What is Architecture For? Conference



Sofitel @ 09:00 - 18:00

The Istanbul Association of Architects in Private Practice (IstanbulSMD) is organizing the first event of an international series, the "What is Architecture For?" conference, to highlight and discuss the role, perception, and impact of architecture as a  profession in the global challenging conditions as well as of our country and the surrounding region. The conference also seeks to contribute to enhancing the quality of the physical environment. The "What is Architecture For?" conference, targeting current topics in the field of architecture with expert speakers, is set to take place on February 21, 2024, hosted by Sofitel Istanbul Taksim Hotel, main sponsor Tuna Office Furniture, sponsors Baumit, Nippon and  Stoneline and supporters Geberit and Kasso.

The registration form for the event is available at this link.

Operating for 21 years with the support of leading independent architectural offices in Istanbul and all stakeholders in the construction sector, the Istanbul Association of Architects in Private Practice (IstanbulSMD) is launching the "What is Architecture For?" conference series as part of its mission to reveal, discuss, and contribute to the improvement of the role, perception, and impact of the architectural profession in society, and to elevate the quality of the physical environment.

In the aftermath of the profound earthquakes that significantly impacted our nation last year, İstanbulSMD took the initiative to ponder the question, "What actions can be taken?" as a response to these multifaceted crises. This year, alongside the ongoing efforts devoted to advancing the professional growth of aspiring architects affected by earthquakes, İstanbulSMD endeavours to elevate the prominence of architecture by introducing a novel query: "What purpose does architecture serve?"

The conference taking place at Sofitel Istanbul Taksim on February 21st is sponsored by Tuna Office Furniture as the main sponsor, with support from Baumit, Nippon, and Stoneline as sponsors and with supporters and supporters Geberit and Kasso.. Arkitera, Binat Architecture Media Group, FluTV, mimarizm.com, yapi.com.tr, and Yapı Kataloğu are among the media partners of the conference.

Curated by Ertuğ Uçar, a member of IstanbulSMD's Board and partner of Teget Architecture and Banu Uçak a free-lance architect, editor, teacher and curator the conference program, carefully crafted after extensive discussions, takes a Vitruvian perspective inspired by one of the oldest known sources to address contemporary architecture.

"What is Architecture For?" conference focuses on the role of architecture in regions where significant destruction occurs due to wars, catastrophes, and even extensive expansion of the cities. It emphasises the "healing role of architecture" while questioning the needs of humanity in this era, inviting the audience to explore them through the lens of Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" theory proposed in 1943.

Each session in the conference program seeks to find the equivalent of at least one of Vitruvius's concepts of "utilitas, firmitas, and venustas," which used to define good architecture two millennials ago. Examining the necessity of creating "solid" and "useful" spaces for human survival, the conference questions the construction systems, technology, and perspectives presented in our country today, offering innovative examples and asking, "How else can it be done?"

The concept of "beauty" proposed by Vitruvius as an essential element in architectural work will also be discussed within the conference context. It will address the perception of "Is design expensive?" that professionals in design disciplines often face in Turkey.

The conference, featuring discussions with emerging actors in Turkish architecture who produce high-quality architecture with different approaches, is expected to enrich the atmosphere with new and fresh questions rather than producing answers.

The conference hosts expert international speakers...

"What Do We Expect from Buildings?"

#Firmitas #Utilitas #Venustas 

The opening session of the conference will be conducted by Y. Architect and Partner at TEĞET Architecture, Ertuğ Uçar. Uçar will kick off the day by posing the first question inspired by Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs": "What do we expect from a building, the realized form of architectural design?" Uçar's question aims to address the most fundamental and visible aspect of architecture that touches all of society, opening the way for discussions throughout the day and paving the way for questions in various slices of the architectural needs pyramid.

