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Girne / Kyrenia: Communicating Across Cultures | Fall 2016

International Conference and Chapter Meeting

Girne / Kyrenia: Communicating Across Cultures | Past, Present & Future

29 Sep – 02 Oct 2016

The Sights

Girne/Kyrenia, located on the northern coast of the Island of Cyprus, is a city that has always been governed by the sea;  the natural harbor made it highly desirable as a merchant and military center long before its first recorded history in 4th century BC. The many traders and ancient cultures who passed through the harbor all left their traces on the built environment: the monumental architecture of Kyrenia Castle, St. Hilarion Castle, Bellapais Abby, as well as vast local archeological sites with many relics housed in the museums of Girne, are but a few of the treasures found throughout the region. Diverse cultures – including ancient Egyptians, the Hittite, Persians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans, and more recently the British – have historically made Cyprus their home. A complex heritage of integrated patterns of human knowledge, belief and behavior that has spanned time from these varied civilizations form the rich culture of today’s modern Turkish and Greek Cypriot people. 

Over four full days of site visits, lectures and tours, this AIA Europe architecture and urbanism conference explored the Cypriot culture through the lens of rural / urban transformation, while an architectural student / member collaboration – through a student design competition – provided and in-depth look at an emblematic site in the old town of Girne/Kyrenia. Four international student teams, led by professional and academic mentors, were invited to develop adaptive reuse projects for the municipality's Old Bazaar ‘Bandabuliya.’  The projects were judged on the last day of the conference by AIA Europe, invited experts and attendees from the public.  Students, AIA members, local architects and university professors took turns as teachers during the event giving the attendees a unique possibility to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of Cyprus.  And to communicate across cultures and generations!

The Speakers



The Student Design Competition

For the conceptual design and ideas competition for the adaptive reuse of the Old Bazaar ‘Bandabuliya’ in old town Girne/Kyrenia, the four student teams had the opportunity to present their finished projects to The Honorable Nidai Gungordu, Mayor of Girne/Kyrenia. The Mayor was greatly impressed by all the student’s work and stated that he is committed to using the ideas of the projects to revitalize his city!  

The Student Design Competition was organized under the leadership of Asst. Prof. Dr. Balkiz Yapicioglu, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Arts, Girne American University, with additional support from AIA Europe Sponsors Laufen Bathrooms and Graphisoft.

1st Place – “B-Box”

This innovative 1st place team provided a solution to encourage locals and tourists of all ages to the Old Bazaar – ‘Bandabuliya.’ Adding a beacon of light, developing a brand for the municipality through events program, continuing street paving into the building, and locating a “kabob” restaurant to one corner of the building were the highlights of the scheme. The strength of the project was that the design approach considered how old bazaar should be part of the nightlife in Girne. 

Shared 2nd Place – “Re-Inventing the City Heart” 

The strength of the project was to enlarge the ground floor windows, so that they become doorways, and thus encourage people to flow into the bazaar.  There was good emphasis on making the bazaar barrier free and linking it to the point of interests in the vicinity. This is the only team that did not suggest changing the present traffic, but allowing the city to re-organize itself in affordable phases to achieve a sustainable solution.

Shared 2nd Place – “Let’s Meet at the Bazaar” 

This project bravely proposed that the 2 corner buildings which block the Bazaar from the High Street be razed to create a new public space directly on the High Street and in front of the Old Bazaar.  Then using shading devices as markers, they created a path to the harbour and the municipal building to link these meeting points and unifying the area.  

Honourable Mention – “Walk the City”

Great analysis of parking problems and site access.  Suggestion of closing main street east of bazaar is worth investigating.  Painting the interior white brightens the space and moving the interior stair forward captures additional second floor space.  


Please direct questions about the conference to:

Conference headed by: 

Ali YapiciogluAIA
In. Site: Studios
P.O. Box 565
981003 Kyrenia
Office: +90 (533) 869 7686
Fax: +90 (392) 815 1276
Email: Website:

Bari Wetmore SalatheAIA