Cultural projects leave their mark on prestigious awards
Gülistan Alagöz – ISTANBUL
This year’s Sign of the City Awards (SotCA) on Nov. 28, the real estate industry’s most prestigious competition, was bigger than ever, with new projects in the areas of “conservation and maintenance of cultural heritage” and “transportation and infrastructure” entering the competition for the first time.
Awarding Turkey’s best projects for the fourth year, the competition handed out awards to a total of 38 winners, including five projects in the area of “conservation and maintenance of cultural heritage.” The winners of this category, 3S Kale Holding, as well as municipalities of the western province of Edirne, the southeastern province of Gaziantep, the southern province of Mersin and Altındağ in Ankara, received their awards from Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki.
Organized to carry the construction and real estate industry to international norms, the Sign of the City Awards 2017 were held at Hilton Istanbul Bomonti, led by daily Hürriyet. A total of 68 institutions had submitted 156 applications for the event.
Many prominent figures from the industry attended the awards ceremony—hosted by Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, a board member at Hürriyet newspaper. At the event, Minister Özhaseki held a speech during which he emphasized the importance of establishing “green cities with a distinct identity.”
“Cities are living organisms. Just like humans, they are born, grow up and develop. They have good and bad days. They also want care. If they are nurtured in an appropriate way and on time, they would also have appropriate futures,” he said.
“The future of cities are directly proportional to the executive’s horizons. The harmony between local executives, governors, NGOs, or whoever is [influential] in that city is very important in terms of taking the city to the right future. The future of cities are bright if targets are set and those targets are followed with harmony,” the minister said.
"Our target is to renew 7.5 million buildings [as part of urban transformation projects]. Some 150,000 of these are in Istanbul and the rest are in Anatolia. Urban transformation is an opportunity for us to return to the green cities that possess a distinct identity we all miss,” he added.
The panel of professionals and academics gathered under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Güzin Konuk, Mimar Sinan University, Faculty of Architecture, Manager of Urban Design Research Center and Prof. Dr. Suha Özkan, Founding President of the World Architecture Community.
Prof. Dr. Güzin Konuk referred to the importance of SotCA in bringing progress to the real estate sector in her speech.
“SotCA reconciles the sector and brings it together. It gets bigger every year by adding positive value. In this year’s competition, the attractiveness, high quality and excessive number of projects from outside Istanbul were exciting. We have all seen the competition’s contribution to the real estate industry as much as to architectural, environmental and living quality through its innovative ideas,” Konuk said.
Sabancı also took the stage at the ceremony. “When we started to organize the Sign of the City Awards four years ago, we had promised we would traditionalize this awards ceremony. We are happy we have kept this promise and have met you all once again,” she said.
Sabancı pointed to two issues that have been neglected in new construction projects in cities. “We have become estranged to nature, even destroyed it. Our second loss is that we have become estranged to ourselves in big housing complexes. We have become hungry for neighborly relations and communication,” she said.