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Dr arch. Meltem Vatan Captan – Deputy Dean of Architecture and Design Faculty of BAU Bahcesehir University in Istanbul

Interviewed by prof. Dr Rositsa Nikiforova

BAU is situated “At the heart of Istanbul” with its main campus on the edge of the Bosphorus in Besiktas District of Istanbul. It is very much stressed on the international collaborations of the university. The students from Turkey and from all over the world have the opportunity to take a course in the department in Istanbul, Berlin, Rome or Washington DC campuses. Also towards the end of each academic year the students have the chance to apply for BAU’s summer abroad programs in New York, in Washington DC, in Silicon Valley and in Hong Kong.

Faculty of Architecture & Design 2016 Spring and Summer Activity Calendar is a very reach one: Workshop with the theme ‘Tensile Membrane Structures’ (together with Institute for Membrane and Shell Technologies); Greece Summer School 2016; Workshop PLAYSCAPES “Infantes Ludens” (children at play) within the scope of INT 1002- Design Studies Studio; Digital Design Workshop etc.

The theme of this year’s Digital Design Workshop is ‘Exploring Topographies with Parametric Approaches’.

I congratulate Meltem for having such a successful carrier. I tell her about the good memories VDF colleagues keep from her presentation about Historical overview of the Turkish Black Sea coastal architecture four years before in Varna.

She answered some questions I formulated during my stay in Istanbul at a meeting in BAU University in April 2016.

Question: Today you have a teaching and administrative responsibilities in the educational process in Architecture &Design Faculty in BAU University. How would you describe this process, what are the advantages of your University, how you appreciate the overall education of architecture in Turkey?

First of all I would like to thank you for your nice invitation to have an interview. It is my pleasure to try to answer your questions.

I am proud of being an academic member of BAU, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Architecture and vice dean of the faculty.  Our faculty includes department of architecture, department of interior architecture and environmental design and department of industrial product design. The core of our faculty – including all departments – is design studios which are supported with the theoretical lectures, elective courses, CO-OP courses and workshop, summer school and winter school activities. Additionally we give opportunity to our students to continue their education for a semester in Berlin or Roma campuses.

To make general comment on education of architecture is not easy; it depends to the university itself. There are universities with high quality of education of architecture or in medium level. Potential students should be very careful in their selection process.

The vision of our university and our faculty is BAU Global which means to compete with the best known around the world and to reach to the highest level.

Question: How you realize education at international level for your and foreign students?

The first issue related with being a global university and having lots of (almost 30 %) international students is to have English teaching language. Other issues that could be addressed with coping with international students and international level of educational architecture are to follow contemporary architecture and education of developed countries. Academic progress of our academicians has an important place as a vision of the faculty as well. Also giving information about international and European standards is important.

Question: What kind of workshops you have, what are the topics, which students participate?

As international summer programs we have Japan and Spain options annually. Additionally this year we will have Greece summer school. Besides, we have Cappadocia and Odunpazarı – Eskişehir summer schools. Besides summer schools we have lots of workshop activities such as Membrane workshop, wooden workshop, digital media workshop and the like. Those activities are open to all of our students. Mostly participation is like 50 to 50 percent in terms of nationality of the students.

The aim of these activities is to widen the knowledge of the students on certain topics or to have hands on experiences in architecture as site works.

Question: Working with many students, do you find something specific in the attitude of the young generation toward our profession?

The drastic change from previous generations could be defined as using of digital technology which is mostly a target more than an instrument for the new generation. Hand drawings and even writing notes during the courses almost is not an habit which means the way of learning is changed a lot. Having an opportunity to travel around the globe much more than previous generations gives the opportunity to see and interpret many examples of architecture and wide the vision which is positive in terms of experience the profession. For students communicate with foreigners, experience different cultures have important role of developing their selves.

Question: Is there any influence from foreign experience in architectural education at your University?

Surely, faculty members who have international or foreign experiences put inputs in their lectures or courses based on these experiences. Even culture, attitude and mentality gained from those experiences are inputs. More certainly, gained experiences could be addressed as lecture topics.

