Middle East High Technology Institute was founded.
Prof. G. Holmes Perkins, who had worked as a consultant for the foundation of METU, offered a development plan for METU in 1957. This plan constitutes the first document in which industrial design is mentioned as a university program in Turkey. In this plan, which covers the period between 1956-60, it was proposed to establish an industrial design department within the Faculty of Architecture. (Payaslıoğlu, 1996: 59)
Efforts were made to launch a design centre at METU Faculty of Architecture in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (Munro, 1971). However, the plan could not be realized due to financial issues and the unsuitable political climate (Er, Korkut and Er, 2003: 28).
In fall 1964, designer Raymond Loewy visited the Faculty of Architecture. Following the visit, Loewy sent an issue of Industrial Design, one of the prominent journals of the period, to Kemal Kurdaş, the President of METU, and to Aptullah Kuran, the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, with a note on its margin recommending Jay Doblin, who had also worked as a designer in Loewy's design office.
Aptullah Kuran, the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, prepared a report titled "Preliminary Report on the Proposed Department of Industrial Design".
David K. Munro, an American industrial designer, started to work at METU, Faculty of Architecture in Fall 1969 with the support of the Agency for International Development (AID) to develop an industrial design program within the Faculty. During the years he spent at METU, Munro developed an Industrial Design Master's Program proposal, built relationships with industry, developed elective courses and supervised Master's theses. The elective courses developed by Munro at the Department of Architecture starting in Fall 1969, are the first courses in the field of industrial design in Turkey. Munro left Turkey in Summer 1972.
2 May 1972
David K. Munro organized the first exhibition in the field of industrial design in Turkey. The exhibition titled "Endüstri Tasarımı Dünyası" (The World of Industrial Design) was supported by the United States Information Service and opened by METU Department of Architecture in the Or-An Yapı Merkezi Exhibition Hall in Ankara in Spring 1972. In this exhibition, which was later repeated in the Turkish American Association and the Chamber of Architects of Turkey, the development of industrial design in the west was introduced. Examples from the student projects that were undertaken within the industrial design elective courses taught at METU Department of Architecture were also exhibited. The exhibition material was produced by Mehmet Asatekin and Güner Mutaf. You can view the exhibition boards below:
Mehmet Asatekin and Güner Mutaf, who had carried out their Master’s studies with Munro, continued teaching industrial design in an elective course at the Department of Architecture. They participated in various initiatives taken by the Faculty Administration to establish the Department.
8 May 1979
The initiative to establish a Department of Industrial Design at METU, which was formally started by the Faculty of Architecture Administration in 1978, reaches its conclusion in 1979. The proposal, prepared by Mehmet Asatekin and Güner Mutaf, is for a four-year undergraduate program to be opened in a newly-established Department of Industrial Design, located within METU Faculty of Architecture. Approval from the Academic Council is granted on 8 May 1979. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Pultar is the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in this period. The first courses commence in the Department in December 1979, with 16 enrolled students instructed by Mehmet Asatekin, Güner Mutaf and – from the Department of Architecture – Selahattin Önür. Mehmet Asatekin becomes the first Chairperson of the Department.
18 June 1980
“Italian Design Exhibition” is held in collaboration with Ankara Italian Culture Committee between 18-24 June 1980 on METU campus.
The Department is granted associate membership of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) in 1981. Up until 2000, the Department remained the only member institution of ICSID from Turkey. ICSID changed to World Design Organization (WDO) in 2015. The Department remains an educational institution member of WDO.
Second year students design teapots in response to a competition opened through university-industry collaboration with Alarko. The firm awards selected student projects.
Up to 1984, students are accepted to the Department through the central university entrance exam. Commencing 1985, students are accepted through a special talent exam developed by the Department. From 1995, with increasing student applications, the Department reverts to the central university entrance exam.
The Department organizes “Young Designers Exhibition: Chairs To Sit On” between 2-10 June, in collaboration with the French Cultural Centre.
In the fall of 1994, the Department organises a symposium entitled “Tasarım, Endüstri ve Türkiye” (Design, Industry and Turkey), the first international academic activity in this field in Turkey.
The eminent design researcher Prof. Bruce Archer, a pioneer in the field of design methods in the UK, delivers in-service training seminars on design education for the members of the Department. His visit is supported by the British Culture Committee. He also organises a workshop on developing a Master’s program in Industrial Design – concluding that the program should include a research-oriented curriculum and thesis writing.
A research-oriented, interdisciplinary Master’s program in Industrial Design is developed under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülay Hasdoğan. The program commences in the fall of 1997, focusing on current developments and new problem areas in design.
In collaboration with Prof. Wolfgang Jonas from Hochschule für Kunst und Design, in Halle in Germany, a series of workshops is organized on systematic thinking and scenario building methods for concept development. Two workshops are held at METU (1997 and 2000) and one at Halle (1998). Ten undergraduate students participate in the workshop organized at Halle.
The Department marks its 20th anniversary with a special promotional leaftlet outlining its goals, achievements, activities and awards.
