BÇBD Uzundere Children’s Book and Playhouse


For whom: Uzundere Mass Houses children
With whom: Bütün Çocuklar Bizim (All Children Are Ours) Association, CE’S Architecture office and participants
When: 2021

In the first days of January 2021, Bütün Çocuklar Bizim Association (BÇBD) contacted us and conveyed their thoughts and wishes to build a children’s book and playhouse together in İzmir Uzundere Child and Youth Center. The idea of children’s book and playhouse was born when BÇBD started to research what they can do in the region after the 30 October 2020 Izmir Earthquake. We  undertook the design work for the area where BÇBD wanted to carry out joint activitiy programs with Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Demiroglu Science University Medical Students’ Association, and we started working with the expedition we carried out on January 26.

The area envisaged by the management of the center for the project, which is aimed to be built in the center next to the houses where the earthquake victims are located, was the middle volume, which is located in the entering the space and where the rooms doors opens. There were 3 training units, 1 computer and 1 multi-purpose hall entrance around this volume of approximately 88 m2. Although this area seems to be a difficult place at first with its location in the middle, on the entrance and exit path to both the halls and the outside, and acoustic and lighting problems, we anticipated that these features and problems of the space could feed the design ideas.

Before starting the design work, we prepared a survey to get the opinions of the children coming to the center. In this questionnaire, which asked how the children used the center and what they wanted to happen, we also added drawing pads to draw what they imagined on the plan and the walls surrounding the space. In addition to the results of this survey, for which we collected the answers for one week, we also compiled the opinions of the employees of the center and BÇBD members, and we started the work by evaluating these requests and opinions.

Considering the pandemic conditions, we held the design workshop for the project online between 13 February and 7 March. Instead of the open call method we have made in many projects, we invited people who stated that they wanted to take part in the works by sending us a message before, as well as CE’s Architecture office, which conveyed their desire to produce together. Although we care about working face-to-face and on-site, the online workshop also offered the opportunity to work with participants from different parts of Turkey and the world.

We were divided into 4 groups under the headings of “middle platform, wall, floor, ceiling” after the introduction where we shared the expectations about the area in the design workshop we conducted with 16 people, including 4 members of our association and 12 participants. While the groups produced joint or alternative proposals on the first weekend, we had the opportunity to discuss these proposals together at the end of the day meetings.

After the first weekend, we prepared posters and took them to the center to get opinions on the first ideas. Although we did not receive any feedback from the children that week, we received comments from the center staff and we met again in the second weekend. As a result of the studies we worked in groups and evaluated together we designed a circular workshop area that will not cut the transition to other rooms while settling in the middle of the area and can be customized inside itself, a cabinet unit that extends along the wall of the multi-purpose hall across the wall of this area and provides sitting space apart from storage, seating and display units placed on the other walls surrounding the rooms which taking into account the entrances and exits, and seating units and tables that can be used by parents in the entrance area. We have also developed suggestions for the lighting of the designed units with paint applications that can be made on the walls and floors. We shared tasks to elaborate on these designs, and 10 days later we presented our ideas to BÇBD members, center staff and medical students. We evaluated the feedback we received in this presentation at our last meeting on March 7, and detailed our designs for implementation and produced material quantities.

We had planned to take part in the construction works of the project, but this was not possible with the curfews in the evening and weekend as a result of the worsening of the pandemic conditions. Due to resource constraints, all ideas could not be realized in the process of meeting with the craftsmen and companies that could implement the application. In line with the decision of the BÇBD, the middle workshop area, which can be considered the main backbone of the project, was built. An opening event was held on 30 June with the participation of our association members for the area, which was built with a two-month delay from the targeted calendar due to the aforementioned conditions.

We like to thank to the Bütün Çocuklar Bizim Association, who invited us for the project, where we follow the works carried out in the field and we are happy with the feedback that the children enjoy, to the employees of Uzundere Child and Youth Center who helped us during our visits, and to the workshop participants and CE’S Architecture office, with which we had a very productive design process.

You can find the photo album of the project here.

Workshop participants: Altıner Yıldırım, Ayşegül Pilavcı, Behiye Alkol, Ceren Kolan Şentürk, Doğa Erdoğmuş, Emre Gündoğdu, Hatice Çandır, İdil Bayar, İdil Çubukgil, Miray Türkoğlu, Muammer Bedeloğlu, Nilüfer Tuncer, Öykü Dorum, Sena Bektaşoğlu, Tayfun Parlak, Tuğçe Sarıca