Admission is open to all bachelor’s degree holders, aiming academic or professional career and interested in furthering their education through a program of individual study in architecture and urban design.

Required application materials are:

1- Statement of Interest  (A personal statement explaining goals and objectives for the program, description of the intended field of study, research or design project based on Istanbul, personal opinions on online and physical meetings of the program)
2- Current resume (CV) and creative portfolio
3- English Language Proficiency Test Result

Participants will be able to join the program without paying any contribution fee.

Given the individualized nature of the Academy’s program, there are a limited number of spots available each semester, so we suggest early applications. Interested participants are encouraged to contact the Academy’s director to express their intent to apply.

The language of the program is Turkish and English. Seminars, conferences and events are mostly held in Turkish. The applicants are expected to have sufficient knowledge in English to be able to read, discuss, research and present their studies. All applicants whose native language is not Turkish or English must submit YDS (min 65), TOEFL IBT (min 70) or IELTS  (min 6.0) score for admissions.

2021 / Fall Semester

Application Deadline: October 1, 23.59 (UTC+3)
Interview Dates: October 9, 2021
Program Start Date: October 18, 2021
Program End Date: February 5, 2022

AURA Istanbul 2021 Fall Semester Certificate Program will start on October 18, 2021 and will continue for 16 weeks. During the Fall Semester, seminars, conferences and events will be held on online platforms due to the measures taken against Coronavirus (Covid-19); studio meetings with the instructors will be held in a hybrid format, both online and in physical space. Although residing in Istanbul is not a requirement for participation in the program, participants are expected to adapt to the dynamic structure of the events within the program and participate in the program fulltime on weekdays and Saturdays.

Detailed information about the program can be found on the Program, Program Modules and Design Studio pages.

The application deadline for the 2021 Fall Semester is October 1, 2020.

Research Based Desıgn Studıo Instructors


He was born in 1986 in Erzurum. He graduated from Karadeniz Technical University, Architecture Department in 2006. Between 2011 and 2015, he continued his practice at Kolektif Mimarlar, of which he was one of the founders. Since 2015, he is the co-founder of Rasa Studyo together with Zeynep Altinbasli and still pursues his architecture practice.

Koc won awards in many national and international architectural project competitions and served as a jury member during his career. He won the Turgut Cansever National Architecture Award twice with Lüleburgaz Bus Terminal and Türkan Şoray Cultural Center Buildings. His projects have been exhibited in many different exhibitions and selections.

In addition to his professional work, he has instructed architectural design studios in many universities including Kocaeli University, Istanbul Technical University, and Eskişehir Osmangazi University. Throughout his professional career, he has has given lectures, review critics and workshops including in many universities. Koc is currently an Adjunct Professor of Architectural Design Studio at Özyeğin University and Maltepe University.


She was born in Izmir in 1991. She completed her undergraduate education from İzmir Saint Joseph High School in 2010 and from İzmir Yaşar University, Department of Architecture in 2014. In 2019, she completed her master’s degree from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU), Department of Architectural Design Problems with her thesis titled “Text-to-Diagram Architectural Theory: Delirious New York and Yes is More”. She still pursues her PhD education at MSFAU.

Since 2015, she is the co-founder of Rasa Studyo together with Tuna Han Koc and still pursues her architecture practice.

She won awards in many national and international architectural project competitions and she has given lectures and review critics. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Architectural Design Studio at Maltepe University.


Zuhal Kol is an architect and urban designer whose work is focused on the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and new urban environments. She is the co-founder of Openact Architecture, a design studio examining indeterminacy and plurality through varying scale public space projects, with offices in Madrid and Istanbul.

She received her Masters of Architecture + Urban Design from Cornell AAP in 2013 and her B.Arch. from Istanbul Technical University with High Honors. During her studies in Cornell AAP between 2012 and 2013, she was a member of the research group ‘The Petropolis of Tomorrow’ and practiced as a teaching assistant, her work during this research was exhibited in the Lisbon Triennale 4th edition, “The world in our eyes” in 2016. Zuhal has given lectures, review critics and workshops including Cornell University, Istanbul Technical University, Europan Forum, and various design festivals. Currently, she is an adjunct professor in Istanbul Technical University. With her design work, she has participated in various national, international, and invited architectural competitions, and won numerous awards including the most recent of Bandirma Park International Competition (TR) and Europan 13 Zagreb “Swap on the river” (HR) which currently are both under the process of implementation. Prior to that, she developed an international architectural experience and participated the design of constructed projects while working at GAD/Istanbul, focusing on different scale public space projects. Her work as a designer is complemented by a body of writing and research which concentrates on indeterminate and contingent design relationships between public realm, infrastructure, and ecology; and published in international books & journals.

Since 2013, she is the co-founder of Openact Architecture together with Carlos Zarco Sanz. Openact operates within the fields of architecture and urbanism. Conceived as part-laboratory and part-workshop, the studio employs research as a performative act in architecture and envisions the design of open-ended systems as the basis for adaptable, flexible, and organic infrastructures, across a multitude of scales that support and promote contemporary urban life.

Zuhal was born in 1987, Istanbul, Turkey; and since 2014 she lives in Madrid, Spain.


Carlos Zarco is a practicing architect halfway between Madrid and Istanbul, co-founder of the Madrid-Istanbul based design studio Openact Architecture, an international award-winning interdisciplinary design practice operating within the fields of architecture and urbanism; researching at the intersection of public realm, infrastructure and the environment. During his professional practice, he has participated a diverse number of international, national and invited competitions, which led to various awards, publications and commissions. The very recent consists of Moraça River Int. Competition (MO), Taksim Urban Design Int. Competition (TR), Haliç Shoreline Urban Design Competition, Bandirma Park Int. Competition (TR) and Europan 13 Zagreb (HR) which 1st phase of implementation was recently completed as “Sava Activities”.

Carlos received his B.Arch and Masters of Architecture from Universidad Europea de Madrid/Escuela de Arquitectura, Ingeniería y Diseño in 2013. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues across Spain and Turkey, as well as the United States, Italy, Argentina, and China; and his writings and projects have been published in several books and journals including: Arquitectura Viva, Association, Scenario Journal and Praznine. Within the Openact, his work focus on envisioning the design of open-ended systems as the basis for adaptable, flexible and organic infrastructures, across a multitude of scales that support and promote contemporary urban life.

Beside his professional practice, Carlos contributes as lecturer and review critic in numerous institutions and events. Active in both the academic field and professional practice, Carlos is currently an Adjunct Professor of Architectural Design Studio in ITU Faculty of Architecture.




AURA ON SATURDAYS: Interdısıplınary Conferences

AURA SUARE: Desıgn Talks