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SOLIDARITY ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION

Despite the seeming diversity in the last twenty years, the architectural environment, both in Turkey and in the world is increasingly becoming more monotonous and seems at a crossroads. In these last two decades, the type of architecture prevalent in many areas from architectural media to education is losing it’s authority and gradually becoming more questionable. It seems like we are at the verge of a new era of pluralism, in the field of architecture. 

The Solidarity Architecture Exhibition brings together the work of seven different architectural groups that already represent a branch that will create a distinctive and unique line in the coming period. Each of these seven groups, sometimes with a history of only a few years or a decade, have willingly undertaken the duty of meeting certain social requirements both professionally and as volunteers, a task not requested by any customer, employer or investors as in ordinary professional practice, on the contrary as a quest they have created, noticed and supported according to their own points of views. 

Each of these groups have a unique stance in terms of architectural practices and the role of architecture in terms of urban struggles. Yet, all groups produce alternate discourses against the prevailing rhetoric in the architectural environment with their stances. Collective architectural production instead of popular individualism, researching different participation possibilities instead of commoditized consecrated design discourse, exploration of new methods in ownership, instead of an ideological infrastructure based on the equations of the real estate world, are distinct tendencies of these groups participating in the struggles of urban rights.

Volunteer contributions to the urban struggles that these groups has or is supporting are undoubtedly worthy of their own praise. In addition, the type of contribution they offer for these struggles creates a new area of discussion within the field of architecture and deems what has been achieved experimental and leading.

It is necessary to consider and evaluate the contribution of each group to the field of architecture separately. However, in order to discuss this new area opened in front of us thoroughly, we need to consider the architectural context of the last twenty years in Turkey and in the world, along with examining the unique productions and forms of productions of these groups.

BIG BUILDINGS AND THE RISE AND FALL OF ARCHITECTURE OF SPECTACLE
21st Century’s Inflection in International Mainstream Architecture

“Deconstructive Architecture Exhibition” was organized by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley in MOMA in New York in 1988. Deconstructive architecture could not create a widespread impact as an architectural trend; it was not embraced by the majority of architects attending the exhibition and therefore, the concept was quickly forgotten under less than a decade. However, the names at the exhibition had a much wider effect in a different aspect; eight architects attending the exhibition would within the next years gain an unprecedented international fame…

By 1988, only a few had a reputation for their respective constructed structures. In the decade following the exhibition, each one of these eight architects toured around the world and attended conferences where they elucidated architectural representations that were deemed extremely radical at the time and achieved an international regard with these few structures. These eight architects attending the exhibition would later on be remembered as the first generation of the “star architects”.

In the next decade, as individuals who are now in their fifties, despite the beginning of their careers, they append their signatures and build enormously large projects very rapidly, all around the world. Each one of them established offices employing hundreds of architects in different metropolitans around world; they build structures that claim to change the fate of a city like the Guggenheim Museum and held training workshops at some of the world’s most renowned architecture schools. The generation of star architects had an unprecedented impact that the previous generation of architects could not have imagined; along with the enormous sized projects, they soon become dominant in almost the whole architectural domain from architecture media to training studios.

There is, of course, a concretebackground that facilitates this rapid expansion: the unipolar order after the 1990, where obstructions stemmed from nation states are resolved through direct military intervention and in an environment of the abundance of money and the limitless capital movement, the majority of the investments are directed to the construction and the real estate industry. In almost all of the developing construction is the credo of the discourse on development. The developments in computer technologies also opened up a speculative design area and also at the same time, expedited communication possibilities. The rapid development of the Internet during the same period has enabled impressive photographs to become widespread; a single impressive visual through tremendous expansion and rapid consumption, started having more impact than books full of criticism and theories…

This generation, which ends in a sense with this intense and widespread influence on the debates of modern post / postmodern architecture of the ‘70s and ‘80s, is also called neo-modernists, with their radical modernist attitudes in the field of architecture. They are often compared to the first moderns along with the radical visuality of the architecture they produce, not with their style or mode, but with their quest for re-locating architecture for the society, just like the first moderns, with their vision and their claim to provide direction to architecture “in trouble”. How the direction and vision they offer is similar to the moderns leads to plenty discussions later on.

Just like Corbusier was for the first moderns, this generation also has a spokesman who talks and writes a lot: Rem Koolhaas. Frequently compared to Corbusier in this respect, he writes the manifesto of this new generation at the very beginning. Koolhaas wrote these lines in the “Bigness” text in his S, M, L, XL book published in 1994:.

