Interview with Alper Derinbogaz

Interview with Alper Derinbogaz

Archi-Ninja, 2015

Alper Derinboğaz is an architect who lives and practices architecture in Istanbul. Derinboğaz founded Salon in 2009, he also currently runs the architectural design studio at the Istanbul Technical University as an adjunct lecturer. I first came across his early works a few years back including Gate, Panorama, and Augmented Structures. In 2011 he received the Arkitera Young Architect Award. Derinboğaz operates in both large and small scales to uncover and question the essential elements of a given site or theme. His work explores the themes of experiences influx by the use of novel technologies. Below is an interview with Alper Derinboğaz:

1- Which of your projects has been the most rewarding and why?
AD: Augmented Structures, City Museum of Istanbul, and Istanbul Antenna Tower are among the projects that I think were and still are rewarding. Each building had a different scale and context but the common theme is that they are public buildings. It is an honor for an architect to inspire and design for the public.

2- How do you think the design will change in the next 50 years?
AD: I believe that the boundaries between our professions are about to melt. This does not necessarily mean the end of these fields of work but it does indicate the need for common knowledge to create and produce. Architecture seemingly had distinguished itself from engineering in the past decades, however, today this is not the situation. There is also an alarming situation that I observe in the future of design that will most likely cause a paradigm shift in design and architecture. Emerging applications and design customization software is inviting the user to DIY design. The main goal of this is to make everybody his or her own designer. Although it is still underdeveloped, I assume this is just the beginning and computation is going to progress in the near future. The term sustainability is also being consumed excessively, however, it does not mean that it is sustainable most of the time. Practically we do not have another opportunity to be really sustainable. Architecture and design will need to think of this problem more and more.

3- What changes would you like to see in the design profession?
AD: We will face a rapid change in the coming years which I believe is necessary. Those fields and tools that cannot adapt will be pushed out of the game. When I say this it sounds cruel, but it is indeed a sort of natural selection we visit frequently. What I would like to see in the design profession is a more adaptive and flexible know-how as we remain deeply motivated and ambitious of design tradition.

4- Do you think that design tends to be trendy today?
AD: Yes it is but this is not what I hope for. Being trendy means being ephemeral, moreover most of the time it lacks value. The design is about creating value nothing else; I hate the non-committed, faceless flexibility and open-endedness of the present architecture. I also hate show-off buildings. It should not be about creating forms or shapes. It is about creating meaning and it needs to connect to the people, the location, and the idea; it needs to live even it is a frozen body.

5- What would students learn from reviewing the body of projects you have completed?
AD: Our designs are site and question specific. We try to keep our work as diverse as possible. I can comment on them to look for new tectonics, and ask questions about the fundamentals of architecture; to understand what they are and to question them.

6- What aspect of Architecture do you find most important?
AD: The fact is that architecture does not exist without a client. The clients are important in principle. But I think it is more important to know why you are designing. So please spend the time to understand what is fundamental for you. And once you find it, stick with it. I can say the quality of the research and how we prepare for the design phase is the most important aspect of what we do. It is the time you gather the ingredients and feed your brain. When the inputs are fulfilling, the intuitive process begins. And this is what guides us until the end. Intuition is important, but it does not comes itself and never works alone. From a practical point of view, the most important aspect of the workflow depends on the project. Sometimes the site and landscape, sometimes the idea or technology we integrate and sometimes the climate.

7- What inspired you to become involved in design?
AD: I used to paint when I was young and being a painter was the only direction I could think of my future. Then I saw the power of space and its infinite possibilities, and that brought me to where I am today. I am inspired mostly by the fields that are not about design or architecture. Storytelling is what attracts me most of the time. Either cinema or literature. I believe every project and its process is a story that has a beginning and an end, that cannot exist unless several characters are involved, but it always has a protagonist. Besides the overall approach, I find many things that I pursue, in nature. In a way it is like an enigma and the system embedded in it is hard for us to decipher. An infinite organization that constantly impairs itself where everything is essential and irreplaceable. I like to think about these cycles and facts when I create without noticing the scale.

8- What is your favorite time of the day?
AD: My favorite time of the day is when the phone stops calling, that is when I can be productive.

9- What would be your ultimate design project?
AD: I am fine with the limitations. They make life a nicer place to live; either you obey or fight.

10- What are you doing at the moment?
AD: Heading to Beirut for Arch Maraton Award; an architecture award organized by the Mediterranean countries. I’d like to thank Alper Derinbogaz for participating in the interview, it was a pleasure. If you’re interested in getting in touch or finding out more about Salon, visit their website.

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