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Levent Şentürk

Published Jul 24, 2020

It is difficult to transcend the contemporary vocab of architecture, yet it is an obligation. And heterotopia is no exception. This word must have been cited millions of times after Foucault, sometimes in such a parroting and echoing fashion that, it finally bankrupted. Once a sparkling concept hits the ground, there is no way to raise it. The word in the title should not be misread as hetero-topology: This would mention some divergences within a mathematical field. It should rather be taken as the science of heterotopias: Heterotopo-logy (Hetero-topos-logia). For a genealogy of the heterotopias, one can start to identify an otherness within spaces, so as to reach the oldest sources of the heterotopias which can be named as ur-topias. Foucault differentiated heterotopias from utopias and this initial distinction is still valid. One can also identify garbotopias made up of garbological spaces in or around cities. (Junkspace is another parenthesis.) What does the nomenclature of places consist of? The earth could be divided into four realms of heterotopias –minerotopias, aquatopias, hydratopias, and aerotopias. As a planet, a heavenly body, the world is a sum of gravitopias –the totality of heterotopias emerging from gravity. The heterotopias as anthropo- centrique fictions are no doubt anthropotopias. And added to that, these anthropomorphisms are scaled such as megatopias, macrotopias to isotopias (which indicates the sphere where humans reside). In terms of life, the whole universe is divided into two parts as biotopia and necrotopia; cemeteries belong to the latter. A cinema is a monotopia, when the film begins, this space becomes a ditopia (a multi-layered heterotopia). Heterotopias can be in a constant development considering velocity; the progression is gearing from dronotopia (remembering the dronology of Paul Virilio) to fluxotopia. Textual heterotopias can be called textotopias whereas they are adapted to orality they can be called logotopias. Further specifications: A light heterotopia is a luminotopia; similarly, one can name a sound heterotopia as phonotopia and a heterotopia of heat, a thermotopia, etc. In the architectural studio, the heterotopia topic will come up eventually; one must keep in mind that Foucault has only made an introduction to the concept. Today we need to specify every possible distinction to invent an up to date vocabulary.


Foucault, M. (2008). Of Other Spaces (1967) Heterotopia and the City, Public Space in a Postcivil Society. Ed. and Trans. Lieven de Cauter, Michiel Dehaene. Routledge, New York.
Şentürk, L. (2016). Yengeç Baladı. Kült Publications, İstanbul.

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