Additionally, experiences of the students gained from the local tutors from abroad campuses like Berlin and Rome have an important role in their perception of architecture. Spending one semester in abroad campus gives the possibility to experience foreign tutors and to see how other countries are dealing with education of architecture, what are the approaches of design studio in other countries and the like.

Question: What do you think would improve the architectural education globally?

It is not easy to give an answer to that question. From time to time I think about this but still I do not have any certain answer. The educational systems around the globe became more global and there are lots of similarities in the systems and curriculums theoretically. Accreditation systems like Bologna or NAAB accelerate this globalization in the educational systems, however, the condition of the country, the culture, level of primary education, financial situation and the like are not the same around the globe where the education system of architecture tries to be made in the same level as accredited one. Due to the fact that all these issues globalization in education of architecture is not easy. Even the target of politics of the countries has an impact on the education of architecture such as sustainability approaches, environmental friendly designs, the objects of the subsidies given by the government direct the education and design topics dealt with during the education. For example in some European countries where natural resources are used as energy resources and the government stimulate professionals to work on this topic green architecture and environmental friendly design, green certificates systems are very important. On the other hand as architects and academicians it is also very important to teach these topics and raise awareness on reducing carbon foot print for us, however, the situation is not certain like this in Europe for our country. In that case these lectures are become quite theoretic and to encourage young generation to work on this topic is not easy.

Question: How do you realize the postgraduate programs for the certified masters and what graduate programs, tied to the practice offers your University?

Master programs include two different options such as with thesis or without thesis. There are not any restrictions or prerequisites for applying to Master program in our Faculty. We do not have any certain relation with practices. Professional practice is the responsibility of the student.

Question: Does the current economic and political situation affect your interest in the education of architecture?

Architecture always is one of the top preferred departments in university decisions of the potential students. It is quite strange that although the percentage of unemployed people is quite high and to find a position is not easy architecture is still a popular choice. Due to the fact that some of the students do not have any target of making their profession still architecture is quite popular. The intention of some students is to have only a diploma and some of them have intention to continue in the office of their parents or relatives. These are the basic facts of having a large amount of students with tendency to apply to the faculty of architecture.

Question: How do you appreciate the architectural implementations in Istanbul? I notice two different trends in the style of sacral construction: The modern Sancaklar mosque in Istanbul, Emre Arolat Architects, 2014 and the new mosque under construction Çamlıca Camii – the most giant one of the Asia minor coast.

It is possible to say that there are two completely different followed styles in our country like modern architecture and traditional one. The modern part is represented by Arolat, Tabanlıoğlu, Avcı, Tümertekin who are known also in international level. The oppose style is more related with religious buildings and effected by Middle – East styles. I cannot critic these styles as an academic one. It might be seen from the critics and the comments of critics.


Varna Design Forum (VDF), a non-profit organization works for the benefit of the public, through the real deeds of practicing designers, architects, teachers and students, journalists, lawyers, cultural activists, supports the candidature of Varna for European Capital of Culture 2019, and promotes an even more-ambitious idea of Varna becoming a World Capital of Design.

In the end of July this year VDF became the main organizer of architectural design workshop “ARCH+” for digital innovative training and creation of a real product – a design bench for urban environment. The creators called it “RENCH” (Red bENCH), for short, and gave it to Varna as a present for the traditional Holiday of the city – on August 15th, 2014.

The organic shape of the bench is a bow to the great designer – nature, and reflects the modern attitude towards comfort of use. It is created entirely by digital innovative means. This is a digitally designed form, made by concrete specially produced for it, colored in red and cast into digitally generated formwork, made by computer controlled (CNC) machines.

The workshop is performed and directly managed by graduates of IAAC – Barcelona, the architects Hristo Topchiev and Emil Burulyanov, who are keynote speakers and lecturers at the seminar stage of the event. In this year’s edition participants are students from VFU “Ch.Hrabar” – Varna, VSU “L. Karavelov” Sofia, UACEG – Sofia, TU – Varna, TU-Graz – Austria and Coventry University – England, and assistants are former students who have already participated in previous editions of the workshop – the architects Yoana Atanasova, Ivan Palazov and Dimitar Kiosev.

