Students in the Spotlight: Ecem Sungur

May 5, 2021 by School of Cities Staff

"Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy program

Ecem Sungur headshot

  • What are your research and engagement interests?

    My research often revolves around how architecture and design is shaped within different contexts. Within these contexts, architecture and design takes certain categorical forms, which is known as typologies. Typologies interest me because of their adaptability – they are essentially guidelines which can be applied to different contexts. With that, design takes a universal form, which can be applied to different cases. I believe this form of adaptability and universality in design will be essential in the future to create solutions to current architectural problems. 

  • What has motivated your interests and journey? How do you hope to make a difference?

    I’ve always been interested in looking at the world in micro and macro levels. I believe that by focusing on different aspects of something, we can fully grasp its meaning. Therefore, I’m motivated by the different aspects and perspectives research provides me. Reading and thinking about different opinions and evidence has always widened my perspective. To me, making a difference doesn’t have to be in large groups because change needs to happen within that single person. Thus, I hope to make a difference by bringing awareness to current issues and make the reader question their own actions. 

  • What’s the latest project you have been working on that you would like to share with the SofC audiences?

    I recently received another research award - the Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship. My research is titled “Underground Architecture Typology as Crisis Management: An Analysis Through Derinkuyu Underground City”. Through my research, I will seek to answer two questions: (1) As a precedent underground architecture, what geological and architectural elements helped Derinkuyu achieve its aim of protection from crises? (2) Reflecting upon Derinkuyu, how can we create an underground architecture typology that can protect us from future crises? 

  • As a student, researcher and or activist, what have you learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and its global impact? How do you envision post-pandemic recovery? What do you hope for?

    The main lesson I’ve learned from the pandemic is that for times of crises, we should always be prepared to take the least damage.  My research project, Futureproof, looks into the effects of the pandemic in our daily lives. “FUTUREPROOF” will be a three-part webpage dedicated to understanding the ways architecture can adapt to a changing environment. Futureproofing is designing something so that it can still be used in the future, even when technology changes. I’ll incorporate (1) an analysis of changing architecture due to COVID-19, (2) synthesis of research to create a “COVID-19 building typology”, and (3) evaluation of the building typology in terms of adaptability, according to predetermined criteria. I envision the pandemic recovery to be gradual rather than immediately solved with the vaccine. Thus, I believe we will have to go through a transition period where I hope everyone will be cautious of the restrictions and requirements to maintain public health. 

  • Please share with us your experiences at the SofC. How do you think being a member of the SofC Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Program has contributed to your scholarship and added to your experience as a student?

    The School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy has been one of the most welcoming groups I’ve been involved in. Talking about our ideas and progress during meetings has helped me to simplify my ideas and have a clear direction to move towards. Moreover, because most of my peers are from different fields and backgrounds, I got to expand my knowledge in different academic fields. 

  • Any final word or message?

    I’ll be sharing my progress and research on my website throughout the summer (currently in progress) – so excited to discuss and share my findings! 

Student Bio:

Ecem Sungur is an ambitious architecture student and Lester B. Pearson scholar who analyses current issues in urban cities and aims to provide a futuristic lens on the current understanding of architecture. Believing that architecture exists within its context, she aspires to analyse and work on emerging technologies that have the possibility of shaping the future of architecture, specifically adaptive architecture. Internalizing the current issues of cities including crisis management and housing problem, she works on multiple volunteer, mentorship, and leadership projects, involving students. With her future architectural projects, Ecem aims to make a positive impact on society.