Melike Altınışık and Gül Ertekin have shared with us their proposal for the İstanbul Gülsuyu Cemevi and Cultural Center Competition. Hosted by Maltepe Municipality of Istanbul,Turkey, the competition asked participants to design a religious and cultural complex for the Alevi population (a religious minority group practicing Islam) that can serve modern society’s needs and honor pastculture.
In the past 30 years, themovement of Alevis to urban centers has caused tension between history and modernity, and between the rural and the urban. As thescale of the Alevis' religious buildings, known as Cemevis, has grown to meet new cultural and social needs, they began to lose the traits that defined them as religious buildings. This competition entry focuses on cultural sustainability, using Alevi culture andvalues as its inspiration.Humanism, modesty, socializing and a strong connection with nature and surroundings are the core principles of its design. Instead of a formal sustainability of the past, the cultural sustainability became the core of the design. Alevi culture and their values are taken as main principles for the architecture of Cemevi; such as humanism, modesty, socializing, strong connection with nature and the surroundings. A series of repeated modules express a differentiating of programmatically distinct areas, while maintaining the unity of the entire complex. The experience at street level and spaces to socialize are taken into consideration. Public spaces are created within the complexby a roof and terraceland scapewith visual and physical connections within itselff or people to interact.