Architectural Design Graduate Program


July 11- July 30, 2016

İstanbul Bilgi University, santralistanbul Campus


In the summer of 2015-2016 academic year, two architectural workshops led by significant international architects will take place at Istanbul Bilgi University Graduate School of Architecture. Workshops are open for all architects and architectural students.
Detailed information about the first of the BİLGİ Architectural Design Summer School series, where significant international designers teach short term workshops in order to create a multi-cultural architectural production environment, is given below.

STUDIO NO: 1 (ARCH 477 / ARCH561)


 5 days per week / 11-23 July, 2016

The flat roof is one of the most lasting, proliferated, and controversial contributions of Modernism. However, while the pioneers of Modernism were reacting to traditional roof forms as an unquestioned default, today one can argue that the default is in fact the flat roof itself. Originally intended as the claiming of an additional occupiable surface, the flat roof had the inadvertent consequence of creating spatial monotony underneath. It is time for us to revisit the potentials of the roof not only as an architectural expression but as an architectural space.

The space under the roof has, through different cultures and epochs, represented vastly different atmospheres and desires, from a space of mystery and adventure (grandma’s attic) and social status (lower class abodes in the Parisian mansard) to one of comfort (barnhouse) and beauty. In a multistorey building, it is inevitably the „other,“ a space that is not only exceptional to all other floors but one that has the capacity to give a building its expressive character. Roofspace and roofscape are afterall but the inversion of two characters.

A complex intersection of space, expression, and performance, the roof not only has to confront external constraints of climate and weathering but also has to respond to internal logics of structure and use. Light, heat, and air can all be controlled or regulated through its form and surface to provide comfort and shelter through ecological means. While the contemporary knee-jerk response to sustainable construction has been to carpet rooftops with planting or photovoltaics, neither of these technological add-ons tackle the ecological question through a deeper or more integrated understanding of the roof as a performative envelope. We will confront these issues to understand not only the formal implications but also the spatial consequences.

Design approaches have for too long prioritized the architectural object or the system over the spatial experience. This workshop will explore the tools and techniques that instead prioritize space and design from the inside out. Large scale models in combination with photography will be a dominant part of the iterative process to study and work spatially.

A research on the history, performance, and spatial expressions of different roof typologies will be followed by speculative roof additions to existing everyday buildings. Subjective readings of the existing structure and its logic will be used to establish the rules and constraints for the addition. Particular emphasis will be given to the understanding of the relationship between structure, light, and space as well as the staking of a position relative to the existing.

Lastly we will investigate the potentials of rooftop additions, not only as opportunities to re-introduce spatial richness into our urban repertoire, but also as strategies for densification.

If we take as a premise that land is a valuable and non-renewable resource, then to build ecologically will also mean to rethink our habits of urban expansion and construction. Rather than always building new, we will have to find ways of densifying or co-opting the existing. The roof can be the space to start.



STUDIO NO: 2 (ARCH 478 / ARCH 562)


6 days per week / 25-30 July, 2016

In their golden years, the young Arab nations gave birth to aspiring modern urban projects. In a part of the world where the notion of nation-state has run bankrupt, it seems brave to revisit the ambitious products of this long gone Modern era. These latent and inanimate structures bear great potential for recovery; it might be time to reinvent them.

The seeds of that modernist project arrived mostly from the European colonial powers. In the age of triumphant imperialism, great fairs and expositions marked the landscape of European capitals, glorifying the industrial might and the colonial ambitions of those nations. Following their footsteps in the 1950s, the capitals of newly independent Arab countries saw the flowering of “international fairs”. One such monumental edifice was set up in Damascus in 1955, Baghdad followed a year later, and the Tripoli International Fair was commissioned to Oscar Niemeyer shortly after 1958 when Fouad Chehab was appointed President of the young Lebanese Republic.

The Tripoli International Fair was an ambitious project, in line with the tendencies of the era. It covered 70 hectares of land in the capital of North Lebanon and accommodated in addition to the fair, museums, theatres, housing units and official accommodation, all punctuated by gardens and ponds. Construction started in 1967 and was interrupted by the eruption of the civil war. Although it had reached an advanced stage, its execution was never completed; the Fair buildings were successively occupied by the different militias controlling the city, sieged by the Syrian army; pillaged, ransacked, devastated.

Today, the magnificent edifices remain dormant, desolate remnants of a nationalistic project gone bankrupt. They form a sublime eternal cadaver, immutable, unchanging and in total negation of temporality. I propose to revisit this Modern Arab specimen by injecting it with instruments of a different nature.

In a territory with no consensual history, foreign actors must create their own. Students will therefore be asked to construct individual stories stemming from their study of the Fair, thus deriving a situation and program, to ultimately intervene through a device spontaneously grafting itself onto this latent corpse. The aim of the exercise is far from being a fetishist approach to what once was. Instead it is an attempt to still extract meaning through the manipulation of this phantom, while considering the bitter realities of its present situation in opposition to the socio-political and economical context that produced it.




Application Documents for International and Non-BİLGİ Students: 

  • Copy of a transcript / diploma / student document from the program that they are enrolled
  • Copy of a valid Identity Document
  • Letter of Application towards Institute of Science, signed by the Program Coordinator
  • All documents will be delivered to Graduate Student Affairs Office
    Graduate Student Affairs Team Manager: Burcu Erzurumlu;
  • Fees and Payment:
    If paid in advance: 2,645 TL
    If paid in installments: 2,702 TL
    For details, please get in contact with Elizabet Nalbandiyan from Financial Affairs Office;

Application Documents for BİLGİ Graduate Students: 

  • Application letter signed by the program director
  • All documents will be delivered to Graduate Student Affairs Office
  • Fees and Payment:
    For all students of BİLGİ Graduate Programs, no fee will be charged.

Application procedures for BİLGİ Undergraduate Students:

  • Students should follow standard BİLGİ Summer School application procedures described at
  • Fees and Payment:
    For all students of BİLGİ Undergraduate Programs: 375 TL (1 credit cost)


Registration Deadline: 28 June 2016

For further information: Please contact with Graduate Program in Architectural Design
Program Coordinator: Evren Aysev Deneç;