We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Honorable mention winners of our "Workplace Reimagined" competition – Özlem Ekin Akkaya and Mustafa Ertek from Turkey!

Özlem Ekin Akkaya and Mustafa Ertek

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

We are from Başkent University in Turkey, and we have come together in this competition as two friends who share a similar architectural mindset. We are particularly interested in the current social and cultural structure in our country and strive to design around these subjects.

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 most significant project we have been involved in so far was this one, and we tried to apply our approach to architecture at an urban scale, particularly in a metropolis like Istanbul, through this project. Focusing on the historical and symbolic structure of the Galata Bridge, we developed a solution proposal for revitalizing areas perceived as dormant yet holding significant value for urban areas.

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

Architecture is a discourse, a stance, a political act, and a reflection of social and cultural structures. It goes beyond providing people with spaces where they feel good; it is more than that.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We believe that participating as a team and testing our skills within a specific timeframe provides a great opportunity. It allows us to compare our thought processes and skills with people from different parts of the world. However, the most important reason for us to participate in architectural competitions is to encourage thinking about current and/or societal issues.

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 the discipline we are in revolves around experimentation and self-testing. Therefore, we think that participating in competitions is a great opportunity for individuals to test their skills, reflect on their ideas, and gain valuable experience by trusting themselves and their ideas.

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