Esra Akcan: Open Architecture and the Noncitizen: Urban Renewal of Kreuzberg-Berlin (IBA ’1984/87)

Esra Akcan

Esra Akcan during her presentation in the Kaufman Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall. William Staffeld / AAP

International Studies in Planning Fall 2014 Lecture Series

Esra Akcan's scholarly work on a geopolitically conscious global history of architecture inspires her teaching. Her research on modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism foregrounds the intertwined histories of Europe and West Asia. Her book Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (Duke, 2012) offers a new way to understand the global movement of architecture that extends the notion of translation beyond language to visual fields. It advocates a commitment to a new culture of translatability from below and in multiple directions for truly cosmopolitan ethics and global justice. Her book Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion/University of Chicago Press, 2012, coauthor Sibel Bozdoğan) is part of a series that aims at an inclusive survey of modern world architecture, and is the first volume in any language to cover the entire 20th century in Turkey.

Akcan is currently working on her next book on the urban renewal of Berlin's immigrant neighborhood, through which she explores a theory of open architecture. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, and has authored more than a hundred articles in scholarly books and professional journals in multiple languages. She has also participated in exhibitions as an artist by carrying her practice beyond writing to visual media. Akcan is currently an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. She was educated as an architect in Turkey and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.