An architecture soothsayer at the beginning of the twentieth century would not foresee that architects will have to find new ways to survive as the practice itself is eaten by global networks that once carried the architects on top of the ivory tower. Today, ideas that came out as utopias at the beginning of the last century have to be revisited as remedies for the ongoing global crisis. Who would imagine that small scale will offer a way out for architects and societies, after a century full of colossal architecture?
When MoMA hosted an exhibition of architectural projects which aim to have a broad effect on the communities they work, titled as 'Small Scale Big Changein 2010, it announced a radical break in the architecture. In 2016, the most prestigious event of architectural world Venice Architecture Biennale, titled as 'Reporting from the Front', was occupied by modest and clever projects from all over the world, that are socially engaged with the community they belong. However, these were just the precursors of the closing of an era, since they still used the language of the previous period that expected an unrealistic “big change” from small projects which were fighting in the front. For the next decades, it will get even more complex to propose architectural solutions for a society that is facing cutting edge technological advances at one side, while on the other side being threatened by the ongoing global economic crisis and diminishing resources. While architects will have to be inventing alternative ways to deal with this contradictory situation, it is more realistic and truthful to expect a decent change from small scale projects. In MEF University’s Alternative Architectural Practices program, we develop methods for imagining and building new paths to discover small scale architecture. In partnership with companies from the construction industry of Istanbul, the program aims to use the potential of the industry that has long been engaged with the global real estate market, as a tool to design and make new architectures/structures for the emerging conditions of our world.
2019-2020 Project will focus on development and production of a micro scale, off grid and prefabricated housing unit.
Ahmet Yaymanoğlu, Dilek Yürük, Aysima Akın, Nur Gülgör, Ebru Şahinkaya, Pınar Ongün, Eda Yavaş, Damla Kaleli, Sena Hut , İlayda Baydemir, Zeynep Ulusoy
Studio Instructor
Oral Göktaş

Industry Partners
Metal Yapı
Research Book​​​​​​​
"Small Scale Decent Change" is a compilation book dealing with small-scale housing units. The book starts with a timeline that reveals the local and global thresholds that leads to the emergence of micro-living units. Then, the "Structural Durability" section comes up, which examines the relationship of existing small-scale units with external forces. In the "Technology" section, alternative building materials, construction systems, and modes of transportation are examined. In the fourth section “Sustainabilty”, research is carried out on the ecological cycles of existing examples. Finally, in the "Ergonomics" section, the relationship between body and space is scrutinized by re-questioning the established Neufert architectural standards.
Design Book
This book is a design guide of a micro-living unit called Volu-te designed by AAP students. It describes the design process with detailed explanations from the project context to the design principles. The interior of the design and its relationship with the city is expressed with technical drawings, diagrams and renderings. In the different urban contexts, alternative materials were experimented. Also, modular growth has been studied due to the advantage of form and construction methods. In the cycles section; besides the energy and comfort management diagrams, the scenarios of on-grid and off-grid uses were studied. Through the structure and construction technology sections, the whole process of design and construction is presented to the reader. In the last part, the project proposes various economic models, the most important of which is to be a part of the sharing economy.
Volu-te, which is a smart, compact, and sustainable micro-living unit, offers an option for temporary accommodation especially to young adults in the transition stage that seek accommodation in megacities. Inside Volu-te there are all the basic functions that a shelter should have, such as eating, working, hygiene and sleeping. The product aims at a low carbon footprint by providing optimum indoor conditions for the user with its vertical and prefabricated system. Volu-te can easily fit into a car park area with its 2.5-meter base diameter and 6-meter height. Due to the limited and valuable square meters in megacities, the floor area has been minimized in the design.

As a micro shelter, it includes spaces for daily basic functions such as eating, working, hygiene and sleeping.