What is Oikodomos?

OIKODOMOS is a research project financed by the Lifelong Learning programme 2007-2009 and 2010-2011 carried out by higher education institutions and research centers from Belgium, France, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The goal of the project is to create a virtual campus to promote the study of dwelling at a European scale. This virtual campus is going to develop new methods to study housing in a multidisciplinary way, interweaving different courses and seminars, digital repositories and on-line learning environments, cases analysis and project workshops taking place at the participating institutions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some practial information

ISTANBUL, ITU, MAY 2-6 2011.

Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, 
TASKISLA BUILDING- which is the home of ITU’s Faculty of Architecture.
Taskısla was constructed all in structural masonry, 1848-1853 as a military medicine academy for the Ottoman Army. The building sustained some damage in the earthquake of 1894, restored by architect Raimondo D’Aronco. In 1944, the building was handed over to the ITU and restored by architects Paul Bonatz and Emin Onat. Teaching was started in 1950, with the Civil Engineering and Architecture Faculties. In 1983, it was classified as a first degree historical monument. In 1996 the World Habitat Congress was organized partly in the Taskisla building. Ever since, it has been a natural part of the congress valley of Istanbul.

Address: İTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Taşkışla Taksim 34437 İstanbul
Phone: 0212 2452753 (Dean' s Office) - Fax : 0212 2514895
see as well: http://www.tubiba.com/itu-taskisla-kampusu



Istanbul is very easy to reach by many daily convenient direct flight connections from the main European cities and by direct flights from throughout the world. The modern International Terminal is spacious and efficient with all the expected services including an Airport Hotel. An underground passage (15-minutes walk) connects the International Terminal with the older Domestic Terminal and also the Istanbul Metro.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport at Yesilköy is located twenty-five kilometers to the Taksim Square. A taxi from the airport to the Taksim Square may cost between 17€ to 20€. You pay extra 50% if you travel between 24:00 (midnight) and 06:00. The trip takes between 35 and 75 minutes depending on stream of traffic. Shuttle busses called "HAVAS" travel between Istanbul Atatürk Airport and Taksim Square every thirty minutes.

 The second airport, Sabiha Gökçen Airport at Kurtköy is located 40-45 minutes drive to the Taksim Square. Havas busses travel between Sabiha Gökcen Airport and Taksim Square every 60 minutes.

For more information about transportation visit:

Time Zone 
Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2) in Turkey. 


The current in Turkey is AC, 220 volts at 50 cycles. 


Pay phones are available at the Conference Venue as well as in the city. Phone cards are widely available in shops. The international dialling code for Turkey is 90 and the code for European Side of Istanbul city is 212, for Anatolian Side is 216. National calls: 0 + city code + telephone number, International calls:00 + country code + city code +telephone number.

Laptops and Internet

Internet is now widespread in Turkey and there are tens of different Internet Service Providers. Access is available via the basic switched telephone network, the digital ISDN network, the high speed ADSL protocol and various satellite and television systems. The Conference Venue provides wireless internet connection in common areas at no cost.

Banks and Currency

Istanbul banks are open Monday to Friday from 9:00- 12:30 and 13:30-17:30. Some banks that are located in touristic and business areas are open daily. The Turkish currency is Turkish Lira. There are banknotes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Turkish Lira denominations in general circulation. There are also 1 Lira coins. Turk Lira consists of 100 Kurus. There are 5, 10, 25, and 50 Kurus coins. Sterling, Euros and Dollars can be easily changed into Turkish Lira at all banks, post offices (PTT) and exchange offices. There is no problem bringing any amount of money in any form of currency to Turkey. The majority of the banks have ATMs and there can be found freestanding ones at strategic points. They operate in the same way as those throughout the USA and Europe. There is an option on most to choose the language and in some cases to choose Turkish Lira, US Dollars or Euros.

Credit Cards 

Most major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and stores but visitors are always advised to check with the vendor before a purchase is made. Cash machines with 24-hour access are available in many convenient locations.


The climate of Istanbul is mild. Good weather and sunshine is the predominant weather during July. Current weather conditions and weather forecasts can be seen the internet site of national meteorological office of Turkey and Istanbul in www.meteor.gov.tr.


In summer (June-September) it is recommended to wear cool cotton clothing, a hat and sun block lotion but have a light sweater for cool evenings.

Medical Service 

Lots of medical services are available around Taksim area where ITU is located, in case of emergency an ambulance service can be called by dialing 112 in everywhere.

For more information about Istanbul please visit:
ISTANBUL 2010 - European Capital of Culture / MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Housing and Proximity. Setup Workshop.

