Plug+Play School
Izmir + Torbali, Turkey
image: UMA/ Yasar Group 5 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Location:
Izmir + Torbali, Turkey
Category:
education
Phase:
design development
Updated:
6 August 2021
4 million Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey with limited access to essential services. On two sites in Izmir and Torbali, Tiafi Community Centre is providing urgent basic needs care & promoting integration for refugees and other vulnerable groups. Focusing on Tiafi’s education offering, Plug+Play School proposes a series of demountable modules that support trauma sensitive play, therapy & learning, enabling children & adults to thrive.
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Introduction
Tiafi Community Centre is an inclusive hub operating since 2017 from an old shoe factory in Tepecik, an underprivileged, multicultural neighbourhood on the outskirts of Izmir. Tiafi promotes self-sufficiency & empowerment, & facilitates integration via services accessed by more than 6,000 displaced & disenfranchised local residents per year.

One hour south east of Tiafi is a smaller & more transient Syrian base in Torbali, where the community primarily work as seasonal farmers. Tiafi supports a self initiated education program here for up to forty children. 

Whilst the two communities differ in their contexts, they share many challenges: exclusion from state education and healthcare; impacts of trauma hinder learning by traditional methods; space is limited & the quality is insufficient for physical and mental wellbeing; lack of childcare creates a barrier for parents.

Plug+Play School addresses these challenges & bridges the sites through a series of self-build modules for play, therapy and learning; providing a holistic, trauma sensitive education offering enhanced by digital connections. Additionally, the scheme incorporates the installation of vital sanitation infrastructure upgrades & accessibility ramps in both sites. Due to the precarious nature of building leases & landlord relations, installations must be demountable. The proposal builds on needs identified within the framework of the Wellbeing, Housing & Infrastructure in Turkey research project funded by GCRF.
Children playing at Tiafi architecture exhibition

image: Victor Sanz Jimenez | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Impact
Turkey is host to 4 million Syrian refugees. With scarce resources, tensions between communities are high. Syrians often struggle to access the services necessary to integrate. Plug+Play School contributes to integration efforts by providing trauma sensitive education for children & adults, enabling them to thrive. 

In Tiafi’s Izmir centre, new roof modules will provide spaces for play & sheltered outdoor learning, early years childcare so parents can attend classes, physical exercise with specialist care for those with disabilities, & an urban garden to cultivate herbs & plants used in traditional cooking & natural medicines. This will alleviate pressure in lower areas of the building so other programs can expand, including a digital suite that connects to Torbali. The interventions are expected to grow teaching capacity by a third, while the roof garden will become a beacon of hope for a quickly changing neighbourhood. The modules will be built with the community, creating opportunities to develop new valuable skills in construction & management. 

In Torbali, urgent sanitation upgrades are a priority to ensure the health and safety of residents & students in addition to an accessibility ramp. The single classroom will be refurbished, including installing a digital connection & demountable Plug+Play modules will be replicated to provide breakout spaces that support trauma sensitive learning for the transient child population. Out of school hours the spaces transform into a nurturing social environment for adults & elderly residents to gather.
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Core team
Anne O’Rorke is director & founder of Tiafi Community Centre, the project client who has coordinated a formally constituted project advisory group consisting of members from the Syrian, Turkish, Kurdish and Romani communities.

Tiafi is the local research partner for WHIT: ‘Wellbeing, Infrastructure and Housing in Turkey’, a GCRF funded research project. WHIT brings together partners including: Prof. Robert Mull who is co-investigator; The Institute of Development Studies, UK; Professor Hanif Kara, Harvard; AKT II; Yasar University, Izmir; Students of Yasar University and Umea University (UMA)

Tiafi’s teaching & therapeutic support members provide specialised and contextual knowledge of trauma sensitive education: 
  • Ibrahim Khadal, Syria: primary school teacher (Torbali site)
  • Halil El Hac Ibrahim, Syria: primary school teacher
  • Muhammed Alsairavan, Syria: physiotherapist and therapeutic support worker 
  • Hala Almasri, Syria: counselling services
  • Hiba Alheraky, Syria: counselling services
  • Derya Çetin, Turkey: primary school teacher
  • Hatice Getizmen, Turkey: Montessori pre-school teacher
Office of Displaced Designers provides project management & design oversight and will lead on the community based implementation strategy providing construction training & capacity building opportunities to collaborators:
  • Elizabeth Cunningham: on-site project management; lead designer; advisory group coordinator
  • Robert Mull: project direction with WHIT; fundraising; design advice
  • Mark Pearce: fundraising; construction advise
  • Shareen Elnaschie: design; community engagement and training; project admin
Turkey based Tiafi team

image: Victor Sanz Jimenez | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Image gallery
Dreamcatcher workshop with early years children

image: Robert Mull | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Streetview of existing Tiafi Community Centre

