Istanbul's bridge and the coup

A failed coup gave new meaning to a bridge


Istanbul, Turkey

As the dust settled on July 16, 2016, dozens of soldiers with their arms up in surrender were replaced on the Bosphorus Bridge with hundreds of civilians with their arms up in celebration. The Bosphorus Bridge would never be seen the same way and Turkey's prime minister suggested a new name for the bridge: "July 15 Martyrs' Bridge."

For Failed Architecture, I wrote about the changing symbolism of the vintage-1973 intercontinental bridge. Such a infrastructure project was long a dream of Turkey's modernizing elite. It was imagined and constructed as apolitical space, a piece of infrastructure that would allow Istanbul to become once again the navel of the world.


I examined how politicians used engineering projects to further their own ends, not just during planning and construction but also in post-facto claims over extant structures. By focusing my research on a major bridge, I was able to draw out a universalizing message on how citizens connect to grand infrastructure and the potential detachment between this connection and political reclamations of space.