Vice Dean of Bahçeşehir University, Salih Ceylan talks about introducing the faculty, the departments and the student’s work through a rich and immersive virtual exhibition.

Salih Ceylan, Assistant Professor and Vice Dean of the faculty of Architecture at Bahçeşehir University (BAU), Istanbul, Turkey. He is the founder/coordinator of the VR lab at the faculty and the co-creator/coordinator of the metaverse exhibitions conducted by the faculty.

Bahçeşehir University (BAU) is a prominent higher education institution in Turkey, has a strong international outlook and is a member of the BAU Global Family. BAU Faculty of Architecture and Design is one of the most important faculties of the university with three departments (architecture, interior design, and industrial design) including 1500 active students.

How it all started

The nature of architectural education necessitates sharing and documenting student work produced in the university’s faculty throughout the academic year. Up until 2019, they prepared for exhibitions the traditional way, a physical event. It consisted of the work of students from different departments and classes. In some cases, the exhibitions were solely for one course while others brought courses, studios and/or departments together for a richer and more appealing exhibition for visitors. However, this tradition came to an abrupt end in 2020 due to the pandemic. It changed everything.

Coming together with students was no longer an option - at least not in a physical environment. This is where the idea of a virtual exhibition emerged. Initially, they explored and used platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, but quickly started to rethink that. They needed something more immersive and more embracing the core of the faculty’s activities.

A digital version of the traditional exhibition is what they were really looking for. As the founder and coordinator of the VR Lab, they modelled the exhibition digitally, gathered posters, documents and visuals to launch their first exhibition. That was a start, but something was still missing…

The Next Step – iStaging

The virtual exhibition as a plain separate application lacked connectivity. ‘’We needed a much more user-friendly interface that allowed for more opportunities of communication. We found that iStaging was the best and most reliable metaverse platform for our exhibitions’’, said Mr Ceylan.

Furthermore, Vice Dean Ceylan outlined the key features that helped take their exhibition to the next level:

  • Easy to reach through a link or QR code
  • Available on all devices like PC, mobile phones or VR devices
  • Allows almost every file type and media including videos and animations
  • Enables connection to external links without getting away from the main flow thanks to the PiP web browser
  • Simple and user friendly interface that can be used by anyone
  • Web-based - No need for special CPU or GPU, nor any special device or software or coding experience

The Experience

‘’We are using iStaging for the third consecutive year now. Currently we have our 2021-2022 virtual exhibitions online and running on iStaging’s metaverse platform and we are being visited by thousands of people including students, prospective students, architects, academics or just enthusiasts’’, said Professor Ceylan.

‘’We are introducing our university, our faculty, departments, students, and their work through only one link which is incredible in this rapidly evolving world. The feedback has been super positive from anyone that has visited the exhibition, especially our students. They just love to see their work exhibited and promoted on such an appealing platform’’, Mr Ceylan continued.

What does the future have in store?

In these times of rapid evolution everyone is obliged to change, develop and improve their ways of working. The university continuously experiences new challenges that require new and innovative solutions. The virtual exhibition was based on that exact idea. They faced a problem and, instead of shying away from it, they faced it head-on and saw an opportunity to improve the current state.

‘’Each year we are improving our virtual exhibitions by adding new features and elements. iStaging has been very helpful and inspiring in this sense as well. Any questions were answered promptly and constructively. They are offering new formats and elements for us to add to our exhibitions. So, they are rapidly evolving towards a better and more comprehensive metaverse platform.We look forward to continuing and improving our virtual exhibitions with iStaging.’’

Visit the BAU Architecture Department in Metaverse: 2021-2022 Virtual Exhibition below:

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