The planned international workshop in Istanbul is now fully in preparation! Besides discussing the main theme, we defined the outcomes, the integrated learning activities and their related calendar and, last but not least, the site! Students and teachers from the OIKODOMOS partner institutions are already working on a series of shared preparatory learning activities, investigating the meanings of the concept of “Proximity”. This preparatory work will serve as starting point for the activities to be done in the Joint Workshop in Istanbul.

Outcomes of the workshop

The expected outcomes of the workshop will be multiple:

- a critical reflection on housing and proximity in the contemporary European landscape
- a comparative study of previously studied local areas in different European cities (Brussels, North Cyprus, Barcelona, Bratislava...) The outcomes of this first part will be explained on the first day of the workshop, to introduce and compare different experiences and to define possible methodologies for the in situ project.
- an in situ project: a selected area within the metropolitan area of Istanbul (Turkey). This will be the main part of the workshop activity and includes visits, input sessions and presentations from local agents.

The work done in the Joint Workshop will later be continued at the participating institutions through the OIKODOMOS Virtual Campus platform:
As is the case in the previous local studies, the workshop will focus on formulating and comparing alternative design strategies that respond to the changing nature of the built environment.

Objective of the workshop

The main objective of this workshop will be to analyze or rethink the status and design of the contemporary housing in densification processes taking place in European suburban landscapes. Next to existing theories and practices of the compact city as a way to preserve the natural landscape, control and limit the urban sprawl, reduce energy consume and consolidate social cohesion, reality often shows a contrasting practice of low dense landscapes conditioning an efficient and sustainable functioning of urban systems. This dual reality of the built environment –compact cities vs. low density suburban areas- will be equally considered during the workshop. This workshop focuses on the relation between the housing typology and its suburban surrounding and stimulates critical reflection about recent phenomena in an international context.
The workshop will start from the idea that urban space depends on models of proximity. Proxemic models affect our reading and use of space and refer to an important cultural dimension of the built environment: systems of intimate, personal, social or public distances are based on our education and cultural references. However, proximity can refer as well to the built environment itself, which will be analyzed and discussed during the workshop.
A critical comparison and evaluation of the different concepts and related projects will take place during the presentations and working sessions.

Integration of the workshop with Learning Activities

Learning activities are a structural component of the Oikodomos pedagogic model. Each learning activity is composed of a sequence of tasks which are carried out by groups of students from the participating institutions. The objectives of the tasks can be to comment a housing concept, to map a site coherently, to define an urban strategy, design an architectural intervention or to evaluate previous outcomes to build on.

Related to the planned workshop, the Learning Activities created are:

Defining Proximity: In this Learning Activity, the questions is: what does proximity mean when reading or designing housing projects? What are the constituting parameters defining proximity? What is the theoretical and conceptual framework of proximity?

Designing Proximities: Urban Context
Different models of proximity can be used to read a site and propose some coherent interventions. Here, various strategies will be compared and discussed.

Designing Proximities: Social Context
Proximity is related to social dimensions, inherent to the built environment and its organization: from the domestic scale till the scale of the neighborhood, social concerns should be studied and discussed.

Designing Proximities: Architectural Strategies
Architectural interventions or transformations define in a very precise way how people, activities or buildings relate physically, visually and socially: this learning activity focuses on the architectural implications of proximity.

Discussing Proximities
A critical reflection of all previous Learning Activities will allow the use of the outcomes in later projects and will provide a coherent reading of the contemporary housing landscape.

The work to be done during the Joint Workshop is integrated in the sequence of tasks carried out within these Learning Activities, before, during and after the workshop. This way, the preparatory work done in the Virtual Campus will serve as starting point of the Workshop, and the results of it will feed the activities to be done afterwards.

Concepts applied to the site

During the workshop, we will use the following area to apply the concepts and knowledge previously acquired in the previous Learning Activities, carried out in the participating institutions.
The selected study area for the workshop activities is the Göksu Quarter in the Anatolian (Asian) side of the metropolis, at a further distance from the city and at the footprint of the second bridge (Fatih Bridge), which connect the two continents. The area is situated around a stream, Göksu, which flows to the Bosphorus and a recreative green park adjacent (this was a famous recreation area in Ottoman times). On the other side of this stream, there is a typical sea-side village with vernacular examples. There is castle called ‘Anadolu Hisarı’ that relates to the riverside and to the Bosphorus. This area was once a clearly suburban area; but now it has been absorbed by Metropolitan İstanbul. On the hilly sides, with the sea as a horizon of the district, new development can be observed, based on less qualitative architectural strategies. The area is problematic at this very moment but its potentials allow interesting interventions to upgrade its sustainable potential.

(photograph by Prof. Saglamer)