Design is an often overlooked aspect of any social protest movement, but the organic nature of its occurrence is of great interest to the Turkish collective Herkes İçin Mimarlık. Translated as Architecture for All, this group collected photos of shelters built from scrap materials during Turkey’s recent uprising and then made drawings of them.
“The protests in Istanbul indicated one simple thing for architects (designers?): We need new definitions for architecture in situations when architecture is removed from architects,” Herkes İçin Mimarlık wrote on their Tumblr page.
As active participants of the protest movement, the group organized several workshops and festivals at Gezi Park in downtown Istanbul in order to demonstrate the importance of this public space.
Nothing they or any other artists, musicians or performers did could deter the government’s plan to raze the park to make way for a shopping mall.
And then the uprising happened and thousands of Turkish protestors took to the streets of cities across the country.
“We tried everything to start a dialogue but were never successful,” Herkes İçin Mimarlık said in a design brief posted on Dezeen.
“For a very long time, we had dreamed of an opposition which could stop the destruction. That miracle happened.”
When it did, all kinds of unique structures popped up, including bunk beds for sleeping, makeshift barricades constructed out of benches, and all manner of tents made from fabric cutouts, steel, wood, and other scrap or found materials.
“We always define architecture with architects. But, Gezi Park was an atmosphere where all paradigms that we were used to has shifted to something else.”
While the Turkish government used all means at its disposal to quell the social protests, including tear gas and water cannons, Architecture for All won’t allow them to erase the collective memory of this historical event.
Instead, they propose to build a library of their drawings to which there is an open invitation for contributions.
“We believe it is way of passive resistance. We keep remembering what happened in Taksim.”