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Interview with Burak Pekoglu who is the founder of a Boutique Architectural Office which Puts Extraordinary Projects Into Practice

‘It is defined as a network that brings together such individuals under the umbrella of a trend-setting platform, where ideas seek to find a life-form expanding imagination and thus, the passibilities of what can be built. BINAA put extraordinary projects into practice included Argul Weave in Bursa, a furniture shop and design centre Interia and the facade and interior design spaces of Nobis in Istanbul, S2OSB official building and conference hall in Sakarya. Besides, one of the future plans is a design center, which brings close together talented designers and connect unexplored different potentials in Balat, Istanbul. Some of those projects had already gained rewards and achievements.’

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THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS:

Can you talk about your company (studio) and your vista and missions?

Mr. Pekoglu: BINNA is a boutique and design office and it was founded 4 years* ago. I stayed 10 years in USA with education, proffesion life and some international experiences. Then, I turned to Turkey. Meanwhile, I started up the company as you said the name, Building Innovation Arts Architecture combines different understandings. So, the mission of the company is trying to combine all ways to approach design and to prosecute design as a business model, which are a lot of enquiries, researches and intuitive approaches in terms of bringing arts, architecture and the built environment together. So, the aim is to combine all these processes under one group as a design research office in Turkey and international studio.

*Currently 5 years ago.’

What’s your role and responsibilities in your company?

Mr. Pekoglu: I’m founder and design director of the company. We are boutique office. As a small but also wide range of responsibilities when we are trying to direct design practice. In a region like Turkey, lots of organic ways happening when we compare to western ways of practice in Europe and USA. So, businees process is much different then here. Thus, my role is very organic. I mean, sometimes I try to adopt different conditions in terms of economic, politic, networking, design and also finding solutions and solving problems. So, I try to control all these different conditions and put it under process which is trying to make our imagination under the outcome from an idea to product.

You studied in USA and worked in different countries. So, why didn’t you stay and continue to do your profession in USA?

Mr. Pekoglu: These 10 years give me more confidence as a world citizen and global perspective. For me, it wasn’t a planned way. Actually, I returned by an unplanned way. While I was working ın USA I had a client in Turkey, meanwhile one of my professors from Harvard said “Burak why don’t you give lectures at architectural studios in Bilgi University when you are in Turkey” and I said “Okay, let me try.” So, that was the transition of my return. Then, started tos tay here and do my own practice.

You experienced too much as you said 10 years… So, what are the differences between the architectural offices in Turkey and in USA in terms of ideals and approaches?

Mr. Pekoglu: In United states, architectural practice is much more established. Whereas in Turkey I would say it’s organic. Legal structures and standarts are not same. And US companies are locally and international at the same time. In Turkey there are lots of companies which work more locally, just few percentage of them work internationally. So, US practice is more global and their perspectives are more structured and organised. In Turkey, it’s more unsettled and less proffesional.

To begin with, I would like to congratulate you. In the previous days, your project S2OSB building won the first prize award in “Architecture + Metal” category in USA. Before that you had different kind of achievements and prizes. How these achievements effect or motivate you and your workers?

Mr. Pekoglu: Thank you first of all. It was excited for us. Worth part is celebrating. We spent so much energy and we put passion into. So, it was a nice outcome and celebration to satisfied myslef and my team. For us, this was a kind of nice way to expose ourselves globally. Because this award was very international platform. There are too much processes and there is sometimes failuere, up and down. So, in a way I think these kind of achievements make the points in our career as a motivation for us to jump to a next step. Thus, this award helped us to realise our energy kind of trasform into different levels now. We are more motivated and want to produce better work for the region and clients as well.

Considering the other architectural offices in Turkey, your office is small and modest as well idealist. Do you think expand the campany in future? What’s your future plan?

