Dror Benshetrit's Massive Artificial Island Could House 30,000 Residents Near Istanbul

Designer and architect Dror Benshetrit has a wildly inventive solution to a centuries old urban conundrum. Every couple hundred years in Turkey, a politician or engineer proposes the immense task of building a canal between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the latest to suggest the project, which would entail displacing nearly a billion cubic meters of dirt over the next decade. With all that excavation, finding a place to deposit that amount of earth is a problem. Benshetrit envisions using the soil to create an artificial island city called HavvAda that would house 30,000 residents. The island is composed of 6 hills where neighborhoods and businesses would intermingle with parks and valleys.

Dror Benshetrit has a a vision for a new type of city – one that incorporates private residences with commercial spaces and parks. His project is dubbed HavvAda, and it’s a man-made island that would support 30,000 people near Istanbul. The community would be laid out over 6 large hills supported by geodesic domes that house commercial spaces on the inside and neighborhoods on the exterior. Each hill would form a “micro-climate” with valleys intended for natural recreation areas. The island’s layout would focus less on the 2D model associated that most urban centers, and shift towards a 3-dimensional arrangement, allowing buildings to wrap around the landscape. This way, the structures could share infrastructure and support one another.

In addition to integrating self-sufficiency into the overall design of HavvAda, Benshetrit has collaborated with a team of designers, planners, and engineers to overcome many of the obstacles of modern living, such as traffic, overcrowding, and pollution. “Istanbul is a gorgeous city,” Benshetrit told Kyle Vanhemert of Co.Design, “but it’s suffering from the same problem that every large, dense, multimillion-resident city has today: enormous traffic, crazy pollution. It’s just a concrete jungle, as we call most of our cities at that scale.” Each point of the city would ideally be easily accessible, and reached within 12 minutes of travel time through walkways, public transport, and cable cars.

Plans for HavvAda continue to evolve, “It’s not a full product,” Benshetrit says, “it’s just a canvas, a motherboard for other designers and other architects to make different storefronts, different types of structures, to make different types of gardens and paths and things like that.” Far from fully conceptualized, it is still remarkable to see what one designer can imagine for a gigantic pile of dirt. Benshetrit will soon be debuting his model at Istanbul Design Week later this month.