"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."              
                                                                                                                                    Albert Einstein

The Aegean is both a ‘geographical’ and a ‘cultural’ reference. The region is a melting pot of civilizations, traditions and cultures, and a context rich in terms of diversity. The Aegean Sea, as the bonding agent of cultures that flourished on both the islands and in the neighboring mainlands provided communication and exchange of commercial, cultural and artistic productions in between cities and people on both sides. This historical and cultural continuity, and diversity gave way to the establishment of a unique culture whose components are both specific and common. The ‘water’ in this sense also acted as a medium of both ‘separation’ and ‘unification’.

At times, the Aegean confronted conflict and tension, and maintaining peace was challenged, often in political terms. Communities and people who shared the same land and culture before being split in between different countries for political reasons in such multifaceted contexts are among the most vulnerable against resisting tension and establishing cultural harmony, like Turkey and Greece. For decades now, the two countries that have a long historical presence in the Aegean and common cultural roots are exposed to pressures of political tension and unrest which restricted means and media to embrace mutually a shared memory, history and culture.

A uniting force and a potential medium to bring communities together to promote solidarity, unity, respect and fellowship is ‘culture’. Among other means, venues and facilities of cultural studies such as research parks and museums play a significant role in establishing a medium of learning, interaction, communication and understanding, a milieu for engaging into cultural commons, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial social and cultural relations and developing joint projects and study agendas.

The studio in this regard will focus on designing a Research Park and Museum of Aegean Culture and Peace in Çatalada at Bodrum. The site is a twin peaked island, across Turgutreis and is uninhabited. The cruises operate in between for touristic purposes, as it is a popular scuba diving place. The projects are expected to propose spaces of learning and research, to provide social and recreational facilities and offer scenarios to interpret ‘peace’ in a contextual and spatial way. The core program to be given is around 25.000 m2 and is open for personal contributions. Since the site is a natural asset, students are also expected to take into consideration issues of environmental awareness, energy efficiency and waste management as significant and vital design parameters; the island should be planned as a fully self-sufficient place in terms of energy and water use.