The Bartlett School of Architecture


Ecem Ergin

Image: Ecem Ergin



Framed, Therefore Real

Primary and secondary supervisors


Does architectural space makes people believe in something they would not believe in otherwise? This research explores the role of architectural space in conveying a message in both forms: physically situated and virtually distributed. Times Square of New York is used as the case for the investigation. The research aims to contribute to the debate around the trustworthiness of digital media and the importance of the urban environment as an informer of the publics.

Since the 1960s, “The medium is the message”, as McLuhan stated, but with the rise of the post-truth era, perhaps his definition requires an update. Due to lack of legislation in the virtual world, one might say media has started to refer to an uncanny territory. Intentionally or not, the logic behind new communication platforms has been promoting speculations rather than facts. On the other hand, the variety of the content an individual is exposed to in a regular day has reached an unprecedented diversity. Moreover, the erosion (even absence) of the narrator of these messages has been causing a legitimisation problem. Here the policy makers may contribute as fact-checkers in the form of the physical public spaces. In other words, physical public spaces might be used as legitimisers of the messages that appear in them, because the governance and legislation of the built environment – albeit with some flaws – is well widely recognised by the public. This PhD research unfolds the potential outcomes of this correspondence.


Ecem is a London-based architect, designer and photographer, with a special interest in information technologies. Currently a doctoral researcher at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Ecem's work contributes to the debate surrounding the trustworthiness of digital media and the role of the built environment in informing the public.

Born in Istanbul, Ecem holds a Professional Architecture Degree (B Arch) from Istanbul Technical University, and Post-Professional Architecture MS from Pratt Institute, New York. During her undergraduate studies she spent one year at Politecnico di Milano, and recently completed a visiting researcher program at Yale University School of Architecture.

Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the Media Architecture Biennale and London Design Festival. You can find about her recent publications at her personal website. 



Publications and other work
  • Ergin, E. (2020a) ‘ENMARCADO, POR LO TANTO, REAL’, Materia Arquitectura, (20), pp. 58–73. Available at: http://www.materiaarquitectura.com/index.php/MA/article/view/480 (Accessed: 26 April 2022).
  • Ergin, E. (2020b) ‘Framed, Therefore Real’, Materia Arquitectura, (20), pp. 126–130. Available at: http://www.materiaarquitectura.com/index.php/MA/article/view/488 (Accessed: 26 April 2022).
  • Afonso, A.G., Ergin, E. and Fatah gen. Schieck, A. (2019) ‘Flowing Bodies: Exploring the Micro and Macro Scales of Bodily Interactions with Urban Media Installations’, in Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery (DIS ’19), pp. 1183–1193. doi:10.1145/3322276.3322378.
  • Gentile, V. et al. (2019) ‘Pervasive Displays Research: What’s Next?’, IEEE Pervasive Computing, 18(1), pp. 72–78. doi:10.1109/MPRV.2019.2898538.
  • Ergin, E., Afonso, A. and Fatah gen. Schieck, A. (2018) ‘Welcoming the Orange Collars: Robotic Performance in Everyday City Life’, in Proceedings of the 7th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery (PerDis ’18), pp. 1–7. doi:10.1145/3205873.3205893.
  • Ergin, E. and Fatah gen. Schieck, A. (2018) ‘Times Square in the Era of Post-truth Politics’, in Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery (MAB18), pp. 11–18. doi:10.1145/3284389.3284394.



Funded by the Ministry of Education in Turkey

Image: Ecem Ergin – City-Framed – 2020