aboutblank Architecture & Urban Design Founding Partner Master Architect Erhan Vural…

G: Could you tell us a little about yourself? 

E.V: I was born in 1983 in Antalya. I graduated from YTU Faculty of Architecture with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in 2019.

I continue my academic studies in the Architectural Design PhD program. My works titled “Parametric Portrait” and “Christmas Tree”, which I created by blending architectural and urban design practices with new generation art approaches, were exhibited at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2019. My utopias in the field of Urban Design and Architectural Design were exhibited as NFT collection in various media. I am also the architect of Saff KAZDAĞLARI, an EKMAS Investment project. I continue my work under the brand name “Aboutblank”, of which I am the co-founder. 

Aboutblank is a unique brand where architecture and urban design are reflected in all projects as a holistic approach. We adopt a production process that blends site-specific values and experience from tradition with contemporary design approaches and technological infrastructures. We have an efficient and sustainable flow that utilizes the latest possibilities of computer-aided and parametric design. We have projects implemented in urban design, city square, city park, life valley and zoning plan scale, especially ecological living villages, housing, mass housing, high-rise buildings, offices, schools, mixed buildings, factories and public buildings.

G: If we talk about Saff KAZDAĞLARI, what are the technical features of the project? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

E.V: The project area is a 60,000 square meter area in Mount Ida, adjacent to the forest. Within the area, there is a grove area that flows through the forest and divides the area into two. This grove of pine and oak trees already tells us in its own way how we should approach architectural design.

In this area, which is 650 meters above sea level, there will be a total of 90 carefully designed wooden houses of two different types. In addition to the wooden houses, there is a boutique hotel structure that we designed for temporary users who want to experience the area. In connection with this hotel, there will be 20 glamping units. Glamping offers a nice experience for people who have adopted the city life to meet with nature. We attach great importance to these units, especially as they offer both comfort and the freedom to be in touch with nature.

In architectural design, we have taken care to design with qualified materials that preserve their own character. We have a simple design approach where wooden structures are predominant and topographic elevations are organized with natural stones and compacted soils specific to the location. We preferred wood because it is a building material that minimizes the carbon footprint from the production stage to the end user. In order to diversify the daily lives of the users in the project and to include them in the natural cycle here, we have created common areas in unexpected corners within the area. These areas can be a refreshment or meditation stop, or a small square and a pergola covering this square. There will be designs that allow for agriculture and agricultural workshops, art workshops, sports activities, yoga, meditation and artistic workshops that are thought to be spontaneously incorporated into life over time.

The landscape design in our project is not just a background, passive landscape. We aim for an active landscape where people can communicate and offer products that can be included in production. Instead of visually strong plants that require a lot of irrigation, we have a landscape design with plants that already exist in the natural vegetation of the place and are suitable for the habitat of this region.

G: What will be the social facilities in the project?

E.V: Common social facilities will include a Hotel and Social Facility, Event Square, Village Products Center, Village Market, Village Grocery, Cafes, Ecological and Vegan Restaurants, Electric Vehicle Point, Children’s Playgrounds, Pet Social Area, Parking Lot, Common Technical Areas and Service Units. In addition to these, there will be Common Production Areas such as Endemic Plants Center, Olive Workshops, Ancestral Seeds Storage, Orchard and Fruit Trees Garden. Rhythm and Music Studio, Art Studio, Yoga and Breathwork Studio, Forest Excursion Center and Forest Resting Points, Olive Grove, Silence Workshop, Orchard and Fruit Garden, Mini Carpenter and Hobby Studios, Wine Cellar and Tasting House, Glamping Information Center and Outdoor Sports Areas will also be included in the project.