Meet Doruk Kayalı: Spacecraft Design Winner

Today we are featuring an inspirational architect/illustrator Doruk Kayalı who wins NonArchitecture's Spacecraft Design Competition..

Meet Doruk Kayalı, illustrator, architect and the winner of NonArchitecture Spacecraft Design Competition!


A quick introduction

My name is Doruk Kayalı and I am a 26 years old masters student in Royal Danish Academy — Architecture, Design and Conservation.

I grew up in a small city called Kusadası on the west coast of Turkey. My journey as an architect started after my graduation from Istanbul Technical University in 2019. After two years of professional experience in Istanbul and of course experiencing the frustrations of our sector that we all are aware, I decided to follow a different path and ended up as a masters student in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Now within my masters program, I got to travel to distinctive locations and conditions of the world with the goal of developing an idea aiming to respond to present and future global challenges through research by design. With a team of extremely talented people, we design different prototypes that are put to test in these locations and later on translate our findings to a large scale building design. Besides my studies, I am doing illustrations, exhibiting online, and actually now I’m on a path to start a brand for a virtual illustrators collective.


Being an architect/illustrator

How do you describe your visual style? What design tools do you prefer for your technique?

I actually cannot point out a specific style. Usually when I design something, when I imagine how it will look like I somehow come up with a visual language that can best reflect that dream, so I can say that I’m trying to adopt different styles according to what I’m designing, trying to learn different things.

But what I can say that in general that I don’t like very realistic representations, for example I’d prefer a render like an illustration, I’d prefer a vibe like a minimalist cartoon with bright colors, and I usually work with blinding bright blue, orange, pink and green in my illustrations -for the projects this palette is hard sometimes, since it can be unwanted for the project or very hard for people to read for an architectural project.

Actually, this is one of the reasons the competition series of Non Architecture is very exciting, you are not limited at all! For my work, I mostly use Rhino, Autocad, Illustrator trio for my architectural projects and Procreate for my illustrations, and sometimes for architectural project illustrations or a background image for my render -like I did in this competition.

Printer Room of Fabrika Alga

Competition process

You had to design and illustrate a spaceship for the NonArch’s Spacecraft Design Competition, in which you submitted a stunning detailed illustration. How do you get inspired about a sub-related topic with architecture? What challenged you the most?

Well, actually I got to that it was quite challenging. I guess all of the movies I watched so far about or in the space inspired me for this.

Also, for my school project last year, I came up with a very futuristic scenario, made a lot of research and modeling for vessels and building parts for my futuristic autonomous factory building.

But in all those fiction, the one thing that is the most important for me is that it should be realistic, meaning that it cannot be just some random form, shape that clearly is just based upon your imagination.

Housing Units of CoPort

In my opinion, it should be something that is blending the real and your own imagination. It should give the spectator the idea like ‘this is based on what has been done so far’, so that it’s perceived as few steps further of what has actually have possibility to be done, to be materialized. This was a very challenging aspect of the competition for me.

An inspiring project

Can you tell us about ‘NSFCourier – Earth Shuttle for NFS3117 Residents’?

As you know the space travel concept is very popular these days -and it looks like it’s going to be a travel option, well for some people, very soon. So, NFS3117 is a space station, where astronauts are trained, spend their time with collogues and live for a period of time for researches etc. It’s also a station for  people to go to spend time in space -either a short or a very long one. And the NSFCorruier, is the shuttle providing transportation between Earth and this space station. So basically, it’s maybe a near future scenario providing an outer world experience while also establishing a training and research center for people who working in a space-related profession.

Spacecraft Competition – ‘NSFCourier – Earth Shuttle for NFS3117 Residents’

Tips for beating the designer’s block

What keeps you motivated, and how can you manage your time?

Well, I can say that my personal illustration work is keeping me very motivated lately. On the other hand I got to say that receiving awards like this, is a huge motivation booster too! Also I like imagining things and show them in a way that is personal -this is the case both for my illustrations and my architectural projects.

“ I guess I can say that to be able to dream something and seeing it getting across the minds of others is a very satisfying feeling and highly motivating. ”

But for the second part of the question, I don’t know if I’m correct one to answer haha. Lately I’m struggling a lot in managing my time, us students/architects are so busy!

Bonus facts

Axonometric / Perspective ? So hard to choose! Perspective, I think!

Competition / Personal Work ? Personal Work with Competitions on side 🙂

Being a Student / Professional ? Professional for sure -but maybe it’s because I’m nearing completion for my studies now 👨‍💻

Tea / Coffee ? Tea for sure! 🫖

Want to catch up? Follow Doruk’s Instagram and LinkedIn

Read more interviews on Toffu Blog

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