Natural Environment | Built Environment

Nature – Livings and non-livings in environment

Nature is something that exists from the beginning of the earth. It was growing by itself, and renewing itself without help of anything else. Later, animals and human beings settled on the earth, and they became a part of it. By this settlement, while the nature happened to be the earth itself; it, the nature, also became an environment for the animals and human beings.

At first environment was just our surroundings, but while it was enough for animals to be a “home”, human being did not confine himself to live so. Actually, both animals and humans created their own environment with shaping the nature for themselves. However while animals were shaping it without harming it and using the potential of what the nature gives them, human beings could not make the same. So that, animals became a part of natural environment while human beings were constantly keep separating themselves from it and instead of being a part of it, human being put itself at the center.

Understanding the environment

Environment is what is surrounding us basically, with all the livings and non-livings. Environment is not only a spatial thing, but also it concerns what is in that space. When we look ourselves, our legs, our arms, when we feel our skin, we can also think that it is our environment. What we can see, touch, hear, taste or smell, in one word whatever we sense is a part of our environment. For that reason, it is not possible to define where the “I” ends and where the “environment” start (Erzen, 2006). Point is that, what our environment does have and what we would not want environment to have. Cars, buildings, traffic, lambs, sidewalks… They are the parts of our surroundings.

Perhaps we are not being aware in a daily rush of our lives, but when we step out of the buildings, there are also livings that we share the earth; there are birds singing on branches of the trees with the sound of leaves that occurs with the wind. However as mentioned, while environment, at first, made from total nature, purity of livings, now because of human wants to shape it, we have many other things in our environment. So that we are losing the awareness of environment.

Maybe it is because a human being is a cultural creatures, not natural as animals. As humans, we started to live as a part of culture not a nature.  We create our own culture, meanings, values, perspectives and so on. This is maybe the main thing that demonstrate the differences between human beings and animals. Because of that, as human beings we did not think a lot about environment as we would never need it.


With technology, this division between nature/environment and human started to be easily visible, because of the excessive interventions of human. It should be thought on even before having one step in nature, but human did not care anything. Now, human is yearning for nature.

When we became that much careless, how we could be that blind, why we still do not do a lot before it is too late.

Human luxuries and selfishness did cause the all of this. We built buildings, big buildings. We created cars, fast cars… We did everything we thought we need. Maybe they were needs for us, but by putting ourselves at the center of everything, we could not see what we are losing. What else we need to have if we even started to lose the relaxing smell of the soil when it rain.

“Green Building”

Buildings are one of the most harmful human made creatures on the earth, for trees, for animals and for human beings, because of the excessive waste and carbon monoxide they cause, not only before and during construction, but also during its life span.

 To stop or lessen this harm, there is a trendy topic called “green building”. The green building was aiming to create and built a building that is friendly for nature and its environment. The mission is basically lessen the harm that buildings cause the nature and help it to be alive while not giving up from the “luxuries” or “needs” that people have. Green buildings would use the rain for garden, the used sink water would be used in toilets, and there would be natural daylight usage more to decrease energy waste for lighting and heat. Again technology helped people to create some new techniques to lessen that energy consume. What is surprising is that they take examples from the nature. So, they are going back to nature with inspiring from it.

Furthermore, this kind of “green building” policy is being under control of some kind of certifications. Even though the aim of certification at first was compare and create a competition-like care and awareness for environment, later on it started to be an advertisement topic, instead of environmental concerns.  Architectural firms began to achieve building “green buildings” with completing the necessities of certifications. However they make it for economic concerns unfortunately.


As Joseph Jardins mentions in his book, we cannot talk about a good environmental ethics without understanding its philosophy, theories and its roles (2006). Unfortunately, what we do for nature and environment is sometimes not innocent as it sounds, even though it starts with pure ideas, because we are not internalizing the environment like animals do.

As Edward Elgar says environmental behaviors should be examined with their equality and justice. They should be focused on results and their effects to the future generations. Also these all philosophies have to deal with the moral of the non-human world within the sustainability ideas too. Sustainability should have more concerns than economic valuations, but should cover total environmental interactions and aspects.

Why we are doing it, what we are doing it, when we should do it and how we should do it are the basic question to ask ourselves before acting. Is not it the reason of our situation? Acting without thinking… And now human being is seeking for a solution to be a part of its natural environment, instead of separating himself from it.

We should always keep in our minds that we cannot be “we” without natural environment, we cannot replace it, we cannot imitate it, and neither live without it. Selfishness would never bring us anything, yet it will take from us.



Bateman, I., Turner, R.K., (2001) Environmental Ethics and Philosophy,

Edward Elgar Publishing, USA

Des Jardins, J.R., (2006) Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy,
            (p. 521), Wadsworth Publishing Company Press

Erzen, J., (2006). Çevre Estetiği. (p.5)

ODTÜ Press, Ankara



Final Jury

After the second jury, even though I did not make a lot changes in project, the upper floors shapped themself more related to the building.

The idea of capilarity led me a lot through out the whole process.

I kept the main design ideas and just developped some secondary ideas. Also with creating diagrams, the approach of the project became more clear for me. These diagrams show the site and site division references.

While creating capilarity in horizantal way, I was always considering to have it in vertical manner. For that, I used the dominant wind direction condition as a referance for me to create voids among the blocks vertically which will be helpful to keep the building cool in hot summer days.



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BIM and Architecture

Guest lecturer: BIM expert, Koray Pekericli

Guest lecturer first mentioned about himself and then talked about how architecture is being affected be technological changes in time.


