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Deadline extended: Win a trip to Istanbul to study the work of Mimar Sinan

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Just one week left to enter the AJ and Turkishceramics competition to win a trip to Istanbul to study the work of Mimar Sinan

In November the AJ and Turkishceramics will take a team of British architects, including Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, DSDHA, Bureau de Change and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, to Istanbul and Edirne to study the work of the 16th century Ottoman maestro, Mimar Sinan, a contemporary of Palladio and Michelangelo.

The aim of the trip is to gather material for the AJ/Turkishceramics book, Sinan: the first starchitect. The book - with an exhibition to follow in May - explores the life, work and wider world of Mimar Sinan with contributions from leading and emerging contemporary architects and expert writers.

Sinan’s mastery of the art of building, from his use of ceramics to his designs of mosque complexes and urban infrastructure, is central to this definitive project.

For Turkishceramics, the book and exhibition with the AJ marks the beginning of an international celebration of Sinan’s work.

To win a chance to join this exclusive project we want you to highlight ceramics in a building you admire with a hand-drawn study of it, and a typed description of the role ceramics play in enhancing your chosen building’s architectural qualities.

Drawings can be in pen, pencil, or paint but must be hand-drawn.

The winner will join the selected architects and writers on a trip to Turkey and study the ceramic tile-work used by Sinan on his key projects (w/c November 16).

Submissions should be digital files (Microsoft Word documents and jpegs of less than 10MB in total) and should be emailed to mimarsinan@emap.com.

The deadline for entries is 2 October.

Here’s some inspiration to get you started

Holburne Museum by Eric Parry

Holburne Museum, Bath by Eric Parry Architects


The Holburne Museum, according to the critic Joseph Rykwert, ‘completes one of the best views in Bath, closing Great Pultney Street, a boulevard a thousand feet long and a hundred wide.’ The building was once the Sydney Hotel, designed in the classical style by Harcourt Masters in 1779 and constructed using local, honey-coloured Bath stone. It was transformed into a museum to house the collection of baronet William Holburne by Reginald Blomfield, who gutted the interior, around 1914.

Following a competition in 2002, Eric Parry Architects was commissioned to provide 1,900m² of extra gallery space at the rear of the museum facing the gardens. The design for the new £6.5 million, four-storey extension caused uproar within the local community as it makes no attempt to mimic the original building. Parry eschewed the opportunity to work in the local stone, opting instead to use dark blue/green, mottled ceramic tiles arranged on a strict grid. The faience tiles were the largest that the manufacturer could provide and the depth of colour was achieved by applying two slip coats that were single fired.

The new wing plays a game with transparency and opacity, providing an inversion of the tripartite composition of the existing historic building. Parry’s building is dense at the uppermost gallery floors and its mass dissolves towards the ground floor that houses a café. An outer glass rain screen runs continuously over the first three floors, before 50mm thick ceramic panels with lapped joints create a blind wall that wraps the fourth floor gallery. Projecting vertical ceramic fins descend from the roofline to cast deep shadows across the façade providing rhythm and articulation.

‘The layers of reflection on the skin of the building in its foliate setting … are intentionally ambiguous,’ said Parry at the time of completion. ‘Ambiguity was an element of the architectural order of the building in the artificial condition of a garden setting within the town. The orientation of the original building reinforces this difference – sunlit to Great Pultney Street and shadowed in the garden.’

Parry’s building shows invention, daring and was an unexpected response to it’s much loved, if dogmatic, context.

Owen Pritchard, AJ technical editor

AJ Buildings Library: a selection of projects using ceramics


Holburne Museum, Bath by Eric Parry Architects


Holburne Museum, Bath by Eric Parry Architects

Jerwood Gallery, Hastings by HAT Projects


Jerwood Gallery, Hastings by HAT Projects

House for Essex, Essex by FAT


House for Essex, Essex by FAT

Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham by CZWG Architects


Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham by CZWG Architects


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