Melike Altınışık and Gül Ertekin were listed as finalist with their proposal for the İstanbul Gülsuyu Cemevi and Cultural Center Competition which was opened in May 2015 by Maltepe Municipality of Istanbul for a religious and cultural complex for Alevis. “Cemevi” is the name of the religious building of Alevis and there isn’t enough research on the history of it. The competition was opened to challenge local architects to come up with a design which serves the contemporary needs of this society while carrying traces of their culture.

There is a tension between the past and the present, the rural and the urban when it comes to design a Cemevi and Cultural Complex. The historical and rural samples of Cemevi are more small scale and hidden spaces. Due to the massive immigration of Alevis to big cities in the last 30 years and their new needs (cultural and social facilities), the scale of “City Cemevi” has become bigger and unfortunately they lack the feeling of a religious building.

Instead of a formal sustainability of the past, the cultural sustainability became the core of the design. Alevi culture and their values are taken as main principles for the architecture of Cemevi; such as humanism, modesty, socializing, strong connection with nature and the surroundings

The proposal offers a new way of designing Cemevi and Cultural Complex with its human scale, expanded, yet united look. It is consisted of repeating modules to express the unity of the complex, while differentiating the religious hall from other units with material changes. Pedestrian experience and socialising are important inputs for the project. Roof landscape, terraces oriented to the islands view, courtyards, and visible visual and physical connections between the functions create lively public spaces inside the complex for people to interact.

Project Info

Project Name: Istanbul Gülsuyu Cemevi and Cultural Center
Client: Maltepe Municipality
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Type: Competition
Status: Finalist
Year: 2015
Size: 12.000 m²

Credit List

Architects: Melike Altınışık + Gül Ertekin
Project Team: Demet Cekic, Anıl Gülmez, Ali Ucar
Landscape Consultant: Nursen Gümüşsoy
Structure Consultant : Melih Altınışık
Visualization: TAG (

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