Beyond a certain scale, architecture acquires the qualities of BIGNESS. The best reason to broach BIGNESS is the one given by the Everest climbers say: “Because it is there.” Bigness is ultimate architecture.

(...)
Beyond a certain critical mass, a building becomes a BIG building. Such a mass can no longer be controlled by a single architectural gesture, even by a combination of architectural gestures.This impossibility triggers the autonomy of its parts, however, this is not the same as fragmentation; the parts remain committed to the whole.
(...)
Together, all these breaks - with scale, with architectura composition, with tradition, with transparency, with ethics - imply the final, most radical break: BİGNESS is no longer part of any urban tissue. It exists; at most, it coexists. {ts subtext is fuck context.
(...)

If BIGNESS transforms architecture, its accumulation generates a new kind of city. The exterior of the city is no longer a collective theater where “it” happens; there’s no collective “it” left. The street has become residue, organizational device, mere segment of the continuous metropolitan plane where the remnants of the past face the equipments of the new in an uneasy standoff. Bigness can exist any where on that plane.

Not only is BIGNESS incapable of establishing relationships with the classical city-at most, it coexists-but in the quantity and complexity of the facilities it offers, it is itself urban. (Rem Koolhaas, “Bigness or the Problem of Large”, S, M, L, XL, 1995; çev. F. Daloğlu)

This text of Koolhaas, which claimed that “big buildings”(that today we are very familiar with in Istanbul) the inevitable future of architecture, for many years was accepted as a sacrosanct text, instead of being discussed in all architectural discussions and academic platforms; the “bigness” example asserted by Koolhaas was accepted as an oracle that was deemed automatically legitimate. Whereas, the text of Koolhas is nothing more than the defence of the “maddening” construction fury created by the flow of uncontrolled capital in the neoliberal period.

Especially since the end of 1990s and 2000s, star architects start building grand buildings all around the world; buildings that are so enormous in size and so expensive that they can claim to change the destiny of not just a city but the whole nation such as Guggenheim Bibao, Haydar Aliyev, CCTV, etc. Star architects on the other hand gain mighty fame and such recognition seems to have also raised the social acceptance of architecture. The buildings are known all around the world, appear in daily media and it is talked and discussed how buildings have a talisman to create a major break in the history of a city. However, the insidious power of capital that all this influence and recognition is leaning on is not so bright. The end of this architecture model, leaning and even becoming dependent on an uncontrolled capital, means accepting the role of architecture being reduced to the position of advertiser of the international real estate sector.

When the dazzling magical impact of big buildings and star architects begins to dissipate, the disturbing flaws of this kind of architecture gradually becomes visible. Buildings are indeed grand and expensive yet, despite all claims of progression, they also give way to heavy socio-economic discussions. Instead of their initial dazzling effect, big buildings which mostly appear in the petroleum natural gas geography, slowly start being mentioned together with issues such as the destruction of cities, cultures and memories, worker deaths, displacement of urban communities and nations wasting huge amounts of their wealth. The relationship of big buildings and star architects with authoritarian governments and uncontrolled capital has become so evident that finally Gehry blurted out:

“Democracy is indeed something we do not want to give up on but it definitely creates chaos. It means that the man in the next door apartment can do whatever they please and this creates a difference of opinion. In cities, this means people can build whatever they please.

If you ask me, what would be the best is to have a well-meaning dictator -but they should have taste! It is really hard to find a middle course to select someone with a taste. There is no Robert Moses anymore.” (Benjamin Paukner, “Discussion with F. Gehry,” Foreign Policy, June, 2013, translated by. F. Daloğlu)

The 2008 economic crisis, especially it being caused by the real estate sector, was a breaking point for star architecture and grand projects.

Interestingly, it was again Koolhaas who announced the symbolic end of this era. The “Fundamentals” theme he suggested for the Venice Architecture Biennale, which he curated in 2014, and “Elements” exhibition he created with his usual stacking style is deemed as a declaration of regret; as a confession by some in the field of architecture. The owner of tabula rasa discourse in architecture and urban planning, Koolhaas, in an interesting and almost weird manner, is suggesting to reassess roots and history, to question different ways and experiences modernity followed in different geographies within the last century.

In 2016, the Chilean architect, Aravena, was awarded with the Pritzker Prize and was elected as the curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale. His emphasis on social housing designs for low income households, such as Quincy Monroy, and the theme of “Reporting from the Front” for the Biennial is often interpreted as the end of the star architect period and the culmination of a period in which the social responsibilities of architecture are particularly emphasized. The legitimacy of an architect and architectural tradition, which has become so prevalent in the architectural setting on the turn of the century, has now become questionable even in the circles that were the bearers this architecture.

