2018 Droga Architect in Residence



The 2018 Droga residency has been awarded to an emerging Istanbul-based practitioner, Alexis Şanal. Her passion is exploring living culture and built environments that blend contemporary urban realm with timeless physical and natural contexts to create imaginative and meaningful experiences. Her residency proposal focuses on market contexts as public places of exchange within an Australian context. Alexis is co-founder of SANALarc, a knowledge-centric studio, focused on civil and civic architecture, research and city-design.



The Open Market Open Block Workshop

Fri 16 Mar, 1-5pm (drinks following)

Want to re-imagine the possibilities for Sydney’s underutilized and residual open spaces into places for living culture, places for urban play, places for robust micro-ecologies, and as inclusive places for all? Join Alexis Şanal 2018 Droga Resident, in The Open Market Open Block Workshop.

Participants will explore new design tools and design action enabling cities to re-think how architects, artists, engineers, city designers, institutions and citizens co-construct space for public life.

You will learn ways to self-organize design narratives, invent alternative possibilities as public space, empower fellow actors of change, and listen to diversity towards articulating shared futures.

More information and bookings HERE

Sketch: Alexis Şanal



Self-organised city design – Alexis Şanal and Dr. Sam Spurr in conversation

Wed 21 Mar, 7.15pm

Art Gallery of NSW – Art After Hours Program

How can city design reinvent its attitudes and design to reflect future public use, needs and desires? Australian Institute of Architects Foundation Droga Architect in Resident Alexis Sanal and Sam Spurr, Lecturer at University of NSW Art and Design, will explore the potential of our cities to animate daily social life and manage local infrastructures and economies.

Join the discussion of ideas around the significance of public places of exchange, and their positive impact on communities, including entertainment areas, museums and galleries, social and civic spaces. Entry is free.


Alexis Şanal- Research Statement

‘Open one-day markets are ubiquitous across civilizations and geographies. Australia being both the most ancient and youngest civilization is an interesting platform to further our thesis that open markets are as pertinent to contemporary architecture and city-making in program, construct, community, even iconic identity as permanent civic and civil structures like museums, public libraries or entertainment centres. The design inquiry process will emphasize the important movements of spontaneous (DIY and Tactical Urbanism) design as an inspirational source for formal architecture as slow city making. To focus our survey of global markets, Australian cities will be a laboratory in terms of specific open market’s architecture as well as investigate the city’s open-market as a whole and their integration into the public realm system and circulation networks.’


Press References



ABC Radio, Blueprint for Living, Turkish bazaars and the fabric of city design


SLQ’s Asia Pacific Design Library in partnership with the UQ School of Architecture. 2017


Lecture Series

Alexis and Murat Şanal of ŞANALarc



Alexis Şanal – Biography

Alexis Şanal grew-up in Los Angeles, has a Barch’95 from Southern California Institute of Architecture and an Master of City Planning ’02 from MIT. She is a co-founder of SANALarc’s knowledge-centric studio focused on civil and civic architecture, research and city-design based in Istanbul. Her passion is exploring living culture and built environments that blend contemporary urban realm with timeless physical and natural contexts to create imaginative and meaningful experiences. Her recent efforts in this sense include creating HEY! Imaginable Guidelines Istanbul, “Pazar- Making”, revealing ‘pazars’ as a man-made generative approach to tactical urbanism and re-thinking public libraries as enablers of localized knowledge communities.

She is recipient of a 2014 Graham Foundation research grant, exhibited works at the MAXXI Rome, Istanbul Modern and Garanti Galeri. Her studio’s internationally award winning works like Sishane Park, SALT Research and “Pazar- Making” as well as creative campus designs like BU Rasathane Master Plan and Bomontiada each reflect how the design of an interconnected public realm can shift possibilities and create a participative platform for advancing communities’ shared futures. 



For further information regarding the residency program, please contact:

Mandy O’Bryan
Philanthropy Manager

Australian Institute of Architects Foundation
“Tusculum”, 3 Manning Street Potts Point NSW 2011
Tel: 0414 857 812