We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Berlin Affordable Housing Challenge" competition – Asli Aydin, Yining Cong, Karla Citlalli Contreras Marin and Liujun Chen from Turkey!

Honorable mention from Turkey

The urban-Shelf project is a collaboration between Aslı, Yining, Liujun, and Karla.

Aslı co-founded CommonLab, an Istanbul-based practice focusing on architecture and urban design, in late 2021. Currently, she is working on residential projects and urban design competitions. Previously she worked as a Senior Urban Designer at Atkins in Shanghai and Lead Architect at Tabanlıoğlu Architects in Istanbul. She received her Master and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from the Istanbul Technical University. She attended the Brandenburg University of Technology during her master's studies and is also pursuing her second master's degree in urban studies at the TU Berlin.

Yining holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tianjin University and, she currently resides in Berlin pursuing her master’s studies in March Program at TU Berlin.

Karla studied Architecture in Mexico. She attended March Program at TU Berlin, and currently lives in Mexico.

Liujun is a postgraduate student in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University and studied Master Urban Design at the TU Berlin. She currently lives in Shanghai.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Asli is currently working on residential projects and urban design competitions. Her professional background has focused on a diverse range of projects changing from small scale interior designs to large scale urban design projects, masterplans, housing projects and high-rise buildings. She also took part in national and international competitions. Yining, Karla and Liujun are working on architectural and urban design projects while pursuing their masters’ studies.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

We think that architecture is fundamental in people's everyday lives on a personal level, as it provides the habitats where people live, work, and their cultural and social lives take place. It influences people's everyday experiences. We believe that we can improve the quality of people's experiences of space and the environment they spend time in through architecture. We want to create spaces that people will feel good while using. On a more global level, architecture can represent societies and attract attention to places, affecting how they are perceived.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We participate in architectural competitions as they provide us a platform to experiment with new ideas. We can express ourselves and work with different design issues that we don’t come across everyday. We also enjoy that we can experience working on projects in different parts of the world.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

We believe participating in competitions, especially ideas competitions, broadens our vision. They give us the chance to work on design issues that we can’t always work on in real-life projects. We can practice and test our ideas. We also find them beneficial in encouraging us to think more creatively, which is sometimes limited in real-life with different restrictions.

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