Interview to Mehtap Altug

Born on the 5th of October in 1989, in Turkey and she is living in Izmir. From childhood, she has always wanted to be an architect to creating living atmospheres at different scales. Her enthusiasm about architectural research encouraged her to study two master programmes. Firstly, she obtained a Master Degree in M.SC. in Advanced Architectural Design Program at the Izmir University of Economics, after her Bachelor Degree. And now, she is about to finish her Master in Biodigital Architecture at UIC Barcelona to explore the collaborative work of architects, nature, and computer.

Tell us:
City that works: Copenhagen
Nice landscape: Cappadocia, Turkey
Book: Spaces of Hope, David Harvey
Movie: Interstellar
Exposition: Venice Architecture Biennale
Song: Spanish Sahara, by Foals
Artist: Anish Kapoor
Architect: Antoni Gaudi
Dish: “rakı balık” (fish and special Turkish alcohol with Greek appetisers)
Sport: running
Professor: Gudjon Thor Erlendsson
Subject/course: Generative Architecture
Material: shape memory alloy

About Barcelona:
Eixample: systematic
La Diagonal: border
Sagrada Familia: heterogeneity
Las Ramblas: trees
Glorias: artificial
L’Illa: lego
Forum 2004: cantilever
22@: technology

Interview to Mehtap Altug

Why did you choose to study biodigital architecture? What did you appreciate most in the biodigital architectural study? What skills that you got during your studies were most useful in your professional or personal life?
I decided to study biodigital architecture to explore more innovative methodologies and researchers about architectural design. And I wanted to broaden my thinking about architecture in different contexts. The thing I appreciated most in this study is its academic network. There are many lecturers come from all over the world to teach and discuss this new field of architecture. I think the skills that I gained during the master will help me to look from different perspectives both in my personal and professional life.

Which features would you highlight of the Master Degree in Biodigital Architecture of UIC Barcelona School of Architecture? What does it bring to its students comparing to others schools?
The contributory support from all academic staff to the research-based studio projects and the facilities about project development such as laboratories and fabrication tools. The improvement of architectural skills are based on a professional system in this master program, the communication between students and lecturers is more like a colleague relationship which makes the students more courageous and responsible.

Which advice would you give to students of the Master Degree in Biodigital Architecture starting their studies? And when they are about to finish?
I can suggest that it is an intense and short program, so it needs a strong focus and hard work. Everything that you hear and see from the lecturers is very important, so I would like to suggest to take notes as much as they can.
I would recommend that they should be more organised to write a thesis when they are near to finish.

Does writing your thesis help your studies? What was your topic? Who was your thesis director?
My thesis helped me to support my studies. The topic was “Learning from Nature to Digital Design Practices” which helped me to explore the linkage between nature and computation for digital design. The director of my thesis was Alberto T. Estévez who is also the director of the master programme.

What would you do next, after your thesis defence?
I will go back to my country to find a proper job for me and, while working, I am planning to search for PhD programmes relatively to my thesis subject. I want to continue my architect career both in practice and in academics.

Do you think you will have job search problems? What advice could you give to new grads?
I think I should not have this problem because I have good references from my work experiences and academic background. I believe that I will be the chooser not chosen for a job. I would like to advise new grads to apply for jobs as soon as possible after finishing their master.

What would you like to do as an architect?
I would like to expand the understanding of non-standard architecture with practices and researchers. In that way, I want to use the potential of nature.

In the current situation of the crisis in the sector, how do you think the profession should be positioned? What kind of solution could be proposed?
I think the variety of sector has to be increased; this can be possible in architecture by recalling the uniqueness in design and rejecting the universal images of architecture.

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