Undoubtedly, this is a brief summary of the developments over the last 25 years in the most popular façade of main artery of the international architecture environment. Of course, in these 25 years there have been many things that were different or conflicting with what is described here. During these years, for instance, examples of architectural approaches that are very different from those of star architects such as Glenn Murcutt, Peter Zumthor or Shigeru Ban have received internationally acclaimed awards such as Pritzker Or for example, there are currently remarks and criticism that the restrained capital movement will cause a new breakthrough and points to another different type of star architecture along with claims that Aravena marked the end of the “star architecture” and the start of “social architecture.”

However, what is more significant and evident is now, instead of pseudo polemic questions such as “Is urban planning necessary? Are airports and shopping malls our new public spaces? Is tabula rasa good for the city?” that tired out everyone, almost all discussions in the field of architecture focus on the positive and negative impacts of architecture on the city, society and nature. While we can indistinctly guess what kind of trends and pursuits the future holds, it is evident that the field of architecture is at a crossroads.

TEST OF ARCHITECTURE WITH “GRAND URBAN TRANSFORMATION”
Last 20 Years of Cities and Architecture in Turkey

Although the glut of grand-size projects and their impact on the course of architecture in Turkey has similarities with international arena, it has evolved in its own unique way. Architects in Turkey encountered the urban transformation frenzy both as professionals and also were affected with this frenzy as city dwellers, especially as residents of Istanbul. In other words, it was a new and big business area for architects on the one hand, on the other hand, they were one of the groups expected to have perhaps the greatest awareness of this great fury regarding the impact on cities and the effects on nature. Thus, the major urban transformation move caused conflict in the architecture scene in Turkey; the community was divided, parties emerged and the tension between parties rose to a level that was not experienced before.

The construction frenzy that would give birth to this major urban transformation trend and which transformed the architectural scene started in 2000s and mainly in 2005. The year of 2005 was the year that the huge capital construction and real estate markets started flowing in Turkey, which came to a halt after the 1999 Marmara earthquake and the 2001 Economic Crisis. The annual construction permit volume which was around 60 million m2 at the end of the 1990s and which even dropped to 40 million m2 after the 1999 Marmara Earthquake and 2001 economic crisis has surpassed 100 million m2 in 2005 with a big leap and gradually increased to 220 million m2 to 2014. 2005 was also the year the “urban transformation” concept was officially included in the Turkish agenda with law no. 5366 and many other legal arrangements followed. (Numerical data is obtained from - Building License Statistics of Turkish Statistical Institute).

Along with urban regeneration projects in the historical core of  stanbul such as Tarlabaşı, Fener-Balat and Sulukule and giant urban transformation projects initiated at the suburbs such as Gülsuyu, Okmeydanı, Fikirtepe, Kartal and Küçükçekmece, the “big buildings”, that have controversial zoning statuses which extend beyond the central business area (CBD) of the city into the urban texture, started being constructed one after the other with extreme rate. The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) started producing uniform housing estates in extreme  numbers, while functioning as a real estate development company directly connected to the government by exceeding various housing estate activities. Since 2010 with the proposal of 3rd airport, 3rd bridge and finally “crazy project” Canal Istanbul, interventions made in Istanbul enhanced to the size of geographical level and between 2005 and 2015 became by far the decade with the highest construction activities in Turkey.

In order for us to visualize these feverish projects and construction activities of this decade, we should elucidate the building permits volumes; approximately 1.6 billion m2 of building permits were obtained in Turkey. This is equivalent to construction area of more than 20 m2 per person. In other words, when it is considered that 75% of this area is for residential buildings, it means that more than half of the population in Turkey received construction permits to purchase new properties. It means roughly that all settlements in Turkey have been renewed or new settlements were created within this decade.

Undoubtedly, there are also solid reasons for such a large construction  activity, such as the risk of earthquakes, especially the housing slump created by internal migration, as well as the extreme speculation of the real estate market. Whatever the cause, if the zoning and construction activities are carried out, grossly in a monopolistic manner and with extreme pace, the destruction it will bring on nature and the cities can become comparable to the earthquake itself. In cities, disadvantaged communities are driven out, environmental change is so rapid and vast that they become unrecognizable, the dimensions of destruction created on nature and culture are multiplied. The rough numerical picture presented above is enough to understand the severity of this situation. In a short span of ten years, half of all cities in Turkey has been reconstructed and have changed beyond recognition. This means that more than half, may even be the whole of the society to lose tangible facts of the built environment and urban memory of where they were born and lived in. Along with the inequality and the irrevocable damage to nature and culture, just this loss of memory is a fact that should be taken seriously within the society. This does not only lead to a figuratively “mad” situation but an actual source of many unforeseen problems. One of the best works on this period using Istanbul example is the movie “Ekümenapolis” shot by İmre Azem in 2012, which will undoubtedly serve as a documentation for the future generations.

