Study abroad : istanbul

Ozayr Saloojee : May 2010

illustrative mapping

In May of 2010, a group of students traveled to Istanbul to learn about Turkish and Islamic Architecture, ancient and modern history, and to absorb Turkish culture through sketching and drawing. Our final drawing project was to collectively draw an illustrative map of a corridor that ran from the ancient and historical center of Sultan Ahmed to Taksim Square, the modern cultural and social core of Istanbul.

We formed into teams of two and were assigned a portion of the corridor to draw and record. Each team needed to communicate with adjacent teams about continuity at adjoining edge conditions. Drawing upon our discoveries made after spending a great deal of time exploring the character and history of our neighborhood, our portions of the map were personal. Using more technical techniques such as plan and section combined with renderings and collage, the drawings allow us to communicate the rich history that is present beyond initial impressions.

portions of illustration by Hannah Quaid


Part of our time in Istanbul was spent filling sketchbooks with drawings recording our impressions of the places we visited. Drawing allowed us to dive deeper into the architecture and culture of Istanbul. Some of the drawings explored the underlying architectural principles of places we visited and others we about exploring the culture we saw around us. Drawing demands attention and investigation, and fosters an intimate understanding of a place. 


Contested terrain

Ozayr Saloojee : Fall 2010

romkocsma of Budapest

The background for this project began with my experience in Budapest. The studio premise was to investigate an area of social conflict, and the ruin pubs (or romkocsma as they are called by locals) came to mind. They provide a beneficial social forum yet are in danger of disappearing due to development. The formula for a romkocsma is typically a derelict building with an inconspicuous entrance. The interior is filled with cheap drinks and a wide variety of people. It is the very notion that those who know to come here are welcome and the romkocsma functions as a social equalizer. Knowledge of exclusive information is the common ground between hipsters and businessmen.

These ruins pubs take advantage of the abandoned war torn buildings in the old Jewish neighborhood that are now becoming trendy locations for upscale shops and bars. Acquiring property from the government typically means exchanging money with corrupt officials and mob leaders. As a result, the students and lower class community who run the pubs are easily pushed out.

an opportune place

The struggle of this project was determining the appropriate level of architectural agency. Institutionalizing, highlighting or formalizing the ruin pub would defeat the appeal, so the project looked instead on to how to design a communication network to generate something of similar value for the Twin Cities area.

Finding and decoding information for a ruin pub becomes easier once you know what to look for. Creating a modern way-finding system to help those curious enough to follow the path and communicate about the ruin pub became the focus of design for this project. Developing a narrative was central for how three people, who otherwise may never cross paths, might come together at a local romkocsma.

navigating the narrative

In Budapest, this information about where and when is disseminated through word of mouth, text message, and social media. For the Twin Cities concept, information is transmitted through a series of QR codes, graphic codes embedded in graffiti tags, USB jump drives hidden in libraries, and using analog book codes to convey directions and clues about a social gathering. These various modes of communication appeal to differing participants, however they all involve initiative of some kind to decode and further investigate hidden meaning and connections. One piece of the puzzle is not enough to inform the uninitiated as to the final intention. 

romkocsma of St. Paul

All of the information given in the project points to a gathering in St. Paul. It is in a location that is out of the way but easily accessible. In the parking structure underneath the Union Depot, hardly anyone would suspect a social gathering for the evening. The element of risk and exclusivity bonds the participants with common ground, acting as a social equalizer. The design was not to define the program but how to allow people to find such an illusive program without broadcasting it in the typical channels. In doing so those who experience the ruin pub begin to decode their city in a new way.

St. Paul Union Depot photo credit: Ian Talty


parallel walls

Sharon Roe : Fall 2008

gravity and light

In this model exercise, I choose not fix the walls to the floor with glue. Each wall had to balance it’s own weight to represent free standing defiance of gravity. Touching the floor slightly and rising to allow seems of light to pass underneath help support the impression that the walls belie their mass.

a metaphorical representation of balance for a moment in time

I chose to render the sections with graphite on cold press paper to better show the various qualities of texture, light and shadow created by the model walls which had now become tenuously irregular.



THere Student Journal of Design : Fall 2009-2010

student run : Journal of Design

This is a collection of THere covers from when I was involved with the journal over the course of three years. During my second year I become the editor-in-chief and I worked closely with contributors to shape the content and direction of the journal. The following year I took on the role as a mentor and advisor for the journals next and editor-in-chief.

When I was the editor-in-chief for the journal in 2010, THere won the Douglas Haskell Award for Student Edited Journal. The national award, presented by the Center for Architecture Foundation, is intended to support the ongoing publication of student run journals relating to architectural design, history and theory. It was an honor for the journal to be recognized at a national level and would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our student editorial team.

interview on the topic of craft

This is an excerpt from one of the articles in the “craft” issue, where I conducted an interview between three University of Minnesota Architecture professors to discuss the topic of craft. It was a fantastic experience to be able to sit in and help guide the discussion about what role craft plays in the design process. It was also an honor to be a part of a publication that represents the design theory and values of the College of Design to the greater design community. Through this interview we were able to showcase the diverse range of opinions within our faculty regarding a much debated topic relevant to the changes within the profession.


GRAduate work

University of Minnesota : 2008 - 2010