Block by Block – Architecture by children in Seferihisar, Turkey

On March 16th and 17th, 25 members of the Seferihisar Children’s Municipality in Izmir, aged 12 to 15, will take part in a workshop to help the municipality design a children’s summer camp by using the computer game Minecraft. The children will work together with architects and professionals from both Sweden and Turkey, and the idea is to start building the camp already before summer.

Block by Block is an innovative collaboration between the game developer Mojang, Microsoft and UN-Habitat, and began in 2012 with the radical idea of integrating the computer game Minecraft into public space planning to get community members more involved. By using Minecraft as a tool for visualization and collaboration, the idea is to engage neighborhood residents who don’t typically have a voice in public projects.

Seferihisar Municipality was the first municipality in Turkey to be accepted in the International Cittaslow network, and has become well known in Turkey and abroad for projects like creating a seed bank, developing cooperatives, empowering children and women and using innovative technology for improvements in farming and city governing.  The main collaborators of this workshop are Seferihisar Municipality, Izmir, UN-Habitat Block by Block Foundation, the Swedish Institute and Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği.

Equator Architects from Stockholm, DDRLP Architects, Emre Senan Design Foundation and members of Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği from Istanbul as well as practicing architects and academics from Izmir will be present during the two day program to enrich the discussions on children, public space, participation and architectural design.

Block by Block has catalyzed the revitalization of urban neighborhoods in more than 30 countries, and more than 1000 people, including children, women, elders, refugees and disabled community members, have participated in collaborative workshops worldwide. Photo: UN-Habitat

The design ideas created by the children will be discussed by these guests after the workshop. During the following months, the ideas will be translated into architectural projects by Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği and members of Cut-Paper by the supervision of the architect Evren Başbuğ and representatives of the Seferihisar Municipality.

The construction of the Children’s Summer Camp is expected to start before the summer of 2019.

The workshop in Seferihisar is made possible by the Swedish Institute and curated by H. Cenk Dereli (Architect PhD.) with the contribution of Herkes İçin Mimarlık Derneği (Architecture for All association), and Cut-Paper; design students’ club of Izmir University of Economics Faculty of Fine Arts and Design.

The project is a collaboration between the Swedish Institute, UN-Habitat, Block by Block and Seferihisar Çocuk Belediyesi, and is part of the Equal Spaces program – a long term creative exchange between partners in Sweden and Turkey.

Block by Block is an innovative collaboration between Mojang, Microsoft, and UN-Habitat. The Block by Block Foundation was set up in 2015 to fund and activate public space projects.

Equal Spaces