Academic Strength from SPACE Studies to Architecture and Design

SPACE Studies, founded by Dr Pınar Engincan in London, offers scientific and organisational services as an independent academic platform in the fields of architecture, urban planning and urban design. SPACE Studies, which has carried out many original works and events in the context of architecture and design is preparing to organise 15 international conferences in 2021.

Founder and director of SPACE Studies of Planning and Architecture, Dr Pınar Engincan was born in 1974 in Istanbul. Graduated from Yıldız Technical University, Department of Architecture, Dr Engincan completed her master’s and PhD degrees in the Department of Architecture at the same university. Dr Engincan’s expertise is “housing and housing policy”…

Apart from her master’s and doctoral dissertations, many articles and research of her have been published in various journals. She was a lecturer at Akdeniz University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design between 2003 and 2010, and an Assis. Professor at Maltepe University Faculty of Architecture and Design, Department of Architecture between 2010 and 2019. After working at various management levels at Maltepe University such as the Head of the Department of Architecture, the Head of Post Graduate Studies in Architecture, and Institutional Coordinator of International Office, Dr Engincan founded SPACE Studies in June 2017. We talked about architecture, the effect of covid-19 on architectural design and SPACE Studies in all details with Dr Pınar Engincan who continues her academic studies via SPACE Studies Independent Academic Platform.

Can you tell us about SPACE Studies? When and with which target was it set up?

Established in June 2017, SPACE Studies is an independent academic platform that provides services mainly to the academics and researchers who study in the fields of architecture, urban planning and urban design, as well as who work interdisciplinary with these fields. We can define the aims of our platform at two different axis which are scientific and organisational. Scientific axis aims to increase the number and quality of research in architecture and urban design, to support the integration of scientific studies with the society, to ensure that individual academic studies connect with academic institutions. Organisational one aims as an intermediary for university-centred research to reach the public, enabling the sharing of research ideas and results by organising various events, helping to announce research results to a wider audience by publishing them, producing joint research projects with several different institutions and organisations.

What has been done in SPACE Studies so far?

SPACE Studies started its works with conferences and workshops and continues to organise them. It organised a number of conferences every year since its establishment, by trying to cover almost every subject within architecture, design and all disciplines architecture work with. SPACE Studies Publications has published the proceedings of the conferences organised by the Platform. By the end of February 2021, the establishment of the academic journal is planned to be completed as well as its first issue to be published. Meanwhile, it started to work jointly with many institutions and organisations worldwide. While most of these studies are research projects, we continue to seek opportunities to organise joint events and publish collaboratively with other institutions. In addition to these, we are trying to increase the services we provide and the quality of our services we give to the academics and to our members. For example, in 2020 we established our SPACE Online store and our conference books started to be sold via our online shop. In the last days of 2020, we started to add our handmade products to our online store, and we plan to increase our product range over time. Additionally, in December 2020, our Proofreading and Editing services started to work actively in order to increase the quality of academic publications and help academics to reach the language and format standards of the journals that academics plan to publish their research and articles. We will try to open our online library until the end of 2021. In addition, we have decided to publish the books of research projects that have not been conducted or supported by SPACE, and that’s why we try to decide the way and the procedure we will accept book proposals and the way we evaluate them. SPACE Studies, which organises international conferences and workshops, also organises events such as exhibitions, seminars and courses. In this context, 3 conferences were held in 2018, 6 conferences and 2 workshop series in 2019. SPACE Studies organised 10 conferences online due to COVID-19 in 2020 and announced 15 conferences to be held in 2021.

Who attends the conferences? What needs to be done to be a participant and a listener?

Our conferences are academic conferences. For this reason, you can think that the majority of them are environments where academic research is presented and discussed. These conferences are platforms where all researchers, policymakers and social partners working in the fields of architecture and planning disciplines come together and discuss their findings. In order to make a presentation, you need to have a research, and make a submission via our website with the abstract of your research. If your research is accepted by our referees, you can register as a speaker at our conference. On the other hand, registering our conferences is enough to be a listener. All the registrations can be done via our website.

From which countries did you receive participants and listeners to your conferences?

Until today, nearly 200 academicians from more than 75 different universities from various countries of the world presented their research and more than 400 listeners participated in our conferences. Academicians and listeners from over 40 countries participated. These countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Hungary, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Northern Cyprus, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Turkey.

How did Covid-19 affect the construction and architecture industry? How do you see the future as an academician?

With Covid-19, we actually found ourselves in a new life setup especially in terms of definitions and uses of our spaces. We fit or tried to fit many activities, which we were performing in totally different and separate spaces before the pandemic, into the house. To be honest, this reminds me of the spatial structuring of the residence before the Industrial Revolution. Such that, if we bear in mind that the concept of business centre was not developed at that time, in the city centres trade and production were part of the house. The general housing typology was in the form of a selling space facing the street on the ground floor of the building and the production space behind it – namely the business spaces – and the upper floor is residential space, which often being led out of this production area. When we talk about residential spaces, do not think of interior spaces that are functionally specialised. On the upper floor, there was mostly a residential unit with two or three rooms. These rooms were used for sitting during the day and for sleeping at night and were almost identical. Since we are talking about a period when the water installation has not yet entered the residence, it would be correct to say that the kitchen and WC-bathroom areas are mostly included in the building annexes in the garden. Therefore, residential spaces which are private space, were together with semi-public and public spaces before industrial revolution. Of course, human beings today are at a different technological level, still with the pandemic we tried to fit our work, school, and all our other activities in our houses, so that we turned our houses sometimes to semi-public and sometimes to public spaces. I have to say that this resemblance surprised me the most. In many housing design trials carried out during the Pandemic, we see how the functions we have separated and privatised after the industrial revolution actually during our whole modern time experience started to gather again, came together and we started to think about the question ‘How can we use a space both privately and publicly?’ In this context, I can say that I expect many changes and especially trials in the design of products in architecture and construction.

What are your recommendations for architects and students?

Architecture, according to me, would be the profession I would have dreamed of even if I were not an architect. It is a branch of science, a profession that touches every aspect of life, can either turn the places it touches to something very beautiful or destroy as much as it makes them even more meaningful and bears with the responsibility of this choice. It is actually the lifestyle for its professionals. In order to carry that responsibility individually, I believe that it is necessary to be able to love the field of architecture very much, to be open to and in an effort to understand differences and diversities, to be able to work wholeheartedly and most importantly to make it a lifestyle. As an architect and academic, I have always lived-in architecture as it is the only lifestyle I know and have, and I advise young people to always keep these in mind and heart.

Detailed information is on the website below…