We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Milan Affordable Housing Challenge" competition – Mina Hazal Taşcı, Zeyneb Taşcı, Rumeysa Temel and Ceyhun Ömür from Turkey!

Honorable mention winners from Turkey

We are not a company but a group of friends and colleagues who enjoy working together in İstanbul, Türkiye. Zeyneb Taşcı serves in a mentorship role as an architect with over thirty years of experience. She is not only the aunt but also the professional mentor of Mina Hazal Taşcı. Ceyhun Ömür is engaged in architecture both as a professional and as an academic, while Rumeysa Temel and Mina Hazal Taşcı are academics.

Although we have known each other for a long time, we initially decided to collaborate for an urban design project competition in 2022. Since then, when a member of our group has been interested in a topic, project, or competition, we bring it to the table for collective discussion. As a group, we enjoy thinking about the projects we want to tackle together in historical, cultural and economic contexts concerning urban design and architecture. Affordable housing strategies are of particular interest to Hazal, who undertook the initiative and design for our Milan Affordable Housing Challenge submission, with Zeyneb, Rumeysa and Ceyhun serving as consultants.

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?

The last project we were interested in was a competition for a city council building, with an extended and multidisciplinary group of professionals. However, we were unfortunately not able to pursue it. The raison d'être of our collective initiative was an urban design competition for a city square located in a very historical context. Participatory design and public visibility were our design goals. Other than that, some of us had theoretical work involving the analysis of power practices and their reflection on spatial configurations. We studied political party headquarters and temples of different religions to uncover mechanisms of power.

For Milan Affordable Housing Challenge as well, we had a participatory design agenda; which means we tried to involve members of the society as shareholders of the proposed project to create an abundant sense of community. We believe, thinking about housing strategies is a great opportunity to rethink about the intertwined structure of the society.

Although we had decided to participate in this competition before the TurkeySyria Earthquake, the devastating and heartbreaking conditions in the affected area made the problem of accommodation even more crucial for us.

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

We are honestly very confused about the role of an architect and what architecture means to society. But we believe that we deserve to live in a better world - by this, we mean that every shareholder, every member of society must find a public presence -. Although we are disappointed with each passing day, we know that as a generation we have many tools and opportunities compared to any other moment in the history of humankind, and we honestly cannot imagine a more powerful domain of action in our service than architecture. As architects, we like to search for 'what is possible' and 'what needs to be done’ through architecture, for the world we believe we deserve.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

What we find very exciting about the architectural endeavor is its unique existence between theory and practice, and we are eager to combine our academic knowledge with practical experience. This means that we seek the opportunity to continually test our theoretical assumptions against reality. We believe that architectural competitions provide one of the most accessible avenues for semi-professionals to immerse themselves in this enriching environment.

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 that anyone who sees competition as an opportunity to test and realize their personal views should participate in architectural competitions.

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