In memory of Cuneyt
World Architecture Community wishes to announce
its sadness for the unexpected loss of its Coordinator and Editor-in-Chief
Cuneyt Budak a.k.a. “Jonathan Budd”
1954 – 2009
Cüneyt was the mastermind behind the World Architecture Community. When we were working together in XXI Architectural Culture Centre under with Hasan Barutçu and Haluk Pamir we were publishing the Journal entitled XXI. It was called XXI in anticipation of the new century, becoming the most influential journal on culture of architecture and design in Turkey for three years and produce nine monumental issues.
During those years the internet was growing in leaps and bounds. In 1999 when I suggested Cüneyt the future of communication has to be the not only paperless, but pervasive and international, he booked the web address www.worldarchitecture.org. It was only after my retirement from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture as its chief executive that we would work on World Architecture Community. After 24 years of service to promote quality in built environment by means of architecture in the Aga Khan Development Network and my presidency of the UIA World Architecture Congress in 2005 Istanbul that we were ready to engage ourselves with a benevolent activity on architecture. In 2006 we established a public company with Şefik Onat who had both the experience of Habitat 1996 and UIA 2005 at a very high level. We appointed Cüneyt to be the leader-executive of this non-profit public mission.
Our idea was not scroll or blog but a fully interactive system to communicate and engage talent in every aspect of architecture. This took some time and energy and we launched our web site in March 2008. In no time World Architecture Community was among the World’s most popular web sites breaking records since August 2008.
Cüneyt had a teaching position in one of the private universities in Istanbul. Without compromising from his academic responsibilities he dedicated time, energy, sleep and leisure to World Architecture Community. It was never surprising for me and my colleagues to receive messages and calls between 2 AM to 5 AM many many times.
Cüneyt in the mid 1970’s was a participant in classes in the Department of Architecture of the Middle East Technical University. His comments were well informed, to the point and intelligent. I had to ask him to leave his very successful Engineering studentship and transfer to architecture. That he did at the cost of losing some two years. Following his graduation he was noticed nationwide as one of the most brilliant brains in architecture.
In 1980 I was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania to prepare a survey and critical analysis of Modern Architecture in Turkey aiming for an exhibition, a conference and book. Cüneyt conducted the survey. This Philadelphia Exhibition is now in the archives of Middle East Technical University and will be a permanent display dedicated to his memory.
Following his graduation Cüneyt became an important figure in order to help ideas and intellectual contributions to be communicated. He worked with Doğan Hasol and Güven Cantürk in Yapı, with Uğur Tanyeli in Arrademento Mimarlık. His tenure with Ahmet Turhan Altıner was most productive when they published Arkitekt Yaşama Sanatı magazine.
He never ignored his academic career and pursued degrees like Master of Architecture and PhD. His dissertations became important references. Regardless of his limited financial facilities he acquired the collections of some important libraries that otherwise would be treated as recycling material. He loved architecture literature and did everything he could to protect and project it.
Cüneyt was a selfless person. When he was in charge of the World Architecture Community he wanted to remain anonymous and international. As an allusion to Jonathan Livingstone Seagull I proposed to name him “Jonathan”. He was fast, so fast that he was pushing the limits of his own speed. That was very much like Jonathan Seagull.
His surname Budak in Turkish meant “knot” in the tree or in timber. That implied something cumbersome and was unfair to him. In fact he was the master of nurturing fresh and “budding” ideas. When I proposed him Budd as his pen surname, he giggled and agreed. He became Jonathan Budd. The compliments I received on his behalf as being: “a wonderful gentleman, a profound thinker, a generous editor, an enabling publisher, et al.” prevented me from disclosing his real identity to the people who knew him. I could not say to many: “Look! He is our good old Cüneyt.”
In World Architecture Community he helped to develop the talents of Selin Çınar, Talha.B Bulut, F.Murat Özdemir and Özgün Tanglay. Özgün also being his life companion is among the most affected by his loss.
He lived two lives and died one. Or may be he lived many lives and only died one.
May peace be upon him forever.