Pazar’s are open for business year round with sophisticated, yet simple, means to create a ‘shared canopy’ -- a whole -- to cope with Istanbul’s four distinct seasons. The shared canopy is made from three basic parts: tarps, ropes and poles (Figure 1, diagram of whole + parts). These parts are brought and owned individually by the vendors (tables are rented on-site as part of their annual rental fee fixed throughout the municipalities). The ropes create a hybrid tension and kinetic structure. The tension structural system connects to buildings, vertical structures (trees, telephone poles, fences), and merchant tables, while the kinetic dimension of the system uses poles in friction with asphalt, concrete, dirt, and rocks (Figure 2, aisle).. Weights are also used to hold their position against the forces of the tensioned tarps – and I think also used to keep people from tripping over the poles in the middle of the aisles. In creating this structure, merchants borrow rope line space, canopy space, connection points and context to create the elaborate web of the structure. The merchants take great pride in their ropes and tarps placing a great value on their quality and maintenance. Both natural materials and synthetic materials are used for the ropes and tarps, while the poles are almost always made from simple steel tube (Figure 3, shared canopy). Poles are also used on rainy days to poke at the tarps to drain the puddles collecting on their horizontal surfaces. The tarps let light through, shade against harsh sun, and protect all from the rain and snow – hence different tarps are used during different seasons.
The importance of the pazar’s endurance as a common urban archetype in the fabric of Istanbul is in its intensification of existing open-space resources, its impromptu collaborative structures, and the rhythmic, yet ephemeral, animation of urban neighborhood’s public space. Everything that is used to create the ‘market-place’ for a day comes and then goes only for the duration of purpose. It generates value for the city in social public-space, income, and access to affordable goods for the residents. It makes no pretension to exclude different social class nor become permanent. Its structures are simple and timeless, yet use sophisticated structural forces we are only now beginning to understand in the design of permanent structures. And, although there is no sign posting, flyers, or advertisement, it relies on social networks and neighborhood word-of-mouth to learn the locations, best vendors, and the day of the event. The pazar has not lost its relevance in the contemporary fabric of Istanbul and its minimalism delights our imaginations for other means to transform the existing open-space infrastructure into theatrical public-space. (in Turkish Pazar means both marketplace and Sunday)