Architects communicate with sketches, 2d drawings and with technology 3d models and physical models. Everything has evolved with time. Early drawings changed with Renaissance and then started to have perspective and orthographic projections and then CAD drawings started to be used in the field. Drawings, models are basic needs for an architect to communicate, see and convey the knowledge.


Then he mention about Empire State Building and its construction. It was one of the best examples that finished in such a short time at that time with that technology. All the drawings of Empire State Building are completed in 2 weeks. Even now, we are not achieving such speed in construction and planning process.


So in this case, he mentions about “where do we lose time even with technology?”. The main problem is that having to use different media for different fields. However with BIM, it is possible to defeat these problems. For example, architects are drawing the project and then sending it to static calculation. When static calculations come back to architects, they have to change the design according the calculations and then send it back so again and again this process being slowed down.


With BIM, this is being blocked, with BIM, all the fields are using the same platform and the minor or major changes can be visible immediately by everyone. He gave us some example with using REVIT. With BIM, controlling the situations of every aspects are easier and faster.


Then there is a question comes to minds; why BIM is not common while it has many opportunities. He answer this question like that, “there are many fields work with architects in a single construction, such as electric engineers, static engineers, landscape, energy waste calculations and so on. Unfortunately, for effective usage of BIM, all of the fields should use related programs.” So for example, if architects draw the project in REVIT but structural engineers use AutoCAD, there is no advantage of using Revit or Cad programs. Furthermore, most of firms do not want to change their habits and start using BIM related programs. Because of these reasons, the process always cause people to lose time.


Another question was if the BIM related programs make the architecture not an art anymore. Because basically these programs limits the person to create something different from what the programs had been encrypted. We do not know what is going to be in future, so only we can do is wait and see.


Environmental Aesthetics

We are not being aware of our surroundings in everyday rush. However there are many think that we see, touch, hear or in short that we sense.

In environmental aesthetic class, we were assigned to make observation in neighboorhood and try to analyse “what is happening in our environment”.

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Restoration Architect in Practice

Guest lecturer: Restorer Architect Fahrettin Emrah Kosgeroglu

Guest lecturer first mentioned about himself and then talked about cultural heritage and how they are categorized.

Cultural Heritages

Tangible Cultural Heritages

  • Movable cultural heritages: They are cultural heritages which can be transported easily. Such as paintings, sculptures, coins, books etc.
  • Non-movable cultural heritages: They are cultural heritages which cannot be transported. Such as archeological sites, monuments, historical sites etc.
  • Under-water cultural heritage: They are cultural heritages which are places under water. Such as underwater ruins, underwater cities etc.

Intangible Cultural Heritages

They are not tangible but they are spreadable such as verbal creations, traditions etc.

There are some rules running by government in order to protect and save the cultural heritages. For example, Kanun no: 2863 (released in 1983) is totally about protections of cultural and natural members.

Mainly rules are for saving and protecting the heritages, as well as maintenance of them. Institutions which are responsible for these heritages and their status varies:

  • T.C. Culture Ministry
  • Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü
  • Kültür varlıkları Bölge Koruma Kurulu
  • Museums
  • Röleve ve Anıtlar Müdürlüğü
  • Kültür Varlıkları Koruma Yüksek Kurulu


These institutions work together in relation most of the time. For example, while Kültür Varlıkları Koruma Yüksek Kurulu decides on criteria for maintenance of heritages or protection of them; Kültür Varlıkları Bölge Koruma Kurulu is responsible to check and control if those criteria is implemented correctly.

Basic process example is, the decision of protection of heritage is became given and then architectural survey projects are done and then if they get approve from institutions and finally, it passes to implementation.

Team Responsible for Process

  • Restoration Expert Architect
  • Architect
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Art Historian
  • Engineers ( Mechanical and Civil Engineers)
  • Restorations experts
  • Material protection expert (Arkeometrists)

After these information, he mentioned about Venice Charter in 1964, it says “The cause of protection of cultural heritage is not just because they are only a piece of art, but is also they are a historical evidence.”

Fire Consultant in Architectural Practice

Guest lecturer: Fire Consultor Tanju Ataylar from Karina Design and Consultancy

Guest lecturer first mentioned about himself and then talked about how important role architect has for providing fire and safety in buildings.

He mentioned firstly about general information of fire issues. There is two important factor that can cause a danger in a building. One is increasing of temperature during a possible fire and the second is smoke distribution which appears during a fire as well.

Before talking about how to keep building and people safe in a possible fire, architect is responsible to prevent the fire with considering inflammable and combustible factors. Both inflammable and combustible matters should be placed accordingly. Second step after preventing from fire is protection. There are active and passive systems than can help during protection process. While passive system does consist of building itself, active systems are some of protection system -working automatic, or not- like springers.

Under the light of these information, design process should be including some considerations about fire. There is a currently fire regulations which should have implied in the building. This can actually be called as a prescriptive design. He also mentioned about performance based design. It is creating your criterions about performance of the building during or before fire and presenting it, if suitable, getting an approbation.

He also mentioned about means of egress, which is basically the exit ways such as door assemblies, stairs, ramps, smoke proof enclosures, exit passageways, balconies so on. Its aim is moving the building users to a safe place. The exit features such as distance of travel, widths of exits, number of exits should be considered and designed according to needs of the building. For example, how many people will use the building at the same time, or what is the ratio of possible fire or where can it start more likely. Also, limitation on the travel paths are important to think about. Such as slope, obstructions, hand rails, lighting etc. From every location in a building, means of egress path of travel required to have features to make a person move to reach for the outside or safety zone.

As all the afore-mentioned things shows, architect is responsible about having a basic knowledge of means of egress and follow the regulations for the safety of building users.