Ege, alumni of the Bachelor in Architecture, is from Ankara, Turkey, where he completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme before coming to IE. He is passionate about the arts and an experienced scout with an immense love for nature. As someone who wanted to challenge himself and loves to explore, Ege came to Spain to study architecture. He graduated from IE with the Best Final Project Award, which is awarded to only one student per graduating class and is now doing his professional practices at Gras Reynes Arquitectos in Palma de Mallorca.
Q&A WITH EGE ÖZ
I was born into a family of architects. I remember both of my parents working late at night with plans laid out on the table, trying to solve a design problem. As a response to join the table, 5-year-old me drew our house in plan, showing it off proudly. When I look at it now, I realize that my bedroom wasn’t as big as our living room but the general layout was there. Considering my passion for art and exposure to architecture my whole life and upbringing, my career choice came out pretty naturally.
After the “what” program to study was answered, the “where” became the defining moment. I was in love with Spain after visiting it for the first time for an art excursion and hoped I could come again, this time for a longer period.
I learned about IE from my high school counselor and the BAR program IE offers seemed very interesting. It provides a great combination of theoretical and practical knowledge leading to a great start for a professional career. Additionally, the Segovia Campus is just gorgeous. I applied within a few days and a few months later, I found myself in Segovia and ready for a new adventure.
IE hosted lots of great memories for me but the one that comes to my mind first, perhaps because I miss it very much, is the Music Wednesdays. I have been playing the drums on and off for some time. Since it is not an instrument that you can easily carry with you, it is not easy to get the opportunity to play. The Music Wednesdays were the perfect occasion to play, where me and like-minded students, professors, and alumni could just jam and have fun. Jam sessions might be the most euphoric thing on a Wednesday afternoon.
For architecture and design, it was a good balance of more theory-based “academy” and “real life situations” oriented for the workforce. I am grateful for the creative freedom the faculty allowed us, which resulted in high quality work produced. In addition to that, IE’s business core was also implemented in some classes. Overall, it’s a good balance between reality and what a university degree should provide with more speculative, creative design. When you are equipped with the creative tools along with the knowledge of how to navigate through a work scenario you get ahead of many people.
I am a very fresh member of the alumni community, having graduated last July. However, I can tell with both physical and online events, IE is still a part of my life. It is a large community that is spread all around the globe. I believe that the best part of such a global community is that wherever you go, there is someone and you never feel alone on your professional path.
New beginnings can be scary as much as they are exciting. Unlike the IE students who have lived in different places, I was born in Turkey and lived my whole life in Ankara, so when it was time to move abroad for university, it was a big change for me even though I was trying to play it cool. My advice for incoming students would be to keep an open mind and heart in place of many differences. The change can be scary in the beginning, but it also promises so many opportunities, new friendships and experiences. I can promise that it’s going to be worthwhile.
Currently, I am doing my post-degree practices as an architecture intern at Gras Reynes Arquitectos. It is a Mallorca-based architecture studio with a growing international presence. I am currently working on multiple projects that are in different phases. The most recent being a competition we have won over the past week in which we renovate a historic house in the Tramontana region of the island. I help the team on multiple fronts such as design iterations, drawings, and model-making along with client presentations.
I found the posting for this position on IE’s career platform and when I pulled the thread, I found myself here in Palma. I am thankful for IE’s careers department for assisting me along the way. IE provides new graduates with lots of opportunities and support. These can vary from short courses on how to start your professional career to well-established platforms with many job offers.
I am in the very beginning of my professional career, and I still have a long way to go, even though I believe it is safe to say that for any architect, the rush and joy of winning a competition is probably the most euphoric feeling.
In the last year of our degree, me and two of my peers tried our chances in multiple ideas competitions to see where they would take us. In the span of 3-4 months, we did 4 of them and received 1 honorable mention along with 2 finalist results. I believe it really boosted our motivation for what was to come and created a bond between us that only happens with the right amount of caffeine and passion to create.
Like many other fields, specialization tends to be the key in architecture. You can be an architect specialized in sustainability, renovation, etc. Same can be said for the “tools” we use nowadays to design. You can also specialize in one of these softwares, but I believe these are all secondary.
You can discover in what field you want to specialize as you are doing things or learning and master a program as you are working in an office. The most important thing to have as an architect is an observant and a deductive mind, and you need to feed that mind with a lot of supplementary food such as economy, politics, technological developments etc. Hence you can have that creative pool filled and use the tools of programs and specialization to channel it to make a meaningful difference.
Find yourself non-architecture friends. You will be surrounded by other architects for a big portion of your life and after a while it becomes a chamber of reflections. To keep yourself fresh, you will need people from other disciplines. It’s imperative to look at architecture as an interdisciplinary study. You will need the business student who sits next to you at lunch to learn about his insights of the development sector or the data science student from basketball practice to get a better idea about smart cities.
The call to adventure and the new experiences it holds. I really like new beginnings and the thrill that comes with them. It makes every day a new one and a reason to get out of bed. However, this means of motivation can also become my de-motivation when I create unavoidable routines. I am in the process of optimizing it to find a balance. Hopefully in the upcoming years I will.
Air, coffee, morning cigarette… There are lots of things but if I had to pick one, it would be the occasional reboot. After X amount of time spent in my “routine” life, I do need a decent getaway to cool down my systems. You can think of this as a vacation but in the form of a month-long backpacking trip or spending a few weeks in the desert with hippies at a burn event. Most of the time, I come back with more questions than I went with but somehow it works just fine.
I did go through a rough period of my life in my thesis year at IE, which resulted in me dropping the PFG and taking a semester off. I took this time to reconnect with myself and try to understand the reasons for my burnout. I walked the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) in this period to reflect on my thoughts. The year after, I was back at IE to finish things from where I left. Nonetheless, I had this doubt eating me from inside that I would fail myself again. The moment I stopped doubting myself, took the first step and trusted in the process, I started to feel better. It was a familiar feeling from the Camino. I knew the Way (Way of Saint James) would lead me somewhere and it did. At the end of the year, I was awarded with the best project for the thesis.
I would probably be the dreamer. My projects were mostly utopias or dystopias depending on the perspective.