In the face of this great urban transformation, which started in 2005, victims of this transformation started establishing neighbourhood councils, associations, groups and various environmental protection groups, which have been coalescing in solidarity with different NGOs for their legal rights. Despite the fact that one of the main constituents of these struggles were the Chamber of Architects and few architects from the academia, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the architectural community as a whole was caught off guard to such large-scaled construction activities.

Until 1980s in Turkey, the principal employer significantly was ministries, municipalities and government agencies and the work load was comparably small in terms of size and number in the field of architecture. The field underwent certain changes with the tourism investments in the 80s and since the 90s focusing especially to Istanbul and an architecture practice based on private capital has begun to emerge. In those years, a new architectural generation, who presented themselves in new architecture magazines, school workshops and few jobs, at events and exhibitions, was displayed and they opened their works to discussion, unlike their previous generation. This was a new and liberal trend in the very patriarchal architecture of Turkey until that day. Thus, this generation received the attention and praise they deserved both in academia and in the diversifying architectural publications. Some of the names of this generation gathered around different foci and “star architect” profiles and groups parallel to the international field was created during this era..

Until 2000, the quantity of works created was relatively limited, and the diversification in terms of quality and the roundtable debates about these works, created a vivid architecture scene. However, it can be said that the field of architecture, both in terms of practicing architects and academics, were neither organizationally nor intellectually prepared to grasp, the imminent grand construction trend’s impact on the architectural environment. Within a few years’ time, architectural firms employing more than hundreds with workloads more than thousands of square meters emerged in Turkey. All these progressed with extreme speed, without leaving any time to wait and think it thoroughly. Perhaps for this reason, while the majority of the architectural community was effectively involved in this construction frenzy, almost all of the parties used the phrase "exposed to" while defining this overall process.

The “cities cannot be planned” mottos, the “butterfly effect” theories, tabula rasa, mixed use, bigness, new generation public space theories and concepts prevailing in the international scene also expanded to Turkey, without even understanding what it meant in terms of the overall progress here.

In order not to be fair, it is worth remembering that this process was not entirely predictable from the beginning. Only now, after ten years, it can be measured, analysed and comprehended from different angles. In addition, this construction fury had, in spite of everything, very rational reasons such as an imminent earthquake risk especially for Istanbul, at least initially. In addition, the academia, which could have comprehended the totality of the situation, established and showed the required intellectual stance, was too busy with its own structural problems: the 11 architecture departments in 1990 were raised to 25 in 2000, 45 in 2010 and to 122 in 2015 with a major leap. Today there are more than 130 architecture departments at universities, including closed ones and these departments receive students with a total of over 6000 quota each year. Thus, architectural academia became lost in its own problems during this period.

Many different opinions and reactions emerged in the field of architecture during this time: some voluntarily took part in this major construction frenzy while others were on the quiet side, some criticized while profiting from it, some vehemently opposed, gave legal and social struggle, some blamed those who took part in it and others blamed antagonists of doing nothing more than criticizing without providing with any alternatives. As the period progressed, all these conflicts in the architecture field became increasingly harsher. As a result, together with all these conflicts, the major urban transformation move, whether mentioned explicitly or not, has inevitably occupied the whole of the architectural setting and the field of discussion.

In this challenging period, some young, relatively new groups in the architectural setting, while aware of the international environment, took a critical stance to the conditions surrounding them and established and tried totally unique architectural practices, nourished by many different channels. In an environment where the compulsive equations of ordinary market dynamics have spoiled these groups, they have not only claimed that there can be different models of architectures based on different equations; some of them actually constructed it.

One of the most crucial twists that should be mentioned during this period for Turkey was the Gezi Movement in 2013. The resistance formed round Gezi Park was a crucial threshold during which urban movements exploded and also became a cornerstone for different attitudes and sides within the architecture field to test themselves.

