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New Exhibition Examines the Architecture of Immigrant Workers

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A new exhibition examines how Turkish migrants returning from Germany layered European elements, and experienes, into their homes

Humans are engaged in a constant feedback loop with our environment: we shape our architecture at the same time our architecture shapes us.

Migrating Spaces, a new exhibition at Istanbul’s SALT Galata, explores this Ouroboros-like architectural relationship via 132 homes built by Turkish workers who returned to the country after living in Germany. Not surprisingly, many of the houses incorporated traditionally European architectural elements, reflecting the complex layering of identity and experience of the Turkish workers in the built environment.

Created over three years by artist Stefanie Bürkle and a group students from the Institute for Architecture at TU Berlin, the exhibition categorizes each of the homes into one of three categories: A "model house" almost wholly inspired by German residential ideals; A "two-faced house" that had an equal amount of German and Turkish architecture; And a "multi-layer house" built with a larger range of styles and materials and is added to over time.