- HiM (Architecture for All) is a group of young people with different backgrounds, trying to create a social platform where people can come up with creative solutions to problematic social issues that we face in Turkey which is a direct match with Arup’s philosophy.
- We think that the most important agent that defines our actions’ validity in the villages; is to respond to the need of the locals.
Architecture for All (Herkes için Mimarlık – HiM) started “Revitalizing Abandoned Rural Schools Project” on April 2012 to create a potential gain out of the rural schools which are abandoned for at least 10 years because of the transportational education system. Although expressed in thousands, these empty schools constitute a huge stock of buildings that are unused, only a few of them were re-functioned. As young architects, academicians, students and volunteers, HiM is looking for ways to revalue this stock of buildings and create a benefit to their locations.
Both Arup and HiM believe that collaboration between all involved parties would be the most beneficiary when it comes to taking initiatives in social problems. It is one of our biggest goals to guarantee the highest participation from locals starting from the early decision stages of the project, carrying on to construction and operation. Another source of the participation is university students. Working with students provides them with the opportunity of practicing the theory they were taught at school.
Revitalizing Abandoned Rural Schools Project is ongoing with the support of the Arup Turkey office. Arup is providing all core engineering and architectural services for a new abandoned school residing in Datça; an Aegean Sea coast area. The area has a lot of new settlers as well as the current villagers. The village is in need of an area for its people to gather, organise events, workshops and classes. This building, which was built in 1950s, will be revitalized for this specific usage. After assessing the current building’s conditions, we will be starting the design workshops with the collaboration of HiM and selected university students in November. We are planning to work on other abandoned schools and transform them according to the needs of the locals.
HiM's first project was the Kargı Ferhat Akbulut Primary School which consists of two building blocks resting on the shoulders of a mountain. When the old school building was claimed insufficient for the increasing student population, the villagers started constructing a new school building because they did not want the students to scatter around to nearby villages. Although the second building’s construction could not be completed due to insufficient funds, it was still put into use and Kargı Primary School was saved from being shut down. The school building, still incomplete since 2008, was previously hosting its 300 students under unhealthy and dangerous conditions.
During the 10 day workshop, the unfinished construction works of the school (such as heating system, insulation, boiler room, painting, etc.) were finalised. Kargi (Ordu) is finished in 2012 September and is operating as a primary school.
While the participants worked with the construction workers during the day, they mixed with the villagers through local festivities and events.
Batuhan Ergunes, Arup, Turkey