Perhaps even today, it is still early to fully and thoroughly evaluate this process; we will see the consequences of this frenzied construction activity mainly in society over the next decades, and we will assess how different actors in the architecture scene tested themselves under these circumstances. Hindsight of the last decade shows us that undeniably it has been one that will affect and determine our future. Both Turkey and the international architectural community is on the verge of a new fracture.

Perhaps it is time to seek new horizons.

SOLIDARITY ARCHITECTURE
Current Pursuits and New Developments

The groups participating to Solidarity Architecture exhibition were born out of this fast and in a way, destructive urban transformation period in Turkey while the field of architecture was congested under the dominant international discourse. Relatively new generations who took a critical stance against these conditions, created areas that they can establish and try different ways. All groups and works at the exhibition are products of this pursuit and the founders and followers of a new path within this field.

Some of the groups at the exhibition joined and supported an urban struggle formed within their own locality with their professional skills. Formation of some collective production groups is limited to local struggles. Some groups were independent of any locality, articulated to different struggles and in a way, provided support from outside with their professional skills. While other groups, not being directly connected to certain struggles and solidarity, established cooperation for the present and were born out of a more liberal and collective pursuit for architectural practice.

Each group attending the Solidarity Architecture exhibition rendered unexpected things possible by voluntarily joining a struggle for the environment and society and their contribution is more than remarkable in this respect. However, like most of the groups also indicated, while they were voluntary, their contributions were not simply for “charity”. To the contrary, their participation to the struggle they supported questions and provides alternatives to the social mechanism the concept of charity work belongs to. Their contribution to the struggle created an area on which they can test their own architectural pursuits.

From an architectural perspective, in addition to such contribution, each group offered new possibilities and areas of discussion for architecture. The areas each group worked on and the contributions they provided for the struggle expands the architectural practice and discussion beyond a limited framework consisting only of building production and its characteristics, socializes and also enriches it. Works created are leading and exemplary works we will use in the urban and architecture discussions.

Plankton Project, true to its name, reminds us with each new effort they carry out that in a field where we always talk about grand, big works, the smallest and remotest efforts might create effects that can grow and expand independent of its size. Each of these small-scaled works that look like independent of each other at first glance, are examples of a collective architectural production that cannot become anonymous.

Herkes İçin Mimarlık (Architecture for All) has been providing examples of an architectural practice where collective design and practice is at the forefront for a long time with each project they realize from the Gezi Parkı fests to Idle Village Schools Project. With an expansive field of operation and expertise from collective design and practice to struggle for urban rights and even to architectural training, HİM has an area of influence that cannot easily be created in an ordinary architectural field.

When we think of Architecture for All and Plankton Project together, they herald that organizations that stand beyond the ordinary practice of architecture, that seek possibilities of and implement collective architectural practices will progress in the near future and be on the agenda.

Düzce Hope Studio joined the long struggle of tenants who were left homeless after Düzce earthquake and for registering that those without title deeds can also become rights owners. Thus, it does not only help improve the concept of “rights ownership of residents”, one of the main problems of the urban transformation frenzy, but also acts as a leading institution by supporting the struggle for rights of all urban transformation sufferers.

The Assembly of Architects provides examples that the only way for renewal of neighborhoods is not only possible through massive projects that ignore the social texture of these neighborhoods. Along with their own creative contributions to the process in Küçük Armutlu, the “Küçük Armutlu Neighborhood Improvement Process Locally with the Locals” directly builds an example of collective architecture practice with innovative ways and methods such as specialized architectural contests, workshops, volunteering design support for the public, and collective building workshops.

Thanks to the creative and humble process carried out by the Architect Assembly, today we are not left without any alternatives against central and massive “urban transformation” displacing large social sections and we now have a ground that we can discuss the plusses and minuses of such alternatives.

On the other hand, with the support Düzce Hope Studio provided for the struggles of earthquake victims from Düzce, we can now discuss with examples that the right to life of the residents of this city is not only limited with title deed ownership.

Another Kind of Workshop operates on a wide field from protection against urban struggle to works carried out in rural areas, from theories to criticism starting from a workshop in academia. Within the past decade, the architecture scene was mainly lacking an effective criticism and theory setting among all the fast developments. Beyond what is has achieved, Another Kind of Workshop strives to offer a ground for theory and criticism that has settled within what this struggle means for Turkey and in the international context.

