Open Space Gökçeada


For whom: Residents of Gökçeada
With whom: UNDP Turkey Accelerator Lab, Gökçeada Municipality, Marmara Municipalities Union
When: 2021

Within the scope of the Public Space Design with Participatory Methods in Space Project carried out in cooperation with UNDP Turkey Accelerator Lab, Marmara Municipalities Union and Gökçeada Municipality, ideas were being developed on the arrangement of the piney area next to the Vocational School as a result of the meetings and workshops held with the islanders in Gökçeada since the beginning of 2021. As Herkes İçin Mimarlık, we were involved in the work on the ‘Open Space Gökçeada’ application, which is the last stage of this project, between July and September.

Our involvement in the project was realized with the invitation of the UNDP Turkey Accelerator Lab in July to develop the concept design of the Sotonoba team form Japan into a application project and coordinate the construction process. Sotonoba, a team working on ‘place making’ and they proposed a building called ‘Rotunda’ for this area, which the residents of Gökçeada could use for different activities, and some area arrangements around the building. The structure proposed by the team envisaged that the bookshelf units should be arranged side by side in a semi-circle shape and a textile cover was stretched over them. However, the team also noted that this proposal could be developed according to local conditions. Based on this flexible adaptation idea of Sotonoba, we started online meetings with architects, craftsmen and building managers from UNDP Turkey and Gökçeada Municipality. We reconsidered the project in accordance with the expectations of the islanders, measures against the wind that stand out in local climatic conditions, its arrangement as a building that can be used in winter, the budget and timetable, local materials and construction possibilities. However, we made our first visit to Gökçeada on 14-20 August 2021, stating that we need to see the field in order to conclude this remote work in a healthy way.

In our first visit to Gökçeada, besides seeing the site where the project will be implemented, we had meetings with the mayor as well as the project managers in the municipality, exchange of ideas with the engineers from the island and outside the island for the technical details of the project, and meetings with the volunteers who were involved in the project from the very beginning on the island. In addition, we visited waste material warehouses of the municipality and the construction companies on the island for materials that can be used in the play and seating elements that will be located around the Rotunda. During this visit, the base concrete of the Rotunda was poured, the waste materials started to be brought to the site and the locations of the units was determined, and the comprehensive landscape works that will continue after a month were also started during this visit. We left the island to complete the final detail drawings for the Rotunda and to prepare the necessary material order lists.

In the first days of our second visit on September 16-27, while we continued to collect waste and scrap materials from the constructions on the island, we also prepared the site for the 1-week practice workshop that we will hold with the participation of volunteers. We made calls for participation and made several visits to reach the islanders. In this process, we created sitting and play groups in an arrangement centered on the Rotunda, with the materials such as pontoons, wood, pallets, fences, slides, crushed stones, plastic pallet fastening circles, concrete blocks, metal pipes. We aimed that these groups will be examples for possible recycling of waste materials in the future. With the ordered woods reaching the island, we started the cutting and on-site assembly processes for the Rotunda in the workshop of the municipality with the craftsmen. We kept in touch with the municipal team after the workshop for the construction of the Rotunda and the process was completed by the end of the year. In the last days of the workshop calendar, the team that participated in the process established a discussion circle by making an open call. In the circle, there were discussions on the future of the field. While the discussions continued on the last day of the circle, painting and jam making workshops were held with the participation of children. During our stay, we met with schools, associations, initiatives, and volunteers on the island and got involved in the discussions of thinking about the future of the field. We made these two visits with small teams including our association members and those who are in the membership process, due to the pandemic conditions that have not yet eased and the quota limitation. As a result of the works completed for the Rotunda and its surroundings, the area has been used by the municipality for various activities since 2022.

We would like to thank to the UNDP Turkey Accelerator Lab, who invited us to this project; to Gökçeada Municipality and its employees who supported our accommodation and food needs during our visits to the island; to Mukadder Usanmaz and Burcu İlhan, who were the coordinators of the process; and to Hasan Hüseyin Kara, Hava and Ökkeş Altay, Ayşe and Çetin Sevim whom we met on the island and talked about the future of the field, and hosted us in the best possible way during our visits.

You can find the photo album of the project process here.

Project participants: Ahmet Berk Hot, Elif Tan, Emre Gündoğdu, Ercan Mutlu, Feyza Çınar, Görkem Geyik, Kubilay Ercelep, Merve Gül Özokcu, Selçuk Sarp Özgen, Serap Kaçmaz, Setenay Kamazoğlu, Tarık Emir Kartal, Tayfun Parlak, Utku Kan


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