With support and hosting by the Goethe Institute, an international symposium entitled “Tasarım, Kültür, Tüketim: Farklı Modern Deneyimler” (Design, Culture, Consumption: Diverse Modern Experiences) is organized, with invited speakers from Germany and Turkey.
The first Graduation Projects Exhibition, under the vision of Inst. Fatma Korkut and Part-Time Inst. Naz Evyapan, is held at METU Cultural and Convention Centre in the spring of 2002. The exhibition, which is now a major annual Departmental event, showcases the work from ID402 Graduation Project course, where projects are carried out with advice and support from industrial partners.
METU-BILTIR UTEST, the first product usability unit in Turkey, is established under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Erbuğ. UTEST carries out projects with industry, as well as supporting graduate research in the Department.
METU ID participates in the Fiat Automotive “One Step Ahead” project in the fall semester of 2003, with completed projects exhibited in Turin under the curatorship of Inst. Fatma Korkut.
Interdisciplinary design projects with METU Faculty of Engineering are conducted for the first time through courses ID403 and ID404 (Collaborative Design I and II). In teams, students develop an ‘electronic pet’ through alliances made with students of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electric and Electronics Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Industrial Engineering.
Students of ID401 studio course work on white goods projects with Arçelik: “wash basin integrated washing machine for Russian market” and “new paradigms in the user interfaces of white goods”. METU Rector Ural Akbulut, along with final-year studio instructors and students, attend Arçelik for a presentation and appreciation.
A special publication is made to celebrate the Department reaching a quarter of a century of industrial design education.
Under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Dr Gülay Hasdoğan, the Department opens its PhD program. The program aims to train qualified researchers for industry and academia. Doctoral graduates had become increasingly needed as field experts, as well as a necessity for career progression as an academic. The program is conceived with a broad base to generate original knowledge on theoretical, methodological, social, cultural, historical, ergonomic, environmental, managerial, technological, and educational aspects of industrial design.
Inst. Alex Velasco and Inst. Naz Evyapan direct third and fourth year students in an “alternative design studio”, designing furniture for exhibition at the Salone Satellite “Mobile Mobilia” during Milan Design Week. Prototypes for ten projects are exhibited, with support from Koleksiyon Furniture.
The first year design studio is renewed with furniture designed by Ali Günöven and produced with the support of Nurus. The furniture and spatial arrangements bring a new approach to basic design studio activities.
The Department hosts the Fourth International Conference on Design Emotion, organized bi-annually in different countries by the Design and Emotion Society. The event is held at METU Cultural and Convention Centre, with accompanying exhibitions and workshops.
As part of its involvement in the European Union “Engage” project, an internaitonal symposium on “Design for Emotion” is held on 15 May at METU Cultural and Convention Centre.
Under the initiative of Assist. Prof. Dr Bahar Şener-Pedgley, the first Graduation Projects Exhibition Catalogue is published, creating a permanent record of industry-supported projects carried out in the fourth year studio.
The first of the semiannual “Tasarımdan Haberler” (News from Design) department bulletin was published.
23 November 2007
On 23 November 2007, the Department hosts its first ETAK (Endüstriyel Tasarım Bölümleri Akademik Konseyi – Industrial Design Departments Academic Council) meeting – the 4th of such meetings.
In the fall of 2008, ‘The International Joint Master of Science Programme in Design Research for Interaction’ launches – the result of a major collaboration with the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), the Netherlands. Enrolled students take their courses partly in Ankara and partly in Delft, receiving degrees from both METU and TUDelft. The programme was developed under the direction of Assist. Prof. Dr. Bahar Şener-Pedgley, Assist. Prof. Dr. Naz Evyapan and Inst. Dr. Canan E. Ünlü.
Invited Turkish designers hold symposia on “Examples from the Design Consultancy Sector” in March and May, as part of the Department’s 30-year anniversary celebrations.
The Department ranks for the first time among the “Most Successful Design Schools” of America and Europe, according to the Red Dot Design Ranking 2011. The ranking is based on the Red Dot Awards won by universities in the ‘Design Concept’ category over a 5-year period. The Department ranking increases over the years: 13th (2011), 6th (2013), 7th (2014) and 5th (2015 – 2018).
Staff members Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülay Hasdoğan, Assist. Prof. Dr. Fatma Korkut and Inst. Dr. Canan Ünlü make a 9-day visit to the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan, to develop the curriculum for the Department of Industrial Design, planned to be opened under NUST SADA (School of Art, Design and Architecture).
METU ID is chosen as the Turkish participant for the international student design project “Home Heroes”, organized through the headquarters of Bosch Siemens Hausgerate (BSH). Third and fourth year studios create visions and designs for the domestic appliances of tomorrow, fitting to the local BSH brand Profilo. Staff and students of shortlisted projects visit Munich Creative Business Week in Germany, where the projects are exhibited alongside those from European design schools who worked with other BSH brands.
The final year studio carries out “Office Lounge Chair Project” in collaboration with 11 company members of OMSİAD (Office Furniture Industry and Businessmen Foundation). The results and prototypes are exhibited in the Officexpo fair held at CNR Istanbul. Six companies sign agreements with students to realize their projects.
