Our firstday in Yahşibey, but it feels like we have been in here for ten years. Today, we take action for visiting the ones that are present at Aegean from old times, ancient citys. First, Aigai, the land of mountain goats! Aigai hides itself from us for years, in the middle of Aegean land. We take a step to this archaic city on the steep slope of the mountains. When it comes to noon, we deflect our route to Pergamon, an ancient capital. From the streets of New Pergamon, we start to climb the ancient city which is positioned at the top of a mountain.
Askylepion, Red Basilica and Pergamon! These are the places that lives together, one within the other, in a silent way. One side there are neigborhoods from the Ottoman times, the other side contains the contemporary buildings. Our excursion has a route from the oldest layer of history to the newest one. We are in the history, this is Aegean...
A beautiful morning of the second day. The place is Agean, Dikili. There are villages on the slope that faces the sea. They are built next to each other, between the hills. Today, we are on our way to explore. We visit the villages one by one which are embraced by nature but abandoned by people.
Merdivenli, Katıralan, Esentepe... Deliktaş, Çandarlı, Yaylayurt. After these, lunch break at Denizköy. Coastal town, Bademli. The schools which are, abandoned, occupied and full of straw. Also, there are traditions which is disappearing in time, like weaving.
Later, Mazılı, Çağlan, Samanlık Villages. Each school has a huge field. There are gardens, fountains and lodgements. We drive from the higher villages to the lower ones. Yenice, Kocaoba, Kızılçukur. The schools in İslamlar, Kabakum and Kıratlı are still in use.
Our last spots are Salihler and Bahçeli. Salihler even has a secondary school. Our excursion contains all the villages. They are using as a storage, garbage or barn. Some of them are using as an active school and still want to provide education.
For us abandoned rural schools have different memories.
The quietness of the villages are annoying and overwhelming . For old people, we are guests rather than strangers. We can only talk with them about their memories. We visit 20 villages and the sky upon us is beautiful and cloudy.
We leave the villages behind us. Sun goes down and our day passes through understanding the people and their villages. We turn back our home and have a discussion on people and abandonedness of villages.
A peaceful morning, we take a walk to two schools in Yahşibey. All together, we explore both of these schools. For now, they are abandoned and not in use. One of them has goats and ships in its garden. Until noon, we visit the schools and take photos of them. After a decent lunch, Emre from Herkes için Mimarlık (Architecture for All), gives us a presentation. He tells us the stories behind the renovation and repair applications in their projects and their experiences on transforming abandoned rural schools. Until dinner we keep working on the schools in Yahşibey and produce new ideas. After dinner we start a discussion through the rural schools and how we can improve them. About the rural schools, the ideas are exchanged and we share suggestions on documenting our experiences. At the end we have a general cleaning session.
First 3 Days
Today it is time to take care of the technical sides of the process, like site measurements and documentation of buildings. It was hard to carry the technical measurment tools. Measurement is difficult and exhausting for beginners but still it is beneficial to learn how to handle the process. After working under the sun, lunch is a pleasure for us. Later we continue on working in the site until the barbecue gets ready. The dinner tastes delicious. Again we talked on rural schools and our position as architecture students. After all, we continue to talk and rest...
We wake up. After the breakfast thanks to Emre Senan we have a conversation with Selda Özen who is a pedogogist. We have a discussion on many questions about behaviours, wishes and needs of children. After that, we have another session on our findings. Without disrupting our works, we aim to finish the measurements. Later we aim to prepare a template by transfering our hand drawings to digital platform. At the end of the day, we adapt our drawings and sketches which contain typological approaches on rural schools. Finally, we spend our night by listening music...
We wake up in a good mood but we feel more exhausted than before. At least, waking up later than the other days is a sign to understand that. After breakfast, again we have a general discussion. After lunch we continue our works, completing the missing drawings and reading. Some of us go to the village to understand and analyse the surroundings by talking to the villagers. We spend our time by resting and working. Due to hot weather, we are more tend to swim in the pool.
