PURCHASING THE PLOT CONTAINING THE TREES
The idea of building a Center for our Foundation had long been a cherished dream for us. To realize this dream we searched for a long time to find a suitable plot. Finally, we found a plot that deeply pleased our hearts. In addition to the size and affordability of the plot, the other features that attracted us included the location, which was away from the crowds and the noise of the city. Furthermore, it had a spectacular mountain view, with some centuries-old pine trees in and around the plot, all of which further added to the plot’s suitability and attractiveness for us.
After we purchased the plot, and we received the approved municipal zoning plan, we could begin to design our building project in line with the specific municipal zoning plan for that plot, whereafter we could start to build our Center. However, at this stage there was a very important issue that we had to take a decision about.
According to the approved municipal zoning plan, in order for us to build our Center, we would have to cut down the imposing, evergreen pine trees that were on the plot. This was because those imposing, evergreen trees were located on the exact spot on which the zoning plan had given us permission to build our Center.
CHANGING THE ZONING PLAN
The Management Committee and volunteers of the Foundation had a discussion regarding the way in which to solve this matter. This was necessary as cutting down trees contradicts our beliefs, our human conscience and our sensitivities about the environment, based on our heritage. We took a unanimous decision to do whatever it takes to prevent the trees from being cut down.
We engaged with the relevant municipal official on this matter. Following this meeting, an expert and competent delegation of architects and engineers were identified to investigate the situation on site. We accompanied the delegation to our plot. When the expert delegation saw that the trees would have to be cut down, if we were to build our Center on that site, according to the approved zoning plan, the delegation, without any hesitation, decided to change the zoning plan.
THE RISK OF CUTTING A SINGLE TREE
This decision truly pleased everyone. For according to the new zoning plan, it would not be necessary to cut down any trees. However, while digging the foundation for the building, we realized that there was a possibility of damaging the roots of a pine tree located very close to where we were meant to build our Center. The tree was very close to the building foundation, and upon completion of the ground floor, and when constructing the first floor, it was necessary for the huge pine tree to pass through the balcony in order to accommodate the gradient of the tree’s rising towards the building. Also, when constructing the second floor, because of its sloping gradient, the pine tree also had to pass through not only the balcony but also the salon.
The huge pine tree was in the middle of our plot. According to the approved zoning plan, the space behind the tree was just sufficient for us to construct our Center in order to accommodate all our requirements. If we wanted to completely eliminate the risk of cutting down the tree, the only option would have been to build our Center further away from the tree. However, this would have resulted in a Center that did not accommodate all our requirements. For this reason, we were unwilling to change the plan.
We were unwilling to cut down the tree for three reasons. Firstly, the imposing pine tree is endowed with life and existence and secondly it was approximately 325 years old, and thirdly the cultural heritage of our ancestors stipulated that we do not cut down living trees. It is said that needlessly cutting down a living tree can be likened to an act of murder. For these and other reasons, we could not extinguish the life of this tree by cutting it down.
A SOLUTION IS SOUGHT TO NOT CUT DOWN THE TREE
Since we were determined not to cut down the pine tree, we once again consulted with our Foundation Management Committee, some volunteers and a few experts who were knowledgeable about this matter. The purpose of this consultation was to evaluate the situation and to jointly find a solution.
At the end of the consultation, it was concluded that since the pine tree inclined towards our building, it seemed certain that most of the large roots were likely to be in the opposite direction of the slope. However, it was determined that the true situation would be clarified once the foundation was dug.
As we proceeded to build the upper floors of the building, we decided to adjust the plan in order to accommodate the points at which the tree would make contact with the building. Thus, it was now our task to dig the foundation, and after an assessment of the roots, we could proceed in line with what we encountered with regard to the tree.
DIGGING THE FOUNDATION AND SAVING THE TREE
The anticipated day arrived, and the foundation was dug meticulously. We saw and witnessed that all the big roots were in the opposite direction of the building, and that no large roots were damaged during the digging process. We expressed our gratitude to Allah and expressed thanks that the tree was not damaged and that our efforts were not wasted.
THE BUILDING WITH THE TREE PASSING THROUGH ITS BALCONIES
We amended our building plan to accommodate the points at which the tree made contact with the building and in this way, without damaging the tree, we finally completed the building. Now we have a rare and unique building which is admired and appreciated by everyone who sees it, since a large pine tree passes through two balconies and upon reaching the fourth floor terrace, the pine tree with its green foliage provides shade to whoever seeks it.
We firstly express our gratitude to Allah as the True Owner of the tree, the One Who gives it life, its Protector, Nurturer and Grower. Thereafter, we would like to thank everyone who contributed materially and immaterially to our objective of not cutting down our magnificent pine tree.
THE TECHNICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE PINE TREE:
SPECIES: PINUS BRUTIA TEN ( RED PINE)
AGE: 325 YEARS
HEIGHT: 16 METERS
CIRCUMFERENCE: 320 CM
Saruhanbey Knowledge, Culture and Education Foundation
Management Committee Members and Volunteers