Urgent Issue (Turkey-Syria Earthquake) - Request for Immediate Attention

Dear all,

First of all, I apologize for jumping into the conversation like that.

I am writing to bring to your attention the recent earthquake disaster that happened at the Turkey-Syria border and it requires immediate response considering certain spatial conditions on the disaster sites.

I am a member of an NGO in Turkey, operating in the field of architecture, Herkes İçin Mimarlık (Architecture for All) (www.herkesicinmimarlik.org) we are deeply concerned and want to respond immediately.

There are certain calls for urgent funds and we were thinking if it is possible to build a Wikihouse prototype for a small-scale common space (such as a shared kitchen, toilet or child rehabilitation centre, etc.) we wanted to connect with you if it is possible to share some guidance with us about certain matters (like earthquake resistance, a sample project or connect us with an expert about the construction process, etc.)

I would appreciate any response and help to this matter, as the situation is time-sensitive and requires urgent action.

Thank you all in advance for your time and attention.

Sarper Takkeci
Project Coordinator - Herkes İçin Mimarlik (Architecture For All)

Hi Saper,
SK 001 COVER REV 26_01_2022.pdf (127.8 KB)
SK 101 FIRST FLOOR PLAN REV 30_01_2022.pdf (70.5 KB)
We did some very tentative work after the Tonga volcanic/Tsunami event last year to ‘build back better’ the boutique resorts, which are a main stay of Tonga Island economies. I know this is very different circumstance here but the attached plan layout (not elevated) could be adapted (with out spa pools) to provide emergency one room Wikihousing around common areas until more permanent housing can be built. Let’s know if we can help from this distance i.e Australia)? Graham Osborne, Architect www.wikhouseau.com

Hi Again Sarper,
SK 101 FIRST FLOOR PLAN REV 15_02_2023.pdf (79.7 KB)
SK 003 SITE SURVEY REV 13_02_2022.pdf (111.7 KB)
I forgot to include the site plan which shows the raised walkways connecting it all together. The raised walkways had all the services under slung (not in the ground where they can get damaged) but if you use Flotec vacuum sewerage and HDPE sewerage water gas and conduits pipes and flexible fittings throughout the recovery time would be very quick after a seismic event. G

Hey @sarpertakkeci we are replying to your other email about the prototype directly, but might paste the answer here as well in case that is helpful to others!

@Mel I just saw your messages on the other email. ( I was on the field, I wasn’t able to check emails)

We will look and examine these files and get back to you asap tomorrow.

Thanks for your share.

@sarpertakkeci I’m pasting our reply to your questions here as well, in case this is helpful to others also looking to potentially use WikiHouse in Turkey. We have also been contacted by a Turkish structural engineer looking into this.

Q1: The earthquake site has lots of issues accessing labour and advanced building materials. We are thinking of producing the CNC cut files in Istanbul (or a nearby city which has the capacity) and transporting them to the site, working with non-expert volunteers to build them. To be able to achieve this we are looking for a minimum of onsite issues. To overcome this, we think that it would be good to go for an already applied project/design as a prototype for demonstration purposes that can sustain minimal living conditions for a single-family or a small-scaled shared space like a common kitchen. What would you suggest on that matter?

This sounds like a good model. If it would be helpful, our team can work with you to quickly develop a single-family unit or community space using the latest Skylark system. We do have some template designs that might be a potential starting point but maybe it’s best we can have a call together to discuss specific requirements.

Q1a: Do we need an expert on site (for the structure assembly process) and what might be the optimal team size to build a single unit?
We can help with producing an assembly manual for the unit, which should mean you don’t need an expert on site. With the manual providing some instruction, I would say 4-5 people x 1 week is a reasonable estimate for a project less than 50m2.

Q2: What might be the fastest-to-build and cost-efficient foundation type you might suggest (thinking of the site conditions)? Would you suggest helix screw piles for a fast solution (it will be expensive) or can we use the rubble on-site for the foundation? Or any other suggestions for a cheap and fast way for the foundation under the current conditions?
One possibility is a temporary solution with tendons/cables, or gabion blocks filled with rubble to help with preventing uplift. Essentially we would just need some heavy footings which we could fix parallel timber rails to, to support the WikiHouse chassis.

Q3: Due to cost and time issues, we won’t be able to cover the structure with any type of cladding and internal finishing for the prototype. Would it be possible to apply marine yacht varnish (or any other fast/cheap way) to protect the structure for a certain period of time until we and/or the users are able to cover it with cladding material?
Varnish is unlikely to cover small pocket holes/dog-bones in the outer panels from machining. A better solution may be a plastic or foil wrap, and/or a rainscreen material of something like corrugated steel or timber boards - whatever material can be salvaged locally from damaged buildings. Perhaps we can explore potential options with you during a chat together.


Dear Mel,

I have been on the earthquake site and couldn’t look at my emails/messages. I have contacted Okan (the structural engineer) and we look forward to having a video meeting about what we can do together after meeting with Clayton.

People from the community here also reached out via Herkes İçin Mimarlık. I will be able to check everything tomorrow.

Thanks a lot.