Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
MEB Campus in Milas, Turkey by Tamirci Architects
August 6th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Tamirci Architects
In line with its new policies on pre-college education, Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Education is planning to build 33 new campuses on various locations all around the country, with a capacity of approximately 12.000 students each. The plan is to combine a number of longstanding educational facilities in inner-cities that either expended their lifespan or don’t have the room for further expansion, and move them to designated sites on the periphery of the related towns.
As the debates regarding the possible troublesome outcomes of this new approach continue on multi-disciplinary venues, to include architects, city planners, educators and sociologists, the ministry already started gathering projects via national competitions. On the first phase of a total of 3 stages, 8 campus projects were open for competition entries, and the campus located in the town of Milas, Muğla was one of these. The project that won the 3rd prize in the competition proposes a flexible spatial arrangement, friendly with the topography and the climate of the site, rather than yielding to the strict programme and its hierarchical configuration.
The common approach to the educational campuses outside urban settings is almost always the same, utilizing analogies to the city: streets, courtyards, nodes, centres etc. However, in certain parts of the world where the education of youth can still be attached to concerns of discipline, when the projects ‘materialize’, the attempts to create a fictitious urban setting collapse with all its analogies under the constraining hierarchy of the requirements, and become insincere tools and hollow endeavours. Courtyards restraining students rather than freeing them, inner or outer streets carefully scaled to control masses, inadequate arteries with various different functions attached to them like machine parts: these innocent-looking replications of a city end up being nothing more than modern ‘panopticons’ for students. What a shame
So, what else is there?
Rather than to single out elements like streets, courtyards or other features that we choose from the context, is it possible to reproduce the network of relationships that form the city itself? More importantly, is it possible to reconfigure the programme and make it more suitable for such a network, rather than to distort and to devalue this set of human relations to make it consistent with the requirements?
The project proposes an alternative to the configurations enforced by the programme while satisfying the spatial requirements for each element:
There are no wide arteries and long corridors connecting the classrooms in this campus. The space is rather permeable and scaled. There are no identical floors. Actually, there are no ‘floors’ here. Topography of the site is not an obstacle to overcome, but a context the campus merely adapts to.
Rather than a setup of massive buildings and left-over spots between them, the campus is generated by a pattern of landscape and structures intertwined, creating an urban texture. Moving through the campus is not simple; but it’s adventurous and exciting. There isn’t a particular route to take; one can try the courtyard one time and the street the next. It’s solely up to the user.
‘Life’ cannot be dictated in this campus. Whole space is interwoven with meeting points, favourite corners and ‘addresses’ all defined by the users. Every corner of the campus is available to be personalized. In its complex network of spatial relationships, the campus allows the formation of multiple communities.
This is not a space of regulations and rules; but rather a democratic arena embracing all kinds of identities.
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