Hello! This is Melis, a second year student from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. I want to share my experience of fun during my experimental and instructional summer internship with MUUM Architects in Istanbul. To begin with, MUUM is an architectural practice governed by the ethos of “Architecture for human-centric environments”. I am using the word ethos carefully here, as I have experienced first-hand how this approach has been deeply manifested in the MUUM’s design thinking process, group dynamics, workspaces and standing point in the architectural world. The practice, working with various scales, has and is still standing out with its user-oriented designs that boldly embrace the value of addressing regional and global questions.
MUUM’s workspace in Istanbul is a creative hub in which prolific ideas are shaped by the strength of experience and wisdom acquired by years of practice. The office has energetic meeting rooms, motivating workspaces and a welcoming social room, so it was a very pleasurable experience for me just to observe how the space acted as a catalyst for the productive flow of ideas and information networks that dynamically renew production processes. As architecture students, when we think about working in an office most of us imagine a boring and tiring working environment where everyone is miserably tied to their small desks. This internship has opened my eyes regarding how joyful and productive an architectural office can be if the right conditions are provided and team work is regarded as the backbone of creative production, such as I encountered in MUUM.
I was working on the presentation part of MUUM’s CER ISTANBUL T3 project, which was to be presented at the Cityscape Awards in Dubai. Alongside the beautiful design, the project embraced the cultural heritage and communal importance of the site in the context of the past, present and possible future urban frameworks. For the presentation of the project, it was crucial to highlight the complex mesh of design processes which encapsulated a human- centric design approach, its historical relevance and the present condition of the site on an urban scale. I have learned from my internship in MUUM that presentation of the work is as important as the final result, since both constructive and epideictic communication are the essential assets of successful architects and architectures. Putting human interaction and orientation at the core of their design thinking process, MUUM critically orchestrates the communicative skills, not only of the design itself but also the project as a whole entity. After observing and participating in the meticulous preparation of this project’s presentation, I felt I couldn’t have wished for a better internship experience! Then I learned that CER Istanbul T3 had WON the CITYSCAPE 2019! This made me realise that MUUM’s success as an architectural practice does not come from the titles and awards it has won throughout years, but rather from the creative process which is being successfully conducted through experience and keeping human centrism at the core at all times. As a result of this powerful hybrid, and of course their passion for architecture, the awards come organically… I am grateful for MUUM team’s genuine help and the time I spent in their office. My perspective towards architectural design thinking, dynamic processes of creative production and presentation has changed tremendously, as well as gaining a variety of skills during my time there.