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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View from Tiafi rooftop

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi interior: squeezed for space programs are forced to overlap

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Breaking bread at Tiafi event

image: Victor Sanz Jimenez | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi architecture exhibition with students from Yasar University

image: Victor Sanz Jimenez | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Exterior view of Torbali building

image: Dolf Te Lintelo | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Exterior view of Torbali building

image: Dolf Te Lintelo | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi school class

image: Kelli Scott | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Izmir-Torbali location map

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 4 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi existing site plan

image: UMA/ Yasar Group C | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Service mapping in Izmir

image: UMA/ Yasar Group A | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi Community Centre street view re-imagined with roof garden and Plug Play modules

image: UMA/ Yasar Group C | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Tiafi existing sections

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Proposed modules concept on Tiafi roof

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Plug Play roof module concept

image: UMA/ Yasar Group D | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Plug Play roof module concept

image: UMA/ Yasar Group C | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Plug Play roof modules proposed layoutlayout

image: UMA/ Yasar Group c | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Growing ingredients for traditional dishes: a livelihoods framework proposal

image: UMA/ Yasar Group D | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Torbali context and site

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 5 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Mapping of Torbali Nomadic community

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 4 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Torbali site typologies

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 4 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Torbali building diagnostic

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 4 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Proposed concept of modules in Tiafi

image: Elizabeth Cunningham | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Collage of Proposed modules in construction

image: UMA/ Yasar Group 4 | CC-BY-NC-SA_black.png some rights reserved
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Help bring our project to life!

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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
Since last year we have worked with Tiafi Community Centre & it’s users to establish an understanding of their needs & priorities. Extensive visioning has been done in collaboration with architecture students from Yasar University & Umea University to define a clear design strategy. We have a committed team of local residents & international partners providing technical and participatory construction training expertise. In October we will finalise design details & begin construction, aiming to complete by Spring 2022. Funding is secured for digital installations, construction materials for Plug+Play modules & contributions toward volunteer expenses and compensation. 10% contingency included.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
75% funding already raised
70% expertise already found
77% materials / equipment already found
60% builders already found
Finance: € 4,700

Additional funds are required for utilities costs: installing water & electricity to the roof of Tiafi Community Centre & to make some sanitation improvements; waste removal & sanitation installations are urgently required at the Torbali site to ensure a safe education offering. We also seek a contribution towards project management fees.

*costs below are indicative only

  • electricity and water to Tiafi roof
500
  • waste removal in Torbali
1,000
  • sanitation installation in Torbali
1,000
  • project management fees
2,200
Skills: Technique, PR & Marketing
Technical expertise in water & sanitation is required to support urgent upgrades at the Torbali site. Existing conditions pose a threat to the welfare of all residents. The precarious relationship of the resident community to the land & buildings however makes this particularly challenging as any intervention must be demountable. We will also need to undertake remedial works prior to any new installation. 

PR + Marketing support would be beneficial to build the capacity of the Tiafi community to enable them to create materials that help fundraise & raise awareness of this project & the common issues faced across their communities. We hope that this proptype project may be expanded upon in the future. 
Stuff: Materials, Equipment & tools
We currently have a budget secured to purchase the necessary materials and basic tools for the Plug+Play modules. However, if we were able to receive any in-kind donations, we could re-allocate part of this budget to offset the additional funding needed for utilities. 

We require: basic tool sets, cordless drill driver, jigsaw, circular saw, working platform, saw horses, masonry saw, carcassing timber, plywood shuttering, fair faced plywood, OSB 18mm, galvanized trapezoidal sheet metal, sheet metal sandwich panel (100mm filling), batt insulation, concrete and fixings.
Help bring our project to life!
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