Panel on the Transformation of Architectural Education

In the 10th year anniversary of the Department of Architecture at the Izmir University of Economics, this panel aims to provide a shared platform for exploring approaches to address new directions in architectural education. The participants are asked to focus on the acute issues at the intersection of two thematic sessions, one being concerned with emerging computational design approaches, and the other with interdisciplinary frameworks in architectural education. The panel is dedicated to fostering a constructive dialogue between leading academics and practitioners concerned with ideas that will take architectural education forward.

Theme 1: The Role of Computational Design in Architecture

Advances in digital computing not only challenge traditional ways of conceptualizing buildings but also impact on the nature of the relationship between design, construction, and habitation. The theme however requires further elaboration and the participants are asked to consider the role of computational design within a framework that links emerging practices in the profession with the relevant strategies adopted in architectural education. The guiding questions that are posed within this session are;

  1. How do advances in digital computation shape the approaches to architectural education?
  2. How does the academic community react to the developments in design computing?
  3. What are the concerns about computational design within both practice based and academic communities?

Theme 2: Interdisciplinary Strategies in Architectural Education

Social, political, economical and environmental demands challenge the architect to rethink traditional strategies of organising and producing architecture. Therefore architectural education needs to address new teaching methodologies which broaden the understanding of, and prepare the architect for interdisciplinary design processes.

  1. What are the goals and potentials of interdisciplinary strategies?
  2. How are interdisciplinary strategies organised?
  3. How do innovative interdisciplinary strategies lead to better architectural environments?

This panel aims at discussing values, goals and organisations of current interdisciplinary strategies, both in architectural education and professional design processes.


28 April 2015, Tuesday

Welcoming guests

20.00-22.00 Dinner


29 April 2015, Wednesday

10.00 Opening  by Ender Bulgun (Prof. Dr.)

10.15 Introduction by Bahar Durmaz (Asst. Prof. Dr.)

10.30 – 12.30 Theme 1: Role of Computational Design in Architecture

Moderator: Güzden Varinlioğlu (Asst. Prof. Dr., Architecture, Izmir University of Economics)


Gülsüm Baydar (Prof. Dr., Architecture, Yasar University)

Sema Alaçam (Asst. Prof. Dr, , Computation in Architectural Design, ITU)

Marc Grellert (Ph.D, Architectura Virtualis & Technische Universitat Darmstadt)

Gudjon Thor Erlendsson (Architecture, Izmir University of Economics)

12.30-13.30 Lunch


13.30 – 15.30 Theme 2: Interdisciplinary Strategies in Architectural Education

Moderator:  Osman Demirbaş (Assoc. Prof. Dr., Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Izmir University of Economics)


Türel Saranlı (Architecture, METU)

Zuhal Özcan (Prof. Dr., Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Atilim University)

Zuhal Ulusoy (Prof. Dr., Art and Design, Kadir Has University)

Thanos N. Stasinopoulos (Ph.D, Architecture, Izmir University of Economics)

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

16.00-17.30 Summary and Concluding Discussions: Challenges for the Future

Moderator: Tuğyan Aytaç Dural (Asst. Prof. Dr., Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Izmir University of Economics)

18.00-20.00 Cocktail & Screening

30 April 2015, Thursday

Workshop by Sema Alacam for FFD101

Guest Instructor Turel Saranli to FFD102

The Panel_03 on “Summary and Concluding Discussions: Challenges for the Future” will be moderated by Assist. Prof. Dr. Tugyan Aytac Dural.

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

Born in İstanbul in 1959. Graduated from TED Ankara Collage in 1977. Studied architecture in the Department of Architecture in Middle East Technical University. She received her M.Arch degree and PhD at the same faculty. Her PhD Thesis “THEATRE-ARCHITECTURE-EDUCATION: theatre as a paradigm for introductory architectural design education” (2002), and the book “Basic Design/Basic Education” (1998) that she edited (co-editor: Teymur, N.), were both published by METU Faculty of Architecture Publications. After working for 21 years, she retired from METU Faculty of Architecture and worked in the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design at Başkent University for three and a half years. She had been a visiting instructor in the Department of Architecture at Politechnico di Bari, Italy (2002-2003).