Mr. Pekoglu: I think the word ‘small’ is nice. Because, when you grow there are more things to deal with. I believe in more quality rather than quantity. Because it’s more controlled and selective. It’s a better strategy to push for the future because, growing is not always numbers as team members or project numbers. Sometimes, you can do few projects but, they make very well and make more impact. So, as a fomous architect said “less is more”. In future, we would like to focus on more cultural, community and sustainable projects.

Do you feel satisfied with your work and architectural field in Turkey? What’s your dream workplace like?

Mr. Pekoglu: I think it is not enough to satisfy myself personally. The word ‘satisfaction’ can change. Because, to make others (clients and team) satisfied rather than yourself is more imprtant. I think this is success for me. Actually, when I ask to myself, mostly I say “ I’m not satisfied”. I’m always unsatisfied. I always look for the gaps, mistakes and I ask to myself “How can I improve to make it better?”.

Do you think education you had at the university had prepeared you for the business life?

Mr. Pekoglu: I think architectural design studies and schools doesn’t prepeare for the business life. This is the problem of architectural studies. Because, sometines in school we get lost too much in our fantasies, dreams and imagination. And then we forget about the reality. When we enter to business life, a lot of realities come to your face. You’re in shock. For me, learning business life happens after school by asking questions like “How I can make my imagination to reality?”. I believe good arcihtecture comes out when visionary client and visionary designer come together in combination.

In the previous years, you gave some lectures and you were tutor of several projects in some universities. As completed your education in USA, how do you find architecture education in Turkey?

Mr. Pekoglu: When I compare them, I think the good part in American architectural education is studio culture. The students have own desks and personal spaces through the semester like 5 or 6 months. It’s like a small office. Then, one of the main problems I found here; when I was teaching in Turkey, the students come to school as guest, they don’t have own place and opportunities. Sometimes, the have the opportunities but they don’t use them. They can’t focus more. Other main problem is here production methods. Students are very shy here in terms of getting heir hand massive products, going wood or metal shops and going out for site visit etc. I think US education is more disciplined in order to practice and learn.

Do you have any suggestions for new candidates of business life in architecture field?

Mr. Pekoglu: They should believe what that they are doing and be positive. They should always do practices. They shouldn’t scare to make mistakes. So, make mistakes, learn from them and do again. This is what I suggest to young designers. They shouldn’t be worried and rash. They need to be patient.

I learned really important and significant points from this interview for my architectural profession and future business life. Firstly, we should focus on what we want. Then, we should research, imagine and combine these processes. And, we should not hesitate doing mistakes. We should do practices more and more. Being patient and confident is really important to become successful.

ABOUT BURAK PEKOGLU:

“Burak Pekoğlu was born in 1984 in Eskişehir and studied architecture in USA and had worked in Denmark, Turkey and USA. He is an artist, designer and architect in Turkey. He founded BINAA I Building Innovation Arts Architecture in 2012. Pekoğlu received a Master of Architecture degree at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design (GSD). He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture at University of Buffalo, where he attended an exchange program at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark. He is graduate of Robert College in Istanbul. He had an apprenticeship with sculptor Irfan Korkmazlar, and collaborated with Ronald Lopez in art projects. At GSD. He worked as architectural designer at some international offices include Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’in (SOM) New York, Schimidt Hammer Lessen’in (SHML) Aarhus and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (PCPA) New Haven offices. Besides, he started his academician career in 2014. He was tutor of architectural projects in Bilgi University, Istanbul Technical University and Kadir Has University. In addition, he gave seminars in New York University, Yıldız Technical University and Koç University. At the present time, he continue a relationship with different architectural offices and collaborate with them for several projects.

ABOUT BINAA:

BINAA was founded in 2012 in Istanbul as design and research studio. It’s a collaborative platform where innovative and artistic ideas find form. BINAA works include range of products from architectural exploration design, and art forms. The main objective is to generate conversations along the themes of Building INnovation Arts Architecture, with an exceptional cross – disciplinary collaborative model, characterized by the strong interaction among research, design and execution. “- Resources: Binaa.co

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