Akşemsettin Library and Workshop Room


For whom: Akşemsettin Primary School students
With whom: University students
When: 2017-2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the only work we carried out in the field was Istanbul Akşemsettin Primary School Library and Workshop Room. In a year when our planned construction works were canceled, this work that developed out of our plans was also gratifying in terms of completing a project we thought we could not implement.

Akşemsettin Primary School, located in Fatih District of Istanbul, is a school where more than 800 students attend.  Through the Support Foundation for Civil Society and the Sulukule Volunteers Association, the school, which we are aware of, receives students from many different origins, especially Syrians. In the basement of the school, which was built in 1927 and has a recently restored historical building, there was a room that was used for workshops from time to time and also functioned as a storeroom. The school principal and teachers demanded that this place be converted into a library and workshop room. The first stage of the work we started on these demands was the design workshop we held with 15 university students and Skaanim Design and Application Workshop in 2017. In the design studies, we considered a tribune element to be placed in the corner of the room, a separator unit that would function as a bookcase and transition element while separating the space in the middle, seating and storage units along the wall, tables that could come together in different ways and free cushions. However, we could not do the implementation work since the initial project supporter was withdrawn and we could not find new resources in the intervening time. You can find the design booklet we produced in 2017 here.

In the spring of 2020, the architecture offices of Zaas and Yerce contacted us, asking if they could be a place to evaluate the units that will come out from the library of the Istanbul Saint Michel French High School, which they renovated. We stated that we can take some of the bookshelves and seating units that will come out from here, and we moved them to Akşemsettin with the help of Şişli Municipality. Other units from the Saint Michel High School library were also sent to the surrounding schools.

In August, we were in Akşemsettin to install and transform these units we moved. We revised the design from 2017 before implementation, taking into account how the incoming units and other units in the room can be transformed. We assembled the library units along the wall. We placed the seating elements on the side we thought of as a tribune. We installed shelves, closed and open cabinets in the corner of the tribune and on the opposite wall of the bookcases. Apart from the assembly of the leftover units, we disassembled the old table in the school so that primary school students could use it more comfortably and put these new tables in front of the library units. We sanded and painted the tables and shelves, and put new legs. We made future painting experiments on the walls of the room, which is intended to be used as a library and workshop area. After the works we did in August, we specially procured chairs of the size that the teachers wanted and sent them to the school at the end of the year.

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Kuban and students of ITU Architecture Department, Akatlar Leo Club members and members of our association joined the construction works. Zeynep Kuban, Selma Derdelen Ciliv, Canan Çelikoğlu İrtem, Celil Kayserilioğlu, Suzan Suryolcu, Ayşegül Poyraz, Hildegrad Grosse, Br Mağazacılık and Akatlar Leo Club supported the required budget.

We would like to thank Zaas and Yerce architecture offices, Istanbul Saint Michel French High School, Şişli Municipality and other supporters who made it possible for us to realize a project that we could not implement, through material transformation that we always care about. Despite the prolongation of the project, we send our gratitude and love to the Akşemsettin Primary School principal and teachers who always hosted us warmly.

We always expect your in-kind material, financial and labor contributions to continue doing similar jobs together.

You can access the photo album of the project here.

Design workshop participants: Aygül Çınar, Aytekin Erten, Begüm Büyükdağ, Ceren Bek, Deniz Göksu, Eda Ünerden, Edwin İsak, Elif Kıpçak, Emre Gündoğdu, Enes Yerişenoğlu, Erdem Üngür, Erman Aydın, Gamze Köklüce, Hale Keşef, Hatice Sakallıoğlu, İbrahim Emre Erkek, Kadircan Aydınlı, Kevser Özdemir, Merve Gül Özokcu, Merve Yıldırım, Numan Aygün, Sarper Takkeci, Yasemin Cennet Sünbül, Zeynep Candar

Construction workshop participants: Eda Ünerden, Ege Vaizoğlu, Ekin Güneş, Emre Gündoğdu, Esra Yüksek, Fırat Altundağ, Meris Eren, Merve Şimşek, Sarper Takkeci, Sıla Avar, Zeynep Kuban


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