By supporting the long-term struggle of Inhabitants of Kuzguncuk Association, Kuzguncuk Gardens Preservation Initiative first enabled inhabitants of the neighborhood to envisage how İlya’s Gardens can be used as an area for urban agriculture, then to defend and protect it. Thus, İlya’s Gardens became an area commonly used by the neighborhood inhabitants and the architectural discussion expanded to a much more fundamental and liberal area by asking “How can gardens be handled and protected within a city?” instead of being stuck in a narrow area of discussion that only included talks about the properties of a certain structure, either a school or a hospital or other similar structure planned to be built on the site.

Similarly, the Initiative for Protection of Historic Yedikule Gardens gave the answer to the question “How can gardens exist today within the city walls of Istanbul?” by explaining to the public that it is both possible and necessary for the gardens to exist within the urban life based on the 2000-years of cultural heritage. While Yedikule gardens preservation process has not been completed like in Kuzguncuk example and the gardens are currently not under preservation, the progress the initiative achieved seems to have altered the topic of discussion in the fields of architecture and preservation to a much refined point, from the park planned to be built there and the properties of the structures to how the gardens can be integrated to the urban life together with the city walls the 2000-year old urban agricultural fields interacts with.

While both these garden examples are leading efforts in terms of intangible cultural heritage, the concept of gardens, such as Langa Gardens, Çukurbostan, Çengelköy Gardens, etc. are no longer just forms remembered but are re-produced as an architectural and urban form and re-included in our architectural and urban discussions. Today, we can finally answer the question“Can gardens exist in a city?” now not with just arguments but examples and also discuss the question.

Without a doubt, each effort can be criticized in certain ways and there is infinite benefits for keeping the channels of criticism open. These efforts can prosper, escalate and improve only by protecting this critical ground. Another unique side of these groups is despite their sense of ownership towards all the works they have carried out with their collective working methods, they allow a critical ground that grows from within themselves and therefore, are open to improvement.

Each group at the exhibition expanded the discussions in the field of architecture unique to the areas they were working on with their works. Each one of these products from expanding a wide field from the qualities of architectural production to urban discussions provides new examples, questions and possibilities for architecture.

When the efforts of all groups are considered, in the field of architecture with an increasing production volume but shrinking horizons, they destroy the borders created by the ordinary balances of the market with their devotion and ensure that discussions on architecture take place on a much more fundamental ground. In addition, such works do not just question and criticize what is there but also offer leading examples of the field of architecture that is striving for intellectual freedom. When examined closely, the entirety of these efforts show that instead of architecture based on area and measurement accounts, commercial confidentiality agreements, giant offices, sensational projects, PR activities for media, commoditized prize system, is not without alternatives like it imposes and offers but, another type of architecture is possible here and now. Thus, they support the inevitable change the field of architecture stands on the verge of both in Turkey and in the international arena with quests for different directions.

ON THE EXHIBITION AND THE BOOK

The Solidarity Architecture Exhibition and book were prepared with efforts of six months. During this preparation phase, all groups attending the exhibition held long meetings to discuss both the contents of the exhibition and the book and the works of the groups.

The idea to display all these works together emerged from the need to make the new developments required in the field of architecture visible and open them for discussion and was inspired from the current events taking place in the Turkish architecture arena. Various suggestions and events held in 2016 had already gathered some works of these groups. Sinan Logie and Yaşar Adanalı’s “Her Yer Cephe Her Yer Umut” (“Everywhere is a Front, Everywhere is Hope”), Merve Bedir and Branden Cormier’s “Geziden Sonra” (“After Gezi”), Gül Köksal, Eray Çaylı and Sinan Logie’nin “Bir Pavyon İki Etkinlik” (“One Pavilion, Two Events”) works aimed to bring together the achievements of similar groups. The groups to attend the Solidarity Architecture exhibition were selected and invited among groups that actively struggle for different causes while striving to establish a collective architecture practice in these respects.

There are obviously various different groups that are currently active and those that can be deemed as predecessors of such efforts. Along with many urban rights solidarity groups, to which the Chamber of Architects is mostly a member of, the works of socialist architects in “gecekondu” neighborhoods in 1970s, student gatherings that picked up especially in 1990s and various other architecture education-based events also inspired this work. In this respect, we hope that both the exhibition and the book are considered not as a complete inventory or evaluation of various works that can be included under the title Solidarity Architecture, but as a beginning and a predecessor for works that will escalate and become much more valuable in the future.

The preparation stage of this exhibition and the book was additional work for all groups and all groups spared time and showed maximum attendance. We hope that all groups can continue their efforts as they wish and the field of architecture diversifies with different participants in the coming period.


H. Sinan OMACAN
Vice Chairman of Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) Chamber of Architects Istanbul Metropolitan Branch