Turkish architects are creating line drawings of protest shelters and structures following the recent occupation of Istanbul's Gezi Park.
Thousands of citizens took to the streets earlier this month to join one of Turkey's largest anti-government demonstrations in decades and non-profit organisation Herkes Icin Mimarlik - which translates as Architecture For All - has since initiated an archive of photographs and drawings, documenting the makeshift shelters, tents, and other temporary structures that have been constructed.
"The protests in Istanbul indicated one simple thing for architects," writes organisation co-founder Yelta Köm on the Tumblr page for the project. "We need new definitions for architecture in situations when architecture is removed from architects."
He continues: "Each unique structure that we encounter in the streets and Gezi Park has its own in-situ design and implementation process. Documentation of these temporary structures is of huge importance for further examination, considering their limited life-cycle."
A stage for speakers, a barricade made from benches and a communal dining table are already included in the archive, and Herkes Icin Mimarlik is asking for more submissions.
"We really want to document as much as possible," says the team. "While we are drawing what we could find, we are also open to contribution from everyone."
The demonstrations began last month, following a brutal police attack to remove a small group protesting the demolition of Gezi Park to make room for a new shopping mall.
Here's some more information from Herkes Icin Mimarlik:
As Herkes icin Mimarlik (Architecture for All), we believe in participatory architecture processes. The things that we saw in Gezi Park was really impressive examples of event architecture and we were naturally encouraged to document these unique stuff.
We have been struggling with this project since the time it was announced to public. We started with workshops in which we discussed the administration's claims that the square and the park do not serve their purpose as a public space. The workshops gave birth to weekly 'Gezi Park Festivals'. We publicised the event through social media channels, invited musicians, dancers and performance artists; organised workshops and games that would attract people. While 50 people attended the 1st Festival, our popularity raised rapidly and the 5th Festival received more than 500 people. With the festivals we tried to show to people who used Taksim Square but never passed by the park that Gezi Park is a calming place to spend time. Unfortunately, our festivals were not enough to stop the destruction process, so we started an online petition to save the park which requested an open and democratic design process. We tried everything to start a dialogue but were never successful. For a very long time, we had dreamed of an opposition which could stop the destruction. That miracle happened. Since the first days of the protests, all of us were scattered around the streets of Istanbul. We were communicating through our mail and watsapp group. Following days, some of us focused on online projects that could help the resistance.
We really want to document as much as possible. We tried to create an open database. While we are drawing what we could find, we are also open to contribution from everyone.
While we were in the park, we tried to photograph what we thought could be interesting. We also created a pool for photos from Facebook and Twitter. What we are interested is the use of the scrap materials, in-situ design solutions. It is also exciting to see how these structures become part of the community there and accepted.
We always define architecture with architects. But, Gezi Park was an atmosphere where all paradigms that we were used to has shifted to something else. We dont know what is the new definition, perhaps there will be many more definitions. We are seeking for a new one maybe, but we know that this new definition will be shaped by people, not only architects.
Creating a collective memory is really important when the government is trying to forget everything. The life cycle of these structures were really short so we had to document them. We believe it is way of passive resistance. We keep remembering what happened in Taksim. In a way we merged the practice and protest by using architecture as a tool to critic. We want to make a publishment after all this progress.
Idea & Project: Herkes İçin Mimarlık (Architecture for All)
Editor and Coordination: Yelta Köm
Contributors: Ayşe Selin Gürel, Beyza Derbentoğulları, Burçak Sönmez, Ceren Kılıç, Ceren Sözer, Erdem Tüzün, Erdem Üngür, Emre Gündoğdu, H. Cenk Dereli, Hayrettin Günç, Kerem Özcan, Merve Gül Özokçu, Yasemin Sünbül, Yelta Köm