"Architecture for Life"


Marwa Al- Sabouni, Architect, Author, Arabic Gate for Architectural News

Aslı Özbay, Conservation Specialist, Architect, Partner at TH İdil Architecture 

This session will be shared by two women architects, Marwa and Aslı, who share common sensitivities, common geography, and similar building cultures, contemplating the well-being of their societies. Dr. Marwa Al-Sabouni, an award-winning Syrian architect and international speaker, will share her "visionary observation" with "Battle for Home," a book that shares the vision of how cities and buildings can be rebuilt after the destruction of war. Accompanying her will be Architect Aslı Özbay, who actively works on strategies for the social responsibility of architecture in various NGOs after the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş and contributes to the reconstruction process, especially in Hatay and Antakya. Marwa and Aslı will emphasize not only how to rebuild but also where to start, how to build for "hope," and how to ensure belonging, whether due to war, earthquake, or climate disaster.

“Architecture for Hope

"Reyhanlı World Citizens Center”

#Firmitas #Utilitas #Venustas

Architect Chen-Yu Chiu (Cho), for the past 8 years, has been working on the Center in Reyhanlı to serve the people affected by the war. The Centre, designed by Cho voluntarily, draws references from Islamic architecture, the Aleppo Grand Mosque, and the Hittite civilization. Despite limited resources, the Center has a surprisingly high level of architectural quality which was awarded recently in World Architecture Festival. The Centre, crucial for the 100,000 population of Reyhanlı, which has received 250,000 refugees due to the 11-year war and migration, serves as a vital hub for building a shared life with multi-purpose meeting rooms, sports facilities, workshops, sales areas for local businesses, and inclusive approaches for children, women, and people with disabilities. The Center, which also serves as a temporary shelter for thousands of Hatay residents after the earthquake disaster, will be presented as a significant example within the conference, symbolizing the role that architecture and architects can play for hope, peace, and societal well-being.

"How Else Can It Be Done?"

#Utilitas #Firmitas 

The section titled "How Else Can It Be Done?" in the conference will showcase the stories of projects that have been built or proposed in Turkey using non-conventional construction systems or methods beyond the traditional reinforced concrete approach, not widely accepted for reasons such as cost, culture, and politics. In this session, alternative construction materials and methods, presented by Melih Şimşek - Civil Engineer, Founder of Consera, Vice President of TUCSA, Serter Karataban - Architect, Founder of TeamFores, and Y. Burak Dolu - Msc. Architect, Restoration Expert, KOOP Architecture, Caner Bilgin, Architect , Bilgin Architectural Design Studio  will be discussed.

"Is Design Expensive?"


The concept of beauty and aesthetics in architecture, with diverse approaches from young and productive actors in Turkish architecture, will be discussed under the moderation of Zehra Tonbul, the Head of the Department of the Faculty of Architecture at Istanbul University. The session will explore topics such as the aesthetics produced by the context, the aesthetics of transformation, the aesthetic power of architectural objects, and the aesthetics of competitions, challenging the common perception that "aesthetic brings cost" in the eyes of the majority, often associated with employers. Alongside moderator Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zehra Tonbul, speakers Abdurrahman Çekim - Baraka Architecture, Salih Küçüktuna - Pin Architects, Tuna Han Koç - RASA Studio  and Murat Şahin - PDG Architects will participate in the discussion.

"What is Architecture For?"

#Firmitas #Utilitas #Venustas 

Moderator: İlker Canikligil, Director, Co-Founder of FluTV 

Prof. Dr. Uğur Tanyeli, Faculty Member, Istanbul University Faculty of Architecture

In the closing session of the day, one of Turkey's most productive academicians in architecture and architectural historian, Prof. Dr. Uğur Tanyeli, will answer questions posed by İlker Canikligil, Founder of FLU TV. The dialogue between the intellectual from outside the profession and the labourer in architectural theory, Uğur Tanyeli, is aimed at providing viewers with enlightening and enjoyable insights, opening new windows of perception. Architect, Lecturer, Editor, and Consultant Banu Uçak will conduct the whole day’s moderation.

The "What is Architecture For?" conference, with its comprehensive approach throughout the day, aims to discuss questions it raises with a wide and diverse audience, including architects, planners, interior designers, designers, leaders of relevant civil society organizations, academicians, researchers, material, technology, and system manufacturers, representing different sectors of the construction industry. The conference also intends to bring its context to the forefront beyond the professional field.

Conference participation will be possible only with invitation.

You can fill out the form at this link for registration for the event. 

You can access the Press Kit for the event through this link.

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