Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
Preliminary planning for the Middle East Technical University (METU) re-forestation and landscaping programme began in 1958 in response to two major incentives. First, the Turkish capital of Ankara, surrounded by hills, suffers from heavy air pollution, a problem that can be ameliorated by green areas. Second, support for a green zone next to Ankara exists in the provision by Turkish law that forest land cannot be expropriated, thereby encouraging the creation of newly planted woods to limit urban sprawl. Since METU was established on land donated by the Turkish government, 4500 hectares of the campus were available for this public purpose. By 1960, the university's department of landscaping had tested tree species that would be appropriate, and in 1961, the re-forestation programme commenced. The area with non--irrigational plantings covers 3,000 hectares. Plants that require irrigation cover 800 hectares of the site, and are located within the grounds of the university to form landscaped spaces along the campus pedestrian network. The remaining 500 hectares consist of lakes and ponds. Every year a million more trees are planted. The varied habitats created by the forest and lake-shore areas provide excellent conditions for many species of mammals, birds, and fish. Plant life in great variety abounds. The METU green area helps make Ankara less dry, less polluted, and less humid - a better city to live in. Other universities in the region have launched their own re-forestation programmes. The jury hopes that this project will inspire a new generation of architects and planners to pay more attention to the role of re-forestation as an urban and regional planning strategy.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Ortadogu Teknik Üniversitesi Agaçlandirma Projesi (Variant)