Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Judges unveil Taiwan Prize-winning students

REFUGEE INFLUX:The entrants were asked to design transitional shelters and intercultural social service centers in Reyhanli, a town near the Turkey-Syria border

Staff writer, with CNA, IZMIR, Turkey

An international architectural design competition partially funded by the government has awarded professional architects and students for their proposals for the design of shelters and intercultural service centers in Turkey for Syrian war refugees.

A panel of judges in Izmir, Turkey, on Friday last week announced the winners of the student and professional categories of the second edition of the “Building 4Humanity Design Competition — 2019 Taiwan Prize,” in which the entrants were asked to design transitional shelters and intercultural social service centers in Reyhanli, a town near the Turkey-Syria border.

Elif Arpa of Turkey’s Bogazici University claimed the US$3,000 top prize in the student category.

The runners-up were Ariel Gajardo Barahona, Pablo Cantillana, Osvaldo Garrido Parada, Alejandro Olives and Danilo Reyes of Chile’s Universidad de Valparaiso who received US$2,000, while third place and US$1,000 went to Cagan Koksal, Baris Acik, Burak Arifoglu, Begum Yoldas and Akin Erturk of Turkey’s Kadir Has University.

The jury also handed out three honorable mentions in the student category.

Four honorable mentions were handed out in the professional category, but no first, second or third-placed winners were announced as the judges felt that none of the entries showed humanitarian awareness of the living conditions of Syrian refugees in Reyhanli.

All four honorable mentions received US$2,500.

Since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011, nearly 6 million people have fled to nearby nations and further abroad.

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

As a result of the influx of refugees, the town’s population has nearly doubled, leading to a rise in poverty and unemployment, water and electricity shortages, as well as a lack of infrastructure and other urban issues.

Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, a leading member of the evaluation committee, expressed his 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 the public conversation,” Pallasmaa said.

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

The competition, which was supported by many Taiwanese non-governmental organizations, was partially funded by the nation’s representative office in Turkey and Turkey’s Ortadogu Vakfi, or Middle East Foundation.

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