Middle East Technical University – ArchLabs: FabLab

  • area / size 11,840 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • Location Ankara, Turkey,
  • Motto Architecture completed the transformation of an existing space at Middle East Technical University to become the ArchLabs: FabLab, in Ankara, Turkey

    As a pioneering example of modernist architecture in Turkey, the Faculty of Architecture building holds an important place both in the tradition of the Middle East Technical University and in the architectural history of the country. The building is designed by Altuğ and Behruz Çinici with their competition winning project in 1961. The design stands out with its courageous attitude to merge work space with social life in order to foster innovation.

    The basement workshop space, originally designed to house the furniture production functions for the campus, eventually lost its duty as the in-house production strategies were discontinued by the university, leaving heavy unused equipment and workshops behind. The space had then become zone with a “restricted” feeling, used on certain occasions for limited educational activities (such as summer practices).

    The stripping down of the workshop resulted in an unanticipatedly large and unified space that held an enormous potential for collaborated work and social encounters. Motivated by this potential, the design features a central multi-purpose activity hall surrounded by subspaces for production (that are grouped to control air quality and acoustic comfort). In this sense, the design aimed to eliminate a space division that had been based on the hierarchy between users – operators to students – in favor of an inclusive space formation that is developed in consideration of the production process and requirements of the equipment.

    The spaces within the FabLab are arranged under four main function groups:
    (1) Workshops producing dust (metal, timber, ceramics, CNC, etc.)
    (2) Interactive workshops (rapid prototyping, 3d printing, earthquake simulation, photography, gathering & discussion)
    (3) MakerLab
    (4) Offices.

    The function groups are separated by demountable storage systems, which make it possible for the space to be changed further by students to suit their needs. The design also features mobile stepped seating units that can be organized in different combinations to suit various activities. Overall, the project aims to boost innovation by enabling new forms of learning environments by steaming participation and collaboration up within and beyond the faculty.

    ArchitectMotto Architecture
    Design Team: Onur Özkoç, Heves Beşeli, İrem Senem Büyükkoçak, Hakan Şanlı, Öykü Varlı, Burak Dönmez
    Contractor: Beydoğan Grup Mühendislik İnşaat İç ve Dış Tic. Ltd. Şti.
    Photography: Duygu Tüntaş