The initiative for creating the first in the country innovatively made design product includes managers of different companies as well, who helped by: means (Ivailo Petkov / Stroy Sped), a hall for the event (Toshko Ghiaurov / Festival and Congress Center – Varna) and concrete specifically made for the bench (Eng. Georgi Ivanov / Devnia Trade).

The “ARCH +” was also attended by the Chief Architect of the Municipality of Varna – Arch. Victor Buzev, who handed in the certificates for participation to the students at the closure of the event, he provided a special place in the Sea Garden of Varna for the bench and assured the team that he is ready to assist in the experimental activity.

Varna Design Forum launched a series of initiatives for improving the urban environment and nature of Varna and the region, being aware of their exceptional resources and relying on the support of the public and the institutions in the pursuit of reaching the highest standards for the title of “World Design Capital”.


The Municipality of Varna, the Union of Bulgarian Architects (UBA), the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria (CAB) and Varna Design Forum (VDF) proclaim the “VISION FOR VARNA” Competition.

The Competition’ declarants expect to become familiar with the dreams of people about Varna, concerning the layout and the vision of typical city areas, buildings, urban design elements.

The Competition is public. Bulgarian citizens may participate.actors, artists, architects and all those who have an opinion on the problems and who are able to express visually and verbally their idea.


  • Prof. Ph.D. Arch. Rositsa NikiforovaChairperson of the Jury
  • Arch Victor Buzev Chief architect of the Municipality of Varna
  • Arch. Dimitar StefanovChairman of the BAU, Varna Association
  • Arch. Georgi MinchevChairman of the CAB, Varna
  • Professor Vladimir IvanovArtistChairman of VDF


  • Varna Municipality building / Square area “Maria Louiza” Blvd / “Slivnitsa” Blvd
  • Ekzarh Joseph” Square area (“Shishkova gradinka”)
  • Square area “Preslav” Str. / “San Stefano” Str. / “Odessos” Str. (outside the Varna District Directorate of Interior)
  • The small garden of the Puppet Theatre, between “Sheynovo” and “Dragoman” streets.

Download the full information about the Competition

The Municipality of Varna, the Bulgarian Architects Union (BAU), the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria (CAB) and Varna Design Forum (VDF)

The Municipality of Varna, the Bulgarian Architects Union (BAU), the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria (CAB) and Varna Design Forum proclaim the “VISION FOR VARNA” Competition.ANNOUNCEMENT

The Competition’ declarants expect to become familiar with the dreams of people about Varna, concerning the layout and the vision of typical city areas, buildings, urban design elements.


The Competition is public. Bulgarian citizens may participate.actors, artists, architects and all those who have an opinion on the problems and who are able to express visually and verbally their idea.


The participation in the Competition is free. The only requirement is for an free-text Application for the participation to be sent to email: , from which a Layout-frame with the Competition logo will be provided. Each participant can take part with more than one project, however, for a specific location there can be only one project. The projects are to be sent to the address of BAU, Varna, in A3 format, masked on a non-deformable base, together with a disc with digital format (PDF, JPEG, TIFF, DWG) of the project. The projects will be published in a website or in Facebook and a public vote will be organized within 10 days.


The Jury, with the participation of a representative of the Municipality of Varna, BAU, CAB and VDF will distinguish the best projects. There will also be an audience prize, according to the collected preferences in the social network.


The distinguished projects will be awarded a prize for the total amount of BGN 4000, which will be distributed according to a decision of the Jury of the Competition. For each of the proposed urban areas the best offers will be awarded.


