THE ARCHITECT THAT GIVES LIFE TO BASRA

FİLİZ BILDIR, WHO HAS RECREATED IRAQ IN SEVEN YEARS, IS PREPARING TO CARRY OUT PROJECTS IN TURKEY AFTER MIDDLE EAST. 

Architect Filiz Bıldır’s career story is like a film. A successful architect, devoted mother and a bold entrepreneur, Bıldır went to Basra in 2007 with an offer from the United States government after the Second Gulf War, and rebuilt the city in ruins.  With hospitals, hotels, an airport, terminals, government buildings, schools, luxurious houses and villas, Bıldır has redesigned Basra, and she says that they have built 250 thousand meter square area within six years. Emphasizing that they completed the year 2013 with about 100 million dollars worth of trade; Bıldır has expedited her projects directed toward Turkey after Libya, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq.

We are hosting a successful architect in our March issue. Filiz Bıldır, who is not afraid of taking risks, had gone to Basra, Iraq after the Second Gulf War, and had carried out many successful projects under Dore Architecture. Bıldır tells that she was confronted with ruins in the city when she first arrived in 2007, and says that many construction companies had left the city leaving their construction incomplete. Bıldır, who firstly built her own construction office in Basra, is an important name in giving life to the city in debris. At that time when chaos reigned in Iraq, Bıldır rolled up her sleeves to turn this risky situation into an opportunity. By finishing up the airport construction within a short period of nine months, she signed off a great success. By this means, she gained attention of global companies that wanted to do business in Basra. Filiz Bıldır tells that they are progressing through speedy and quality investment in airport and villa construction, and even though she used to walk on streets of Basra with security guards at the beginning, today she walks on the streets as someone who is respected by the community. Bıldır, who had rebuilt Basra from A-Z with 400 staff on her team, also develops special projects in countries like Iraq, Qatar, and Kuwait.

Challenged difficulties
Filiz Bıldır, who puts on her hard helmet and overalls and stays at work from morning until the night, emphasizes that it is very difficult for a woman to decide to be in one of the world’s most dangerous war zones like Basra. Bıldır says: “When we went to Basra, my son was just a year old. I had many difficulties when I left him in Istanbul and went to Basra and started a brand new business. We were faced with an oil-rich country which just came out of a war. Due to security reasons many projects were left incomplete. It was just like a deserted state. With an offer from the U.S. government we started our first job in Basra. We built a military airport for the U.S. government.  Our project was well-liked with it features of latest technology and its ability not to be caught by the radar.”

“We never left any of our jobs unfinished”
Bıldır, who says that they always delivered the project earlier than promised, continues her speech “We nearly competed with time. Within just a short time of nine months, we completed and delivered a carefully planned and detailed project.  Americans really liked our short delivery speed and rigor with American standards.  They told us that they wanted to work with us on Afghanistan projects, too.  But we decided to stay in Basra. We designed luxurious villas for the prominent families and executives in Basra. We built ultra luxurious villas in which each detail such as a barber and a hamam inside had been considered. After our success in our work, we started to design and build quality bridges, hospitals and schools. At first, there was a problem with trust. They thought that we would also leave it unfinished. When at first we had to walk here with security guards, we no longer need it. Because the Iraqi people and Turkish people are very similar. When they trust you, they see you as someone who is part of their family. Now it is possible to see someone we know whenever we knock on a door.”

She has a fighter and a persistent soul 
Bıldır voices that they had to fight with the problem of finding construction materials locally in Basra, and says “Because of this we had to go for a strong configuration in the export and logistic area. The businessmen in Basra appreciated our work. After that we became a brand in Basra. Working in a country after a war is difficult no matter if you are a man or woman. Being a woman architect and entrepreneur and doing business in Basra, we had prepared ourselves for the most difficult situations and to have a fighter and persistent soul. In order to do business in Basra you have to be very patient and make very little mistakes.”

Special Projects in Turkey
Other than the Middle East within the past year having focused on Turkish oