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Yusuf Urlu is the Architects as Developers Designer's Choice Winner

Yusuf Urlu shares the inspiration and process behind his award winning design.

Can you tell us a little about yourself. Your company, team, work, mission, etc.?

I am Yusuf Urlu. A recent, B-Arch Graduate from New York Institute of Technology. Before I finished my undergraduate in New York, I had studied at an architecture school in Turkey for two years. Then, I worked in Africa and Europe for a year. Those were the years of preparation, information gathering, and learning about other cultures. Now, I am getting ready for grad school application as they start in September.

I am currently working with "Collective Infrastructures", a nonprofit that my colleagues, two professors from NYIT and I created. Our main project is a "storm station" for places that lack infrastructure. We built a few in San Juan, Puerto Rico to set an example, and we gathered more members and support to build more. Today, we created 30 different variations based on different needs. A lot of adaptations, improvements, technological integrations and with the help of the investors, this project has the potential to create a great impact and help a lot of communities on a global scale.

What inspired you to enter the design competition?

When I came across the competition that gives opportunities to young architects and designers to envision their design, prepare the project realistically for their future, I had to take it. I am one of those people who do not put a limit on their dreams. I will have my architecture office. That is to say that the openness, flexibility, caring for young minds, and all other specifications of the competition were just perfect and intriguing. My warmest thanks to DesignClass for creating such brilliant competitions.

What role do you architects play in the development world? Now, in the future, etc.?

Architects play plenty of roles in the development of the world. We are surrounded by the built environment such as streets, buildings, recreation areas, and everything that eyes see. Even though in today's sociopolitical climate, architects don't stand on top of the hierarchy ladder, that fact will change soon. Today's corona crises is a good example. As the pandemic started spreading and people quarantining, eyes were looking at the designers (doctor's and scientists aside). Where are our interaction places, our balconies, terraces, and more? How do we design the everyday places, cafes, restaurants, and parks that we could avoid spreading the virus? The need for designer minds/masterminds is increasing. Architecture is the point where science, art, sensations, and the built environment come together and create a better world. I am confident that architects will gain more importance in the upcoming years.

Do you plan to pursue the development of your project? If yes, why and if no, then why not?

Yes, the current version or a better version of my project is in my to-be-accomplished list. As an architect, I believe in the big role that architects play in terms of community interaction, integration, inclusion, and protection of the environment. An architect designs a space, and people use this space in anticipated and unanticipated ways, but the designer has the power to improve and lead social interaction by providing socially-fruitful places in social, environmental, economical and spatial means of modalities. And that's what this project is about.

Any closing thoughts? Anything you'd like the world to know?

Any project that has the potential to treat people in positive ways, improve social health and equality, welcome local inhabitants and newcomers at the same time is a project to pursue. Today, global interdependence is indispensable. People who have flexibility, open-mindedness, passion, determination, and love in their hearts have the power to create this positive effect to change the world. And I am one of them.

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