Architecture at the Istanbul Center is based in Studio-X Istanbul, which is an urban laboratory that aims to identify the current and future issues facing the city and seeks to generate innovative forms of thinking for their solutions. It is part of a worldwide network of spaces operating in Amman, Johannesburg, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro. As the Istanbul space of Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) Studio-X’s priority is to express the knowledge of Columbia University, while also absorbing the information from local and regional partners hence blurring the boundary in-between as much as possible. It is a living space: it exists to generate ideas, discuss, and even make mistakes. Studio-X Istanbul strives to host the flourishing of good ideas around urban issues and the development of pioneer thinkers.
The Istanbul Center actively works towards developing a global humanities program in collaboration with Columbia and its regional partners. In October 2015, the Center organized a roundtable meeting at Boğaziçi University with Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Dean of Humanities at Columbia to discuss future prospects for designing an interdisciplinary global humanities curriculum to be executed with regularized faculty visits and student exchange programs between campuses. The Center organizes and hosts a variety of conferences, talks, exhibitions, and workshops that address the fields of arts and culture in Turkey and the region. The Istanbul Center and the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul hosted the “Blue Voyagers: The Art of Romare Bearden and Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu” exhibition from April 15 to May 17, 2015. The exhibit was part of a year-long series of programs, lectures and performances inspired by Bearden’s interpretation of Homer’s classic, a staple of Columbia’s undergraduate Core Curriculum.