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Main Page arrow News arrow Rönesans Youth Design the “Future”

Rönesans Youth Design the “Future”

06 April 2017
Winners are announced at the third “Design the Sustainable Future” contest, traditionalized by Rönesans Holding to instill a culture of “sustainability in the construction sector” in university students. Young creators of the future are recognized at the award ceremony held at TED Rönesans College on April 6.
Awards are presented at the third edition of the annual “Design the Sustainable Future” contest, held with participation of İpek Ilıcak Kayaalp, Chairperson of the Board at Rönesans Holding. Theme of this year’s contest, receiving over 3,000 student applications from 133 universities, was “Sustainable Recreation and Youth Center” in architecture, and “Sustainable Construction Management” in engineering.

Staged at the TED Rönesans College, the award ceremony featured world renowned architects sharing their experiences on the “trends and sustainability in the construction sector”. Michael Pawlyn, acknowledged as a pioneer of biomimicry, roughly defined as the nature-inspired design, and also a TED Talks speaker, delivered one of the widely-acclaimed speeches at the award ceremony. Also speaking at the ceremony were Emre Arolat, Nevzat Sayın and Han Tümertekin, known for their architectural novelties.


İpek Ilıcak Kayaalp, Chairperson of the Board at Rönesans Holding, shared insights on the project: “We believe that a sustainable future can only be built by young people. Our intention is to keep providing next generations with our know-how and experience on this subject.” Stressing that this project offers young people creativity and an opportunity to design their future, Kayaalp added: “We place particular importance on broadening the vision of brilliant and young aspiring engineers and architects coming from various parts of the Anatolia on occasion of the seminars and the contest, and on making each of them a successful member of our sector, hence an asset for our country. Our country and sector can sustain success only through these young people. We regard this contest as an investment in the country’s future”.


The Design the Sustainable Future Contest received applications by over 3,000 students from 133 universities. “This project is mainly characterized by its scope spanning Turkey in its entirety. We do not limit ourselves to metropolitan universities but reach out to all the universities in the Anatolian provinces, and above all, we ensure that Rönesans Holding is accessible to the young people there. At these seminars, we meet with young people, talk to them, lend an ear to their ideas and problems. As part of the project launched with an eye to conveying the understanding of sustainability to prospective architects and engineers in the most reliable way, to date, we managed to reach over 20,000 university students across Turkey, from Van to Amasya, Trabzon to Manisa. We are immensely pleased with this attention and students’ enthusiasm. We aim to reach 100,000 students in 5 years,” informed Kayaalp.


Staged at the TED Rönesans College, the award ceremony featured world renowned architects sharing their experiences on the “trends and sustainability in the construction sector”. Michael Pawlyn, acknowledged as a pioneer of biomimicry, roughly defined as the nature-inspired design, and also a TED Talks speaker, delivered one of the widely-acclaimed speeches at the award ceremony. Also speaking at the ceremony were Emre Arolat, Nevzat Sayın and Han Tümertekin, known for their architectural novelties.

Inspired by nature, designs the future

“I am delighted to be in Istanbul for this noteworthy project of Rönesans Holding,” addressed Michael Pawlyn to the young audience and elaborated on his sustainable projects that take inspiration from nature. Pawlyn explained to young architects and engineers how this perspective benefits architecture, bringing forward sustainability as a concept that is reshaping architecture.

Pointing out that nature has been under constant progress and learning for 3.8 billion years, Pawlyn said: “Nature is a unique source of sustainable solutions. There is nothing that keeps us, architects and designers, from using those solutions”, and added: “The key is to consider yourself among the leaders that design the future in a positive direction… Whichever the project or company we work for, we should keep this in mind in every decision and in every step of the way”

“I take my inspiration from the streets”

Han Tümertekin, another contributor of the ceremony, defined his duty as an architect as to offer people better and happier living environments. “We usually omit creating environments that give people a better life. My solution to this is to observe the daily life,” remarked Tümertekin. He claimed the streets to be the most exhaustive learning environment for a designer and advised the young audience: “Many components such as the use of materials, natural character, or functionality are used in the daily life. Open your eyes and look around. Streets teach a lot if you know how to look”

“Do not tear down, reconstruct”

Sharing an alternative definition of sustainability with the youths, Nevzat Sayın noted: “Sustainability does not necessarily involve tearing down and reconstructing. Sustainability occasionally means making a call on converting an old, idle industrial building into another structure, maintaining the structure based on those calls, and ensuring the use of it as an interesting venue”, and he continued his remarks: “Sustainability is not only about tearing down everything and building from scratch, it may very well come with conversion….”