04.09.2014 – Announcement of the Competition

04.09.2014 – 24.10.2014 – Creation and delivery of the projects

03.11.2014 – 07.11. 2014 – Nomination and announcement of the winners by the Jury

Questions may be asked during the period 04.09.2014 – 09.15.2014, at the e-mail address of the organizer


1. Prof. Ph.D. Arch. Rositsa NikiforovaChairperson of the Jury

2. Arch Victor Buzev Chief architect of the Municipality of Varna

3. Arch. Dimitar StefanovChairman of the BAU, Varna Association

4. Arch. Georgi MinchevChairman of the CAB, Varna

5. Professor Vladimir IvanovArtistChairman of VDF


The present assignment of concepts for urban environment is prepared on the grounds of an analysis of the condition of urban areas in Varna and in connection with the provisions of the Master Plan

І. Subject of the assignment is a result from the analysis of the urban areas in the centre of Varna

The analysis of a number of centrally located urban areas shows a general reduction of the attractiveness of zones, some of which used to function very well or others inadequately looked after with time.

Subject of the assignment is improving the quality and charm of various urban spaces in the centre of Varna.

ІІ. Coverage of the Competition

The territory, subject to the Competition, covers four sites:

1. Varna Municipality building / Square area “Maria Louiza” Blvd / “Slivnitsa” Blvd

2. “Ekzarh Joseph” Square area (“Shishkova gradinka”)

3. Square area “Preslav” Str. / “San Stefano” Str. / “Odessos” Str. (outside the Varna District Directorate of Interior)

4. The small garden of the Puppet Theatre, between “Sheynovo” and “Dragoman” streets.

ІІІ. Objective, terms of reference and expected result from the Competition

1. The main objective of the Competition is to stimulate the activity of the citizens/ the participants through their views/ideas for improving the attractiveness of the city and improving the quality of life. The Competition “Vision for Varna” is looking for ideas for possible volumetric-spatial, layout and colour solutions for specific areas in the city of Varna, through an illustrative expression of their ideas.

The ideas and the possible solutions will be presented to the Municipality of Varna as a basis to select and actually implement some of them after further technical development of the idea by the authors or organizing a vocationally-orientated competition. The organizer proposes the indicated places/sites with impaired aesthetics in the central part of the city. The participant chooses himself one or more of the proposed locations, he photographs its current state from his perspective and makes ​​a collage over the photography to illustrate his own vision of making the space aesthetic. The possible methods for making a collage are not limited – hand-made, computer processing, graphic, artistic …, according to the skills of the participant. The completed idea is presented in A3 format (297/420 mm) on a prefabricated by the organizer framework, and the inclusion of the photography of the current state of the problematic area together with a collage with the idea of the participant, are mandatory. Since the Competition is public, the participant includes his name in the bottom right corner of the page. The page is masked on a non-deformable base, (cardboard, foam board, etc.) and it is presented along with a disc with digital /scanned/ images of the idea/s/.

2. Assignments:

Creating an attractive environment;

Improving and increasing the green system of the city;

Providing an accessible environment for people with disabilities and their socialization;

Energy saving from the introduction of energy efficient street lighting;

Technical limitations for the proposals are unavailable;

Spiritualization of the urban areas.


1. Varna Municipality building / Square area “Maria Louiza” Blvd / “Slivnitsa” Blvd

2. “Ekzarh Joseph” Square area (“Shishkova gradinka”)

3. Square area “Preslav” Str. / “San Stefano” Str. / “Odessos” Str. (outside the Varna District Directorate of Interior)

4. The small garden of the Puppet Theatre, between “Sheynovo” and “Dragoman” streets.


_Special programme dedicated by La Biennale to Institutes of Higher Learning and Research Centres on the occasion of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Fundamentals, directed by Rem Koolhaas._

Dear Academic Officer / Dear Professor,

2014 will be the year of LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIa [1]’s 14TH INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION, _FUNDAMENTALS_ [2], directed by REM KOOLHAAS [3] (June the 7th-November the 23rd, 2014).

La Biennale considers its International Architecture Exhibition a place where UNIVERSITIES, ACADEMIES OF FINE ARTS, RESEARCH CENTRES and UNIVERSITIES OF APPLIED SCIENCES can plan and carry out educationally significant and rewarding activities for their students, and it intends
to offer them particularly favourable attendance and participation conditions.

Beside its customary policy of discounts and special education activities for Institutes of Higher Learning, La Biennale has devised “BIENNALE SESSIONS [4]”, a SPECIAL PLATFORM for groups of 50 OR MORE UNIVERSITY PARTICIPANTS (students and faculty members), ready to become affiliated to the 14th International Architecture Exhibition.

BIENNALE SESSIONS [4] offers students and faculty members from affiliated institutes unique attendance and participation conditions, thanks to the following benefits:

* SPECIAL PASSES granting access to the Exhibition for 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS, for 20.00€ per person;
* the possibility to ORGANISE A WORKSHOP, SEMINAR or PRESENTATION in a space located in one of the Exhibition venues, including free basic technical equipment and assistance;
* the possibility to HAVE PACKET LUNCHES for 7.00€ at the Exhibition snack areas and restaurants, during their visit;
* help with finding a convenient accommodation with La Biennale’s affiliated operators;
* free RESERVATION AND ATTENDANCE of possible COINCIDING CONFERENCES and other events organised by La Biennale’s Architecture Department;
* DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL ATTENDANCE CONDITIONS for possible coinciding festivals organised by La Biennale’s Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema sectors;
* a special PROMOTION AND COMMUNICATION PLAN, including a mention on La Biennale’s website and links to websites of participating universities.

I am glad to send you this first information about BIENNALE SESSIONS, which is being sent to general secretariats of Universities and Art Academies worldwide, and to invite you to join the programme, by replying with a sign of interest. More formal communications may then follow.

With my kindest regards,

Valentina Borsato

Head of Education and Promotion

La Biennale di Venezia

_Info and affiliation_

_Ph (39) 041.2728.382_



Varna Design Forum presented projects for Varna in two Forums

To promote events regarding the project area of the city and the coast, Varna Design Forum presented developments for Varna in two Forums.

The 22nd INTERNATIONAL URBAN PLANNERS EXIBITION was held in November, in Nis, Serbia. Our Forum presented the Master Plan of the city of Varna under the “Structural plans” section. Together with a theme covering the water front of Varna and the link of the port to the Asparuhovo and Galata neighbourhoods under the “Student Projects” section, the thesis of Nikola Malinov, under the instructions of Prof. D.Sc. Arch. Ivan Nikiforov, was presented.

We received a special invitation for participation at the XXII Review Competition for diploma projects of all Senior Architectural Schools of Ukraine, during the period 30 Oct – 1 Nov, in Odessa. VDF sent 3 diploma projects of students from the VFU “Chernorizets Hrabar”. The jury assessed with first degree honors all three projects as follows:

• In the category “Urbanization” the diploma project “The missing link” of Nikola Malinov, under the instructions of Prof. D.Sc. Arch. Ivan Nikiforov and

• the diploma project for the South coast of Varna Lake of Dobromir Krastev, under the instructions of Prof. D.Sc. Arch. Ivan Nikiforov and Ph.D. Stancho Vekov, in the same category and

• In the category “Public works” the diploma project “Museum of Underwater Archaeology” of Raya Daskalova, under the instructions of Ph.D. Arch. Rositsa Nikiforova.

The Rectorate of the Odessa State Academy of Construction and Architecture expressed in a letter special thanks for the participation and congratulations for the high professionalism of the presented diploma projects.


Dear Ms. Nikiforova,

It is our pleasure to announce the call for entries of the EUROPEAN PRIZE FOR URBAN PUBLIC SPACE 2014. We hope this information will be of interest to you and should be most grateful if you could help us in its dissemination.

The EUROPEAN PRIZE FOR URBAN PUBLIC SPACE, founded in 2000, aims to recognise and promote the creation and improvement of public space, which is understood as a clear indicator of the civic and collective health. The Prize is a biennial initiative of the Centre of ContemporaryCulture of Barcelona and is currently co-organised by the Architektur Zentrum Wien (Vienna), The Architecture Foundation (London), the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (Paris), the Museum of Finnish Architecture (Helsinki), the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (Frankfurt) and the Museum of Architecture and Design (Ljubljana).

Please find attached THE 2012 PRIZE DOSSIER which will give you a general idea of the Prize activities. All information may be found at For any further question please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you very much in advance for your collaboration.

Kind regards,

Masha Zrncic
Coordinator / European Prize for Urban Public Space /