The Department participates in the Istanbul Design Biennial Academy Program for the first time, with two exhibitions hosted by Kadir Has University, Faculty of Art and Design: “Imperfection in Product Materials” (projects from Materials Experience course by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Owain Pedgley) and “Polymer Jewellery” (projects from Jewellery Beyond Tradition course by Part-Time Inst. Sezgin Akan).
An Erasmus student and staff exchange agreement is signed between the Department and Loughborough Design School, the first such agreement with a UK design education and research institution. The agreement is initiated and finalized by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Owain Pedgley, a Loughborough University alumnus.
The Department is listed for the first time in Domus magazine’s guide entitled, “Europe’s Top 100 Architecture and Design Schools 2013”.
UTAK 2014 (Ulusal Tasarım Araştırmaları Konferansı), the first National Design Research Conference, is organized and hosted by the Department.
American Fulbright scholar Prof. Martin Skalski from Pratt Institute opens an elective course “Sense of Form” to third and fourth year students.
The first collaborative Basic Design Workshop is organised by the Department, with invited participation of all Departments of Industrial Design at Ankara-based universities. Follow-up organisations are made in 2015 and 2016.
METU applies to Ankara Development Agency to establish a ‘Design Factory’ on the university campus. The Department supports the process of planning the infrastructure of workshops and organising interdisciplinary design studios.
The Department participates for the first time at the Global Grad Show, United Arab Emirates, organised as part of Dubai Design Week. Our 2014 graduate Ahsen Gülsen exhibits her graduation project DUO, carried out in collaboration with Futerodesign. Staff member Assist. Prof. Dr. Naz A.G.Z. Börekçi contributes to the accompanying forum with a talk on “What Design Should Do?”.
“The New Studio” system is implemented for all undergraduates in the spring semester 2019. Owing to the pressure of increased student numbers, with 80 new students arriving annually, undergraduate studio spaces become shared amongst year groups (years 1 and 3; years 2 and 4).
10 May 2019
The Department hosts its 2nd ETAK (Endüstriyel Tasarım Bölümleri Akademik Konseyi – Industrial Design Departments Academic Council) meeting, the 24th of such meetings, with a record of 24 separate institutions represented.
9-12 July 2019
The Department hosts LearnX Design 2019, the Fifth International Conference for Design Education Researchers, organized bi-annually in different countries with the Design Research Society. The event is held at METU Cultural and Convention Centre, including a PhD pit-stop day and various workshops.
Celebratory events, exhibitions and seminars are organized throughout 2019 to coincide with Middle East Technical University’s 50/40 years landmarks in industrial design education and research. The celebrations relate to 50 years of industrial design education at METU and 40 years since the establishment of the Department of Industrial Design.
Prepared by Fatma Korkut; contributions by Mehmet Asatekin, Çağla Doğan, Gülay Hasdoğan, Figen Işık, Pınar Kaygan.
Last updated on May 2022. For contributions and corrections, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Raymond Loewy's visit was related by Serim Denel at the "Endüstri Ürünleri Tasarımı Bölümü Kuruluş Yılları" (The Foundation Years of the Industrial Design Department) meeting on 19th April 2001 at METU.
 Compiled from university catalogs, reports, transcripts and course materials, the following is a list of the courses run by Munro between 1969 and 1972: ARCH 361 Industrial Design (Fall 1969, Fall 1970, Fall 1971), ARCH 362 Industrial Design (Spring 1970), ARCH 461 Industrial Design (Fall 1970, Fall 1971), ARCH 462 Industrial Design II (Spring 1971, Spring 1972), ARCH 561 Industrial Design (Fall 1971), ARCH 562 Industrial Design (Spring 1972), ARCH 564 Model Making (Spring 1972). In this context, it is also important to mention the graduate course titled “History of Industrial Design”, developed by Instructor Serim Denel in Fall 1971.
Asatekin, Mehmet ve Güner Mutaf. 1978. "Endüstri Tasarımı Bölümü Kuruluş Raporu." Ankara: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Mimarlık Fakültesi.
Er, H. Alpay, Fatma Korkut ve Özlem Er. 2003. "U.S. Involvement in the Development of Design in the Periphery: The Case of Industrial Design Education in Turkey, 1950s-1970s." Design Issues 19(2): 17-34.
Kurdaş, Kemal. 1998. ODTÜ Yıllarım: "Bir Hizmetin Hikayesi". Ankara: METU Press.
Matters, Robert L. 1959. "Proposed Formation of a Department of Product Design under the Dean and College of Architecture of the Middle East Technical University." ODTÜ iç yazışma, 30 Eylül 1959.
Munro, David K. 1971. “A Rationale and an Outline for the Establishment of a Department of Industrial Design at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara.” Unpublished report, 23 pages, Ankara, METU, October 1971.
Payaslıoğlu, Arif T. 1996. Türk Yükseköğretiminde Bir Yeniliğin Tarihi: Barakadan Kampusa 1954–1964. Ankara: Middle East Technical University.