Global Spa Summit’s 2nd Annual ‘Student Challenge’ Puts Spotlight on Architecture and Design

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Istanbul Technical University and the University of Southern California Students Re-Imagine Historic Site in Kula, Turkey – Creating Designs for New Eco-Geothermal Park

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The GSS Challenge gives our students the opportunity to combine history, theory, and critical analytic skills with their own creative process and vision, to apply toward a marvelously multifaceted real-world design problem

The Global Spa Summit (GSS), the leading annual event for spa and wellness industry executives, today announced that it has selected the architecture departments of Istanbul Technical University and the University of Southern California (USC) to compete in its 2010 Student Challenge. Student teams from each institution will develop new, feasible design concepts for the ancient hydrothermal area in Kula, Turkey.

Each year GSS enlists students from major academic institutions to create spa and wellness concepts of the future. For 2010, students are tasked with creating environmentally- and culturally-aware designs for a new eco-tourism destination that could both revitalize a regional economy - and create new relevance for the broader ideas of ‘spa’ and ‘wellness.’

“We suggested keeping the competition tangible and local by exploring the potential of a real Turkish site: Kula is a traditional Ottoman settlement, famous for its geothermal resources and ancient spa traditions dating back to the Roman period,” said Dr. Yuksel Demir of Istanbul Technical University’s Architecture Department. “Kula’s Governor and Mayor have been enthusiastic and supportive, and our students' work is underway. The Summit is offering them a unique platform to share their ideas, and the project is helping Kula share its local potential, globally.”

The design projects will be formally presented May 17th, 2010, and the winning team will be announced at the Summit’s opening gala dinner that evening at the Cirigan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul. Students are competing for cash prizes as well as the visibility their published projects will receive.

In the design competition, students are asked to investigate an expanded notion of ‘wellness’ that includes healthy economies, healthy communities, and a healthy environment through the architectural lens. The site at Kula provides a rich context for this design intervention: a historic 5th-century town, a distinctive volcanic landscape of thermal springs, local handicraft traditions, and an integrated tourism plan for an eco/geothermal national park.

“The GSS Challenge gives our students the opportunity to combine history, theory, and critical analytic skills with their own creative process and vision, to apply toward a marvelously multifaceted real-world design problem,” noted Professor Richard Corsini, Director of the student project at USC.

“The setting in Asia Minor helps us understand that architecture is situated at the nexus of politics and culture. I hope that our work will demonstrate how architecture can play a critical role in fostering progress and beauty in a global culture that becomes ever more complex by the day.”

According to the GSS, students will first compete against others at their respective institutions. Each school’s winning team will then present their concepts to the Summit delegation and an elite panel of judges, comprised of industry leaders from across the world, including architects and government officials.

Last year’s ‘Challenge’ involved students from leading Swiss hospitality school, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (ELH), competing against students from Paris-based Institut de Management International (IMHI) to create an innovative spa business concept for the 21-to-30 (‘Gen Y’) demographic. IMHI’s ‘Chill House’ concept took home the 2009 prize.

The Summit will be held at the historic Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel in Istanbul from May 17th-19th. Attended by top spa, hospitality, tourism and wellness executives from around the world, 2010’s invitation-only Summit is expected to attract a record number of delegates, representing 40 countries.

For media information contact: Beth McGoarty, +1 213 300 0107 or +44 (0) 870 121 6066.

For registration/sponsorship information contact: or visit: http://www.globalspasummit.org

About Global Spa Summit: The award-winning Global Spa Summit is an annual event that attracts top-level executives and leaders from around the world with interest in the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors including hospitality, investment, finance, real estate, medicine, manufacturing, technology, consulting, product, tourism and other related industries attend this intimate, high-level gathering focused on advancing the spa and wellness sectors. With increasing attendance by more countries each year, the Global Spa Summit delegation represented 32 different countries from all continents in 2009.

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