Taiwan-funded competition awards shelter idea to Syrian refugees

11/24/2019 08:39 PM
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The top prize winning proposal in the student category.
The top prize winning proposal in the student category.

Izmir, Turkey, Nov. 23 (CNA) An international architectural design competition partially funded by the Taiwan government has awarded professional architects and students for their proposals for shelters and intercultural service centers for Syrian war refugees in Turkey.

At a press event held in the Turkish city of Izmir Friday, a panel of judges announced the winners in both the student and professional categories of the second edition of the "Building 4Humanity Design Competition-2019 Taiwan Prize," in which they were asked to design transitional shelters and intercultural social service centers in Reyhanli, a city near the Turkey-Syria border.

The jury picked Elif Arpa of Boğaziçi University in Turkey as the winner in the student category.

The runner-up and third-place finishing teams in the student category comprised Ariel Gajardo Barahona, Pablo Cantillana, Osvaldo Garrido Parada, Alejandro Olives and Danilo Reyes of the Universidad de Valparaiso in Chile, and Çağan Köksal, Barış Açık, Burak Arifoğlu, Begüm Yoldaş and Akın Ertürk from Turkey's Kadir Has University.

The jury also gave three honorable mentions in the student category.

The top three finishers will be awarded US$3,000, US$2,000 and US$1,000, respectively.

There were four honorable mentions but no first-, second-, or third-place winners in the professional category, as the judges felt that none of the professional design entries showed humanitarian awareness of the living conditions of Syrian refugees in Heyhanli.

All four honorable mentions received US$2,500.

According to the competition brief, since the outbreak of Syria's civil war in 2011, nearly 6 million people have fled to nearby countries and further abroad.

Turkey alone has absorbed more than 3.5 million, with Reyhanli one of the main entry points for Syrians seeking asylum.

As a result, the city's population has nearly doubled, leading to a rise in poverty, unemployment, water and electricity shortages and lack of infrastructure, among other urban issues.

Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, a leading member of the competition's evaluation committee, expressed gratitude for Taiwan's support of the annual awards.

"Large nations do not seem to have much sensitivity to these issues. I think it is important for smaller nations, like Taiwan or Finland, and many others, to bring this question into public conversation," he told CNA.

Other members of the committee included Chiu Chen-yu (裘振宇), a Taiwanese professor in Turkey, Nuno Martins of Portugal and Wang Chun-hsiung (王俊雄) of Taiwan.

The competition is partially funded by Taiwan's representative office in Turkey and Turkey's Ortadoğu Vakfı or Middle East Foundation, and is supported by many Taiwanese NGOs.

(By Joseph Ho and Joseph Yeh)


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