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Creating Gender-Neutral Spaces by Architectural Elements

Selen Ilhan
Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture, Turkey
Mehmet Kaplan
Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture, Turkey

Description Architects and designers are inevitably affected by the political and sociological environment in which they are grown up. Therefore, incorporating architecture and sociological concerns together should have crucial meaning for the designers since many governments are not taking any action about the issues regarding minorities and disadvantaged groups of people. Neutral Spot is a Warm-up Project designed by two sophomore architecture students in Middle East Technical University for the second year Architectural Design Studio course. The project had three weeks of due time, and the requirement was to design an İnfo Booth in an Urban setting. Info Booth aimed to create a safe zone by informing the citizens about Human Right by leaning on the sensitive issues still argued in the 21st-century modern world, such as immigrants’ problems, creating a safe environment for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. Material, forms, and the conceptual approach go hand in hand in the project. Designers were trying to figure out ways to create a gender-neutral space; thus, they have used the Gender Unit system, developed by Hannah Rozenberg, as a thesis study. The program gives a unit for each word in male and female format, so it was essential to keep the value closer to zero during the design process. Lastly, to enhance the importance of the proposal, it is crucial to mention the condition of the Turkish governments’ manner; during the design process, an important agreement called the Istanbul Convention that protects Women and LGBTQIA+ rights were cancelled. Thus, it carries importance, and it is a must to raise a voice against unfair treatments and create awareness by the architectural interpretation of space.

Gender-Neutral design, design concept, human rights, space design

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