2018 Droga Architect in Residence


The 2018 Droga residency was 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 focussed 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.



Sketch: Alexis Şanal  SALT Research_Ferit Sehenk
SALT Research. Image: Ferit Sehenk Doluca Winery_Refik Anadol
Doluca Winery. Image: Refik Anadol Bomontiada_Ibrahim Ozbunar
Bomontiada. Image: Ibrahim Ozbunar Sisane Park_CHROMA
Sisane Park. Image: CHROMA 

Lectures in Australia

If you would like to hear more about Alexis’ research, please follow the links below to hear audio of her lectures.

  • Alexis Sanal and Dr Sam Spurr (Senior Lecturer University of NSW Art & Design) – “Self Organised City Design”.
    This conversation was hosted by the Art Gallery of NSW within the Gallery’s ‘After Hours’ program on 21 March, 2018:
  • “Open Markets Open Play”
    Audio of Alex Sanal Lecture – Art Gallery of South Australia, 28th April, 2018:
    Listen to Audio




Open Markets Open Play – Lecture Series by Alexis Sanal

In this series of talks, Alexis will discuss her research around open one-day markets and how their timeless acts of self-organized urbanism across civilizations and geographies are as pertinent to contemporary architecture, place-making and iconic identity as other public institutions. SANALarc is a practice which focuses on investigating ways city-makers can self-organize to re-imagine the potential for transforming underutilized spaces into places for living culture. Alexis will elaborate on ‘open markets’ as a concept that can underpin an alternative repositioning of regulations as enablers, to rehearse multi-functioning living, working, trading, playing, and sharing into particular time-based architectural designs.

Tour dates below, no bookings required.


Tasmania Lecture

Fri 13 Apr
Venue: Rory Spence VOX Construction Lecture Theatre,
UTAS Architecture & Design, Inveresk Campus
Time: 1-2pm  


Canberra Lecture

Wed 18 Apr
Venue:  University of Canberra – Room 7b18 (Building 7, Level B)

Time: 2.30-3.30pm


Melbourne Lecture

Tue 24 Apr
Venue: The University of Melbourne – Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

Time: 7-8pm

Adelaide Lecture

Sat 28 Apr
Venue: Radford Auditorium, North Terrace, Adelaide (access via Sculpture Courtyard, Art Gallery of South Australia)

Time: 11am-12.15pm, drinks and Q&A session following



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