“Sustainability is critical and difficult”

Final valuable guest of the ceremony was Emre Arolat. “Regardless of its location and type, filling a building with trees does not brand it sustainable. Seeing the opposite of this fact acknowledged by many worries me increasingly,” said Arolat and emphasized his view: “I think what we call sustainability goes far beyond placing trees on balconies.” Arolat reminded that sustainability is one of the most critical yet most challenging topics, and went on: “Architecture is a giant basket. One that contains location, wind, politics, public works, economy, culture, demands, and so forth. It is a difficult business but we must keep on learning…”

Award and internship

Like previous years, this year’s contest was held in two categories, namely architecture and engineering. Contestants’ designs and projects featuring ecofriendly systems that meet sustainability criteria were submitted to a jury of academics of different specialties at ITU, METU, Mimar Sinan, Yıldız Teknik, Boğaziçi, Gazi, İnönü and Gebze Teknik universities.

The judges rated the projects in terms of sustainability, recycling, energy efficiency, waste reduction, use of innovative materials, water efficiency, creation of sustainable living and educational environments. Students placed in the competition won prize money and the right to become an intern at Rönesans Holding.

In the architecture category, Melih Ceylan from Hasan Kalyoncu University claimed the first prize. The second place was taken by a team of Gazi University, manned by Ebru Şahin, Emre Taşçı, Furkan Sarı, Ali Behlül Oktut and Melih Ak. The third prize went to Talha Girgin and Hudayberdi Meretgeldiyev from Yıldız Teknik University. The honorable mention award in architecture was granted to the team of Ayten Avincal, Esra Doğan, Şükran Ergun and Zişan Kulaklı, representing Gazi University.

As for the category of engineering, Hüseyin İlcan, Merve Sönmez, Banu Başyiğit, Zafer Yılmaz and İbrahim Halil Çatak, a team from Abdullah Gül University, clinched the first prize. The team of Seçkin Gültekin, Denizhan Askan and Muammer Ögutcen from Celal Bayar University won the second place. And Mustafa Genç, student at Sakarya University, came third. The honorable mention award in engineering was presented to Gazi University’s team of Ali İhsan Yılmaz, Ahmet Baran Sökmener, Barış Altuntaş, Fatih Hüsrev Yıldız and Hasan Ali Kırkpınar.

The Rönesans Real Estate Special Award was presented to Cemal Temel and Hanse Yalçınkaya from Mardin Artuklu University.

The contest awarded ranking finalists in both categories, namely with prize money of TL 20,000; TL 16,000; and TL 14,000 for the first three places respectively. The honorable mention award was TL 10,000. In addition to the prize money, ranking students gained the opportunity to join the internship program at Rönesans Holding.

About Rönesans Group

Rönesans Holding, the conglomerate's top investment entity headquartered in Ankara, is the 38th largest international contracting company globally and the 9th largest in Europe. With operations spanning 30 countries across Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, including subsidiaries such as Ballast Nedam in the Netherlands and Heitkamp Industrial Solutions GmbH in Germany, Rönesans has been operating as the main contractor and investor successfully for 30 years in construction, energy, healthcare, real estate development and industrial investments. Putting resilience and growth through innovation at the core of the company, with a priority on sustainability and social development, Rönesans has developed projects supporting students with scholarships, academic platforms and initiatives; been a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2015; and a signatory of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles since 2016.

Under the leadership of its president, Erman Ilıcak, Rönesans, along with its partners GIC, Meridiam Infrastructure, Sojitz, Samsung C&T, TotalEnergies, and IFC of the World Bank Group (minority shareholder in the group), has invested more than EUR8 billion into pioneering projects globally.

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