Current Students

Burak Erdim

B.Arch., School of Architecture, Mississippi State University (1995)
MA, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia (2004)
M.Arch., Department of Architecture, University of Virginia (2005)
Ph.D. Candidate, Joint Program in Art and Architectural History, UVa

Major Interests: Modernism in the Mediterranean and the Middle East

Burak Erdim is an Architect and a Ph.D. Candidate in the joint program in Art and Architectural History. After earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree at Mississippi State University, he completed his internship and became licensed in 2002. During his graduate work at the University of Virginia, he earned both an MA in Architectural History (2004) and a Master's degree in Architecture (2005). His thesis in Architectural History examined Bruno Taut's work in Turkey (1936-38), showing how Taut's school buildings reflected the social and spatial concerns of the early Turkish Republic as well as his latest theories on Architecture. Erdim's thesis in Architecture re-visited the site of the German-Turkish House of Friendship Competition in Istanbul (1916) near the Hippodrome in the Historic Peninsula and proposed a new urban paradigm by exposing the multiple layers and identities of the city as sites of shared heritage between the East and the West.

Under the direction of Professor Sheila Crane, Erdim's dissertation examines the establishment of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey within the political context of the Cold War in the Middle East from 1950 to 1969. METU was established initially as a School of Architecture and Community Planning through a collaboration between the United Nations Technical Assistance Board, the University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, and the Turkish Republic. The work analyzes the inception and the organization of the School of Architecture as well as the administrative and spatial organization of the University as it uncovers a neglected chapter in the history of Modernism in the Middle East. The dissertation argues that METU as a case study of postwar programs of economic development was not a product of a singular program or an ideology. Instead, it emerged as a result of diverging agendas and contentious relationships among multiple agents and agencies. This finding repositions the political context of the Cold War within a complex network of relationships among international organizations and national agencies. It also reveals closer connections between architecture and politics as it shows how architects and planners operated among other officials and professionals as they sought to utilize the stand-off between the two superpowers to advance their own agendas.

As a Ph.D. Candidate, Erdim spent a year as a Fulbright Research Grantee (2007-08) and as a Dumas Malone Research Fellow (summer, 2008) in Turkey. He published a component of his Master's work on Taut in an essay entitled, "From Germany, to Japan and Turkey: Modernity, Locality and Bruno Taut's Transnational Details from 1933-38" in Lunch (2007), Journal of the University of Virginia School of Architecture and presented his research in a number of conference presentations and invited lectures. He also taught design studios as a lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. From 2009 to 2011, he taught Architectural History and Design courses as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University. He is currently finalizing his dissertation with a Dissertation Writing Year Fellowship awarded jointly by the departments of Art History and Architectural History at the University of Virginia.

University of VirginiaSchool of Architecture