A quite and fast breakfast... Just after that, in the morning, we start working for the evening presentations. Almost we lock ourselves inside the house and we are shaken by a surprise presentation. Actually, Cenk challenged us. After lunch, for a while we work in pairs. Today we swim just to freshen up. It seems that the rest of the days will be busier. In the night at 1 a.m., we present our current situation. In a way, being exhausted gives us pleasure.
In the morning, we started working to improve our concept projects. Exploring the aproaches on space and place posed challenges to all of us. Obviously, it is hard to end up with an optimum idea from a process that includes many dimensions.
In the afternoon, we went to beach for swimming. Such experience of swimming within the village provided a significant opportunity to improve our understanding of the context. Thereafter, we had dinner followed by a dynamic presentation of preliminary proposals. The presentations are always fun and informative in Yahşibey.
Today, we start to work for the evening presentations. We agreed to make our presentations as simple as possible, because we all agreed that with simple images we can explain our ideas more clear. In the afternoon, we gave a break for refreshen up and enjoy the pool all together.
At evening, we made a rehearsal if we can manage to finish our presentation in 6 mins. There are similarities between working for presentation and working for an outcome of a design project. Both, you work for a final and proper outcome aim. After presentations, we celebrate İpek's birthday. Today was fun and productive at the same time.
Today we worked for final presentation in a rush. Generally, we were giving breaks for pool, but today we worked without giving a break. When someone stop by to our tables, he/she can saw that we are working, drawing in a well concentrated situtation. Our ideas turn into spatial forms. While we were presenting, the example about Kars Cheese Museum that Nevzat Sayın mentioned is impressed us. At the same time, Emre Senan gave us important and serious critics on our graphic techniques. We notice that we all have to give attention to our skills as architecture students.
Ninth and Tenth Day
We wake up to a beautiful morning in Yahşibey. After a quick breakfast we made a mini tour to the houses that Nevzat Sayın designed. From there, we visited the schools in Yahşibey and reexaminated the potantials of them. The final presantations that we present to the villagers is coming soon. Therefore again we discussed our presentations with Nevzat Sayın. We had sardines for dinner and we enjoyed our night by spending time together. With 'helva', a dessert, we crowned our night at the end. It was such a delicious night so we couldn't resist to dance. When it's 12 p.m. we ended up the night to start a fresh day tomorrow.
We wake up to a suffocate morning. The weather is getting hotter. Because of tiredness of yesterday, we woke up late. After breakfest we contunie to work on our design proposals. After lunch, we keep working until dinner. Then, at 23:00 we had a rehearsal and discussion session with Nevzat Sayın and Emre Senan. We ended up the night with a conversation together.
Today is the presentation day. Even in our breakfast we felt the excitement of the final open presentation. After a really quick breakfast we worked for the last touches. Therefore, we had our lunch fast. While we finishing our presentations, the appetisers were preparing in the kitchen.
Now it’s time to present our ideas to everyone!
The participants present their works and point of views one by one. After a productive presentation we had a feast with the guests. When the guests left we evaluated our two weeks workshop process. By the time we keep talking among ourselves. The day ended with falling a sleep while watching a movie.
We woke up to a day under the influence of presentation and celebration. We had a hearty breakfast. Then we started working on presentation files and documents that we had to complete.
Because of the overwhelming heat of the weather, everyone continued to work in shaded areas.
In the evening we cooled off in the pool. We had the barbecue once more and had dinner. Then we sat down at the desk to complete the files and documents.
We started to clean the house with the sadness that we passed through ourselves because it was the last day. Together we did the cleaning of the house and organized the works that had to be prepared.
Cleaning ran out early but it took quite a long time to prepare booklets and journals. İpek and Ece left the school early. This upset us. We got the last things done by the evening. We're leaving school tomorrow morning. Everyone on the team will go their own way, but obviously we will reunite. The friendships established in the last 15 days may not end. We know we'll meet again soon.
May the good days bring us good days.