Her major field of research and practice is Beginning Design Education and she has been teaching in the first year design studio since 1985. She studies the significance of basic design principles for different branches of art including cinema, performance arts and literature. She presented number of papers that were published in the proceedings of the national and international congresses. She is recently working as the coordinator of the ‘Art and Design Studio’ for all the departments of Faculty of Arts and Design in İzmir University of Economics.

Panel_02 on “Interdisciplinary Strategies in Architectural Education” will be moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Osman Demirbas.

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

After graduating from the Department of Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, Dr. Demirbaş studied the effects of environmental psychology factors in the design studio setting for the Master’s study. During the PhD, he studied the process of design education through Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) of Kolb and the effects of learning styles in design education. Dr. Demirbaş is still teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design and he is the Director of The Graduate School of Social Sciences at Izmir University of Economics. He worked as an an Executive Board Member of the International Federation of Interior Architects and Designers (IFI) between 2011-2014. He has published several academic papers in different international journals such as Learning and Instruction, Design Studies, Journal of Environmental Psychology and METU Journal of Architecture and has been continuing his research on ELT, learning styles, cognitive styles, teaching/learning processes in design, design/architecture education, design history and semiotics.


Architecture has always been a transformation of materials into human shelters in various types of natural and social space. The fast invasion of computers during the last 20-30 years has generated a virtual kind of space with its own virtual architecture. The novel digital tools offer great possibilities in architectural practice, both in the design and production of buildings, transforming radically the way architects work and create.

They also transform architectural education, as the architecture curriculum is being rapidly de-materialized, with digital-based courses displacing conventional ones. In the current enthusiasm about digital design, a leading emphasis is given to the geometric aspects of buildings as virtual objects, with anaemic coverage of their spatial materiality and the dynamics of time.

As a direct witness of architectural education for over three decades, I can identify certain tendencies among average students:- a gradual diminishing of their ’analogue’ skills, with weakening 3-D imagination (not to mention 4-D) and manual dexterities;- a growing dependence, confidence, and even addiction on digital tools and methods that substitute initiatives and inventiveness;- a decline in their comprehension of physical necessities that are inescapably linked to design, construction, and operation of buildings –an unfortunate development that coincides with a flood of building products and techniques;- an ‘incubator-like’ perception of how built environment works, with weak understanding of natural systems and processes.
A promising development is that such negative trends are somehow balanced by students’ own sensing of deficiencies in their education, which make them eager to get involved in hands-on events where computers take a back seat. That is a hint –among others- to the need for re-instating ‘architectural materialism’ in the curriculum by means of core courses and parallel events that address the multiple physical aspects of architecture tectonics, ultimately enriching the geometric and theoretical considerations that currently govern the design studio.

29 April Wednesday, 15:00
İzmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

Thanos graduated from National Technical University of Athens School of Architecture in 1975. He received his Graduate Diploma from Architectural Association Energy Course in 1986, and his PhD from NTUA in 1999. His long academic career at various schools of architecture has primarily been focusing on sustainable design, which has also been implemented in his private architectural practice. His expertise on building construction is accompanied by extensive academic and professional work on applied geometry, CAD, interior design and visual arts.

Panel_01 on “Role of Computational Design in Architecture” will be moderated by Assist. Prof. Dr. Guzden Varinlioglu.

29 April Wednesday, 10:30
İzmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

Through the course of Guzden Varinlioglu’s undergraduate education in architecture at METU and her graduate education in graphic design at Bilkent University, she became interested in digital technology and its contribution to the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage. Her research period in Texas A&M University in 2010 was followed by a PhD degree from the Program of Art, Design and Architecture in Bilkent University.

Her research responded to the lack of systematic methodology for the collection, preservation and dissemination of data in cultural heritage studies. In 2011, Guzden received a post-doc position in architectural design computing at ITU. In January 2013, she started her post doctoral studies at the Center of Digital Humanities at UCLA. Since 2015, she is teaching in the Department of Architecture at Izmir University of Economics.


