Global Studio

Global Studio

Global Studio Emergence in Istanbul, Turkey 2005

Global Studio is an international think-tank composed of a network of architects and planners, collaborating from 20 countries across the globe, that contribute to the UN’s efforts to improve slums, one of the UN’s 2000 Millennium Development Goals. Global Studio began as a pilot project, initiated by members of the United Nations Millennium Project’s Task Force and developed by a consortium of universities. The consortium was composed of 3 groups embedded within the Architecture Schools at the following universities; University of Sydney, Colombia University and The University of Rome, La Sapienza. The launched of the Studio was developed to coincide with the UIA (International Union of Architects) Congress, held in Istanbul in 2005. A site was chosen for the Studio at Zeyrek, in Istanbul and the competition working sessions were held during the duration of the Conference.

Studio Program

The Studio ran in three stages as:

i) an international design studio ‘A Home in the City: Urban Acupuncture in Zeyrek

  • all participants were architecture and planning students

ii) a stream within the UIA Congress ‘People Building Better Cities

  • participants included educators, practitioners and community leaders whom presented their individual work and engaged in dialogue with the UIA Congress participants about the contribution which design and planning professionals working with communities can make to improving the lives of the urban poor, and promoting environmental sustainability.

iii) a Future Directions Forum

Working Platform

The working platform for Global Studio aims to mobilise architects and designers to become involved with this kind of work, through marketing and implementation within a more generalized conference platform. This setting had advantages which were taken advantage of through the design of the program.

  • Running the Studio in unison with the Conference took advantage of the intellectual and networking pool.
  • Allowed an extending marketing and working platform
  • Removed logistical onus from the Studio organisers to provide platform ie. venue, sponsors etc.
  • The unique platform provided a chance to pool invaluable talent which streamed directly into a Conference Forum
  • The project also helped strengthen the Global Studio from a loose network of like-minded souls into a formal group
  • Furthered the debate about what architects can do and what lies outside their influenc

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Project Proposal Development

Five teams from 20 countries, developed separate but complementary strategies for improving Zeyrek, a world heritage listed site, which is a low income housing neighbourhood in the heart of Istanbul’s “historic peninsula”. The proposals were developed in collaboration with the local population, with the aim being to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the community.

  • At the largest scale, one proposal sought to improve the connections between Zeyrek and the rest of the city and boost the area’s economy. By revitalising old routes into Zeyrek and enlivening spaces leading to the mosque, the proposal sought to draw people into the area in a way that would benefit the local community.
  • Another solution sought to provide facilities such as a childcare centre, a skills training centre and a women’s health centre.
  • And a third looked at spatial strategies that would anticipate the impact of an earthquake, using open land as gathering places and aid drop-off points.
  • The ancient system of underground water channels and bostans, Zeyrek’s market gardens which used to pepper the area, provided inspiration for another proposal that would green the many wastelands to produce a chain of gardens and gathering places.
  • And at a small scale, one group mobilised the local children to clear a neglected site create a swing and paint a mural.

Global Studio, Johannesburg, South AfricaJune/July 2007

Building on Global Studio, Istanbul (2005) and Vancouver (2006), is Global Studio Johannesburg 2007, a four day forum with international speakers and local presenters, hosted by the University of Witwatersrand. The forum will offer two events:

  • People Building Better Cities, an interdisciplinary forum which is open to attendance
  • A hands-on studio

To view a short movie of the project:


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