Q+A with Çisil Tolga Karayel, Senior Project Architect (Istanbul)
How do you describe your job to people outside of the industry?
I am part of a big team that designs spaces – whether it’s an aircraft maintenance hangar or a small guardhouse – no matter the function or scale of it. You can call us puzzle solvers who care about materials, design approaches, structural technologies, environmental ethics, and sustainability.
Why did you decide to become an architect?
When I was a little girl, I disassembled my dollhouse, which consisted of mini plastic profiles. Then, I reassembled it to build a house I could fit in and prepared cardboard panels to use as a wall. Of course, it was a childish game, but it was my first project. For years, I never thought about being an architect. In high school, a friend made me notice my dream that I was not aware of it. From that moment, my dream job has been clear. I prepared my action plan. This is my thirteenth year as an architect.
How would you describe life at Ghafari?
Never-ending learning and unique experiences. After five plus years with Ghafari, I can say that every new project is a new challenge. We are working on various projects for clients with different requirements and priorities. We need to be dynamic and adaptable while passing around projects.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened during your time here?
Of course, the Turkish Airlines Istanbul Airport project has been the most exciting part of my time at Ghafari. I had the opportunity to experience many steps from the first sketch to the final touch at the field for some facilities. I got to live the same experience with Ferrero’s Duzce hazelnut processing plant.
What is a key idea or lesson you have learned while working at Ghafari?
Whether working in the same office or across the sea, good communication and well-planned role distribution are the keys to success. Especially after the pandemic days, the whole world realizes again the importance of communication and being well-organized.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I am an amateur cook and home brewer. Traveling around the world with my husband and tasting traditional foods and beverages is exciting for me. Additionally, I am a retired professional swimmer. Recently, I try to be active by doing yoga, playing tennis, and running to support foundations. I always spare some time to have a picnic at the seashore and to take care of stray animals and my balcony garden.