Being multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary is a distinctive characteristic of architecture and all design practices. Starting with the program (or problem definition), through design conception, development and construction, all the way to accommodation, architectural practice inevitably and essentially necessitates the involvement and integration of a wide range of disciplines. It is hard to think of any other practice that involves as many disciplines as architecture does. Yet, we still feel the need to discuss the importance of interdisciplinarity, to emphasize the necessity of incorporating interdisciplinary strategies while talking about its education. Why interdisciplinarity? Why now?

Here, I argue that a critical assessment of the current models of architecture education and the need for adopting a fresh look leads us to go back to its basic premises, and to rethinking what architectural practice is. I suggest a reorganization of architecture education around themes, topics, issues and values that cut across the disciplines, instead of the current fragmentation through courses that focus on disciplines as discrete chunks of knowledge. Essentially, what I suggest is using the ‘act of design’, or design practice as a model to restructure the education of design.

29 April Wednesday, 14:30
İzmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

Zuhal Ulusoy graduated with B.Arch and M.Arch. degrees from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Receiving a Fulbright scholarship, she continued her graduate studies in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA, USA), where she completed her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in architecture and urban regeneration. In 1992, Dr. Ulusoy joined Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) as the Founding Chairperson of the Lands

cape Architecture and Urban Design Department. She was a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture in 2003-2004, where she taught senior level design studio and a course on housing. In 2005 she joined the newly founded Architecture Department of Izmir University of Economics. Since 2008, she has been working at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey, as the Dean of Faculty of Art and Design, and a faculty member in the

Architecture Department. She also serves in the Administrative Board of the Istanbul Studies Center at Kadir Has University. Her research interests include urban studies, particularly urban regeneration and transformation, as well as design education at various levels. Her articles and chapters on these areas have been published in various refereed journals and in books. She has taught courses on urban design, concepts in architecture, took part in foundation design studios and urban design studios, and supervised Master’s and Ph.D. theses.


The transition from craft to mechanic production over the first half of the twentieth century led to an aesthetic crisis, in Herbert Marcuse’s words, the division of ‘thought and action’, ‘conception and execution’, ‘hand and mind’, in several disciplines, including the field of architecture. Architectural discourse, theory and practice today have to additionally deal with a new crisis arising from the encounter with digital media. The role of computers in the more creative aspects of architectural design is still however, limited and the promise of digital tools heralding a new era in our ways of designing is far from being realized. There has been huge gap between what is theoretically possible with computation and current practice; between the potential of digital media and actual usage by architects. On one hand architecture has seen the widespread adoption of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) as representation tools in the last 2 decades. On the other hand, conventional methodologies such as sketching and model making are still crucial in architecture education. Related to this crisis, Sema Alaçam argues that aesthetic dimensions of bodily experience is one of the key concepts in the effort to get a deeper understanding of today’s crisis and gain insight about future directions of digital design environments. In her talk she will discuss the potentials of imperfective encounters between architecture students and the unexplored digital.

29 April Wednesday, 11:00
İzmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design

Guzden Varinlioglu's photo.

Dr. Sema Alaçam is an architect and a lecturer at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture. She received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from ITU in 2005 and Master of Architecture degree from Architectural Design Computing graduate program of ITU in 2008

She attended Hyperbody Research Group Studies in TU Delft, Netherlands during 2006. Receved her PhD in 2014, she was among the first generation PhD students at the Architectural Design Computing Graduate Program in Graduate School of Science Engineering and Technology, Department of Informatics of ITU where she also worked as a research and teaching assistant between 2007 and 2014. She worked at ETH Zurich, Department of Architecture, Chair of Structural Design in 2013-2014 during her PhD studies as an academic guest. Both her master and PhD research studies have been supported by BAP-ITU(Scientific and Projects-ITU) and TUBITAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) under the number of 2210, 2211 and 2214-A.

Apart from the undergraduate architectural design studio, she teaches various graduate courses related to the computational design and fabrication approaches in architecture. She has numerous papers presented and printed in national and international conferences.