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Metu Department of Architecture completes its annual graduation show with provocative exhibition

Turkey - Jun 19, 2017 - 12:28   4825 views

Metu - Department of Architecture completed its Spring 2016-17 final reviews for undergraduate programs with the participation of diverse jury members at the end of May. The Department's 2017 end of year show marked the end of academic year with a series of ingenious and thought-provoking model works, which are all on display throughout the Faculty of Architecture Main Hall.

After several dynamic months and seminars, the outcomes of studio works resulted in varied experimentations, inexpugnable utopias, playful model works, artful presentations and provocative mixed-media drawings, highlighting its students' interdisciplinary thinking, global research and investigation on design, technology and harsh criticism within multipartite contexts.

When architecture and design processes faced with inevitable consequences of global impacts of built environment, undoubtedly, the studio works become a true medium to reinterrogate, investigate and delve into new practical and alternative convergences between theory and architectural practices, which are not discussed profoundly in every segment of professional practice.

While promoting and injecting knowledge to the future of architects over their studio works, it is important and necessary to assign the task on global issues and new design tools, elevating pragmatic solutions and exploring new intersections in a disciplinary expertise through individual intellectual thinking. While doing that, being aware of the cultural heritage and understanding deeper meaning of the context's historical presence always become vibrant components of the program for studio works, to act as a "driving force" and to mould new imageries and formal sophistications with possible solutions - from the local's urban fabric to across countries, cities, contexts and cultures. 

Metu's Department of Architecture, named among the world's top architecture schools, emphasizes this transitive relationship by giving an incisive critical thinking through architectural design, current building technologies, parametric architecture, architectural and critical theory, historicism and criticism. In the second semester, the undergraduate students have been assigned with different tasks and case studies to understand and interpret different norms, parameters/sub-parameters and shifting boundaries of the cities, the urban, the rural and even the nature within a social and political context.

Within this highly-innovative spectrum for the second term, the Department's latest incarnation, in particular, focuses on various modes of housing typologies and productions mixed with the increased complexity of infrastructural programs as well as seeking new paradigms of designing a "school of architecture" in Paris and/or designing "a new center" for students of Bologna University in Italy. 

To peruse Metu students' graduation projects with unstoppable imaginations, individual freshness and propelling idealism and innovation on shaping the future of cities, we've rounded up some quirky studio visuals and student projects from the annual show and exhibition. 

Now, scroll down to see visuals from juries and student projects with studio themes:

First year students at the Metu - Department of Architecture explored the theme of "The Garden of Forking Paths", inspired by the short story of "The Garden of Forking Paths" written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1941. 

To investigate a series of spatial complexities in architecture design and create their own scenarios, in their final assignment, the students were asked to "design an architectural environment influenced by the special characteristics in this fictive narrative in several steps."

Directed by program Instructors and a unique roster of Program Assistants including İpek Gürsel Dino, Ekin Pınar, Türel Saranlı, Şenol Yağız, Pelin Yoncacı Arslan, Berrin Zeytun Çakmaklı, Gülnur Güler, Gonca Tunçbilek, Duygu Tüntaş and Ece Yoltay, the students were given several abstract paintings to transform these paintings into an architectural topography.

 "The students were free to use any material or method of construction, provided that all architectural interventions should bear a similarity in language," stated in the studio assignment.

"The continuity of the human movement should be paralleled by the continuity of the topography," emphasized in the studio description. 

Second year students of Metu - Department of Architecture have been asked to design a Scientific Research Centre at Metu area in Incek, Ankara, a newly urbanized district in south direction of Ankara. The theme of design, developed as "an erudite" project, the centre was "thought as a scholarly significant space in terms of contributing to the scientific research activities."

The studio task has focused on the production of new scientific knowledge to elevate quality of civilization and to meet national and international demands within a diverse landscape of research. 

"Production of new scientific knowledge is the principle quality of civilization and a fundamental merit of contemporary societies. Knowledge is produced in a variety of organisations including universities, colleges, research associations, corporate institutes, governmental  or non-governmental  establishments," stated in the studio task.

"Diverse research programs, mechanisms and working teams constitute the heterogeneous landscape of research. Indisputably, advances in science have a range of technological, societal, cultural, economic and environmental consequences."

The studio led by İnci Kale Basa, Ela Alanyalı Aral, Marco Bruno, Fatih Öz, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture Güven Arif Sargın, Barış Yağlı, Yiğit Acar, Zuhar Acar, Elif Bekar, Melih Cin, Serdar Erişen, Nadide Gür and Duygu Hazal Simser.

The third year studio of Metu - Department of Architecture, divided into four groups, worked on different themes for their studio assignments. One of the groups, directed by Aydan Balamir, Kadri Atabas and Elif Öztek, searched for a new urban vision in Amasya - a city located in northern Turkey. The design task for students wanted to explore two major components in their design proposals. 

Firstly, the students have been asked to "propose an alternative neighborhood development on the lots of existing apartment blocks in the defined area (keeping the few listed buildings that have remained within the blocks)," and secondly, they have been asked to "design of landings, which may be conceived as piers and bridges that will enhance the profile of the town at this locality."

"The aim is to earn vitality and attraction to the area, bringing in the challenge of competing with the most pictureque part of the town, before the river turns north," stated in the studio assignment. 

The studio works consisted of several case studies, studio trips, documentaries, sketch problems and readings, developed within the scope of the course.

The other studio group, directed by Haluk Zelef, Hasan Okan Çetin and Ensar Temizel, asked their students to develop a "Link-linear Interaction Knot for Boğaziçi University Campuses" to increate awareness at this site as related to its cultural heritage and historical significance by increasing the complexity of program in an urban context. 

Developed as a continuation project of the first semester, in the second term, the students were asked to play with the topography by considering different sizes of spaces and structural systems. 

"Acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills required to carry out a design project with increased complexity of program, structural system and contextual issues," stated in the studio assignment.

"(Knowledge) Building up of culture and repertoire for the analysis and design of housing with mixed-use schemes, innovative structures and multifunctional public buildings."

"(Skills) Improvement of skills in architectural planning and presentation techniques; advanced proficiency in oral, visual and written mediums for communication of design ideas."

"(Attitudes) Awareness development for the cultural heritage and sites of natural and historical significance; acquaintance with the legal and ethical aspects of working in such contexts," emphasised in the studio description.

In the fourth year studio, studio works were divided into four groups and took their final reviews by exploring four different contexts across the world ranging from Bologna-Italy, Paris to Bodrum and Izmir in Turkey. In all groups, students presented their architectural projects with riveting and innovative model works by taking into consideration all ingredients of sustainable urban-ecology, technology, social issues and innovation as highly relevant information to real-world.

One of the groups, directed by faculty members Ayşen Savaş, Arzu Gönenç Sorguç and Onat Oktem and Pınar Yazdıç, worked on the design of a new center for the students of Bologna University. The outcomes of studio works resulted in highly-innovative and experimental spatial investigations - represented as both formally and functionally - creating new interactions as a driven-force within spatially defined complexities by students.

 "The major challenge is the radical difference  between  the day and night, work and holiday, inside and outside. The decisions will transform into a structural composition which will accommodate a desired living and working 'platform' for students of Bologna University," stated in the studio task.

The other fourth year studio group, led by Zeynep Mennan, Rüya İpek Balaban, Cumhur Keskinok and Egemen Berker Kızılcan, explored new conditions and spatial complexities of a Vertical Campus in Izmir. 

The studio projects have been reviewed by Metu faculty members and guests including İnci Kale Basa, Hasan Okan Çetin, Duygu Tüntaş, Ensar Temizel, the founder of World Architecture Community Suha Ozkan, İlhan Kural, Enis Öncüoğlu, Başak Uçar, Heves Beşeli and Derin İnan.

Defining the concept of Vertical Campus as a new "informal social learning" space in an urban context, the studio has studied the theme of the vertical campus through the program of a School of Architecture and Design in the city centre of İzmir. 

"The vertical campus is seen to foster inter-disciplinarity and multi-disciplinarity, while the increasing use of communication and information technologies is a challenge to the relationship between the physical setting and the learning experience, requiring the integration of both material and virtual environments together with more informal, "social learning" spaces into the architectural program," stated in the studio description.

The third group of the studio, directed by Celal Abdi Güzer, Lale Özgenel, Yeşim Hatırlı and Nihan Büşra Aydın, has explored new possibilities of a Research and Museum Park of Aegean Culture and Peace in Çatalada, Bodrum, Turkey. Named under the theme of "Bridging Cultures and Memory", the students have been asked to design a new research and museum park providing new social and recreational facilities and offering new scenarios to interpret 'peace' in a contextual and spatial way.

"The core program to be given is around 25.000 square-metre area and is open for personal contributions. Since the site is a natural asset, students are also expected to take into consideration issues of environmental awareness, energy efficiency and waste management as significant and vital design parameters; the island should be planned as a fully self-sufficient place in terms of energy and water use," stated in the studio task.

Last group of the studios, directed by Cana Bilsel, Ali Sinan and Neris Parlak, has been asked to design a school of architecture in Paris. Named as "A Center of Architectural Production and Exchange: Designing and In-City Campus for A School of Architecture in Paris", the studio task has been conducted in collaboration with the ENSA Paris La Villette on the basis of an initial programming proposed.

"The schools of architecture, founded after the École des Beaux-Arts came to end in the aftermath of 1968 student events in Paris, were interspersed in the city. Paris La Villette School of Architecture (initially named as the UP-6) was established in an old industrial setting in La Villette in the northeastern sector of the city," emphasised faculty members in the studio description.

"As in the case of other schools of architecture, ENSA Paris La Villette has strengthened its mutual ties with the surrounding district in time. The school actually counts 2300 students and around 300 instructors."

"The new School of Architecture is expected to create a new pole for the education, production and exchange of architecture."

"Imagining a creative and inspiring environment for the education of the future architects, a center for the production of ideas and artifacts of art and architecture and exchange of knowledge, ideas, projects and a node of social encounters is what is primarily expected from the designers of the new school of architecture," they added. 

All images © WAC, courtesy of Metu, Department of Architecture

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