Thursday / March 21, 2019 / 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Architecture as Social Construction or Social Destruction?

AIA Chicago, 35 E. Wacker Dr., Ste. 250

The AIA Chicago Foundation presents the 2018 Roche Travel Scholarship winner, Melis Isil Simsek, who will discuss the dynamics of the social and political functions of architecture using the community of Sulukule, a centuries-old neighborhood in the old part of Istanbul, Turkey, as a case study.

Sulukule was a historic district in the heart of Istanbul, where the Turkish Romani gypsy community lived for centuries. Planned gentrification happen through political land grabbing and using the communities' unique lifestyle to spur support of its demise. Today the members of this Turkish Romani community are all over Istanbul, and a very unique Istanbulian subculture has disappeared. Could this community have been saved by a socially sensitive architectural initiative? Could the organic lifestyle of people occupying this land have been protected as well transformed by an architectural solution? Throughout time, we look at architecture to figure out how a community lived; we look into built environments without much consideration to the social, political and cultural contexts. In this respect, this project is devised to provide answers to the above questions through the views of people who once were a part of this community.

Melis recently graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MArch.

Refreshments at 5:30 pm, program at 6:00 pm.

Learn how to apply for the 2019 Scholarship. Deadline is April 5.

​Sulukule Before Gentrification


Sulukule After Gentrification


Sponsored By

AIA Chicago Foundation

Learning Units

1 LU

Member Price


Non Member Price