Student team headed back to Turkey

News - 15 November 2023 - Communication BK

Spending four days in a container to understand how people who lost their homes after the earthquake in Turkey are now living. What is it like to live in these 'shelters'? "Besides the lack of thermal insulation, there is also a lack of general insulation, because we could hear everything that was happening outside." explains Leyla van der Waarde of the Architectural Recovery Team (ART). "Our neighbors in the container camp were very hospitable and were happy for us to stay in their camp." adds Meriç Kessaf.

Last period, the students involved in ART Foundation (formerly START) traveled back to the earthquake disaster area in Turkey. An informal second visit to Hatay was necessary to take steps in the construction process of their modular sustainable homes in the villages. This trip was intended to document the region and capture the goals and issues needed to underpin the design to be made. But it was also important to agree with stakeholders on the location for the first prototype. There was also coverage of the project for a documentary by the NOS, presented by Jeroen Pauw, which will be broadcast later this year.

ART Foundation

Almost immediately after the earthquake in Turkey early this year, an initiative arose from concerned Architecture students to do something for the victims in Turkey. A team of students and experts then took the initiative to use their expertise to design a modular home. This initiative reached many national media outlets. 
The idea and activities of this group have now been incorporated into a foundation. Through fundraising, they aim to provide housing solutions for earthquake areas. Or as it says on their own website, "strengthening earthquake-affected communities through collaborative innovation with the goal of safe and sustainable homes. Their top priority is building earthquake-resistant, cost-effective homes that meet community needs. They place a strong emphasis on sustainable and modular housing solutions that take into account local materials and cultural factors. The foundation is committed to providing high-quality housing that is both practical and environmentally friendly. 

On-site stay

In the area, during the visit the four or five pieces of land were mapped and documented where the prototype could be placed. Many meetings were held with families to talk about their situation and wishes. "Together with the locals and with the help of the children in the village, we were able to learn more about how the locals live and what their daily routines are." says Leyla. "The conversations with the neighbors of our 'own' shelter also gave us a reassuring sense of security during our stay in the container camp. Several times we were invited to come and have coffee in front of their container."

More information

  • The ART Foundation is dedicated to designing earthquake-resistant housing solutions that ensure the safety of everyone in vulnerable regions. Founders of the ART foundation are students Leyla van der Waarde and Meriç Kessaf.
  • Read more about the foundation and their approach here. They are busy raising funds and a fundraising campaign is currently running through the University Fund.
  • A design reveal of the first prototype is scheduled for 23 November. 
  • Read previous coverage of their initiative just after the earthquake in Turkey here.