Studio Vertebra – Gencer Yalçın


Could you please introduce Studio Vertebra to us? How have 4 partners got together?

Before opening this office, we used to be working together in international forms. In such organizations, the system rather starts off from feasebility phase and we used to solve more local problems. We were leading all processes including meetings with public committees of the municipalities, construction, technical, designing and etc. And when these international forms decided to withdraw from Turkey, we didn’t want to keep working abroad and rather preferred to continue in Turkey and this lead us to establishing Studio Vertebra. Both construction and our sector were just becoming the rising stars. Apparently there were many substructure problems and ordinary architectural perspectives. This ordinariness was leading other problems and the only way to solve all these problems is working with all disciplines. Not only working with all disciplines would enough; there are also the economic datas which you have to take into consideration and actualise the designing accordingly. As a summary, all elements need to work in coherence and that’s why we see the issue as a whole by becoming a total solution partner.

Normally we mostly work for private sector and when they work with us, the scale begins to extand from a parcel to a wider land scale. Our cities have really serious problems and as we all know, these are not problems wh,ch only architects can resolve. And yet,if you only support just like an ordinary private company, but not act like a partner; this will not lead us to a solution. On the other hand, in case you handle the issue through a long term process and act as a solution partner, you begin to solve many problems of the city. That’s why we chose to be a totalitarian design office.

We would all wish, city planners, landscape architects etc all would work together in workshops and come up with soluitons for these problems. But they don’t. And so we try as much as we can to fill all these gaps.

Who are your founding partners? How did you make up the team? Which criterias did you focus on the most?

Our founding partners are, Gencer Yalçın, Dilşad Öktem Aslaner, Bahar Yücel and Efe Kağan Hızar. Being in service industry and making business with people are the factors increasing the importance of our team members. For us the differentiating criteria is “doing a good job” independent from customers and/or conditions. And that’s why we want to walk arm in arm with colleagues who want to “do a good job”, love his/her job, be ambitious and enthusiastic.

Could you please tell us a littlr about your activities and recent projects?

We work with group companies and work on wide range projects. Therefore we do not have the chance to work on a specific issue. We may be working on cyclical residential/office architecture or composite structures. This can sometimes be a cultural center or the designing of a park..

Regarding our recent projects; right now we have about 20-25 projects. For instance, our Atapark project in Ataşehir is a different one and also the one to be launched soon is our Volume Istanbul project, some hotel projects and mostly we are currently working on urban transformation projects.

What have you done up tonow regarding your job? From the very beginning up to now?

Right in the beginning, we were developing architectural projects; after 1 year, interior design projects and after 4 years ancient building projects are what we primarily work on. When we first began,we were 4 people and right now we are 40 people.

What do you have inyour future plans? What can you tell about new projects, investment plans?

We are working real hard to convert a very disciplined office into a multi national structure. As for this issue, we are planning to improve our abroad offices.

As an architect, what is the definition of a contemporary residence? What criterias shall a contemporary residence contain and which aesthetic concerns shall it have?

With a simple definition, residence is where you shall ‘reside’, but what do we mean by ‘residing’? Is it a place where your security is provided and where you can adapt to climate conditions? In our world now, home life, business life, friendships and social interactions are all combined. Therefore, the place you live shall be supplying both the basic needs and also today’s requirements. In terms of contemporary residences, people talk about very confusing details. In my opinion, a

house should be as simple as possible.. That’s because in order to feel belonging to a place, to be happy there, to internalise and to own; you should establish a bond. And the minimum requirements are clear.. You shoudn’t build up a glass box for people when trying to give them a modern house. A person should feel (s)he is ‘living’ in that house.

As Studio Vertebra, you undersign various different construction designings with different functioanlities, one of which is the education buildings. Is there a general designing approach is Studio Vertebra’s education designs?

Just like our all other projects, we prefer to handle the project under urban scale in our eduaction designings. And this makes it important; the region’s needs, approaches, and local bonds if any. For instance, in the schools we designed in Urfa, the usage of close, shadowy areas etc were the crucial elements of the projects. And as for the project we did in Kocaeli, the relation it were to form with the city was what we had targeted. Therefore we opened the usage of ateliers and conference halls both to the school and also to public usage in order to form that relation.

In general and in spiteof the fact that our desgning approach may differ according to local conditions; our common criterias are spatial transparency, variousness, flexibility, fluidity and variability in our projects. And in overall aspect, landscaping shall definitely form a correct bond with the structure.

What are your opinions about future educational buildings?

As it is in all aspects of architecture, educational buildings are also changing and evolving according to the primary needs of students and teachers.

Since in today’s world children are unable to spend enough time at home and/or on the streets and their bondswith the outer world decreasing have led them to starting school at even earlier ages. And this apparently caused increase in sharing and interaction between chikdren at schools. As a conclusion, for future school buildings, they will be modern, open for technology usage, giving the opportunity for group works, and flexible buildings.

What are your priorities inyour projects? What shall be your referances when bringing up an architectural structure?

Our working scales include projects from high quantity urban transformations to all architectural buildngs of different type and scales. Even though our interior projects are homonymous with architectural typologies, they can still differ according to the qualifications of the place.

As Studio Vertebra, we form interior spaces able to form correct bonds with the urban plans. We take person-space ratio as the basis and obtain sustainability ro form projects with global architectural values. And we place all our peojects on ‘universal’ approach.

What are the short term targets of this office?

We are a team loving our job and believing that we have to focus even more on architecture. We cannot accept the fact that any of our projects cannot compete with any international project in design wise. And as to overcome such possibilities, we try our best to use the latest technology and improve our equipments. Our target is to do architecture in global terms and to leave timeless architectural projects which will remain after us. We wantthis formation to remain after us independently. People doing their jobs with passion shall be reaching happiness and satisfaction by doing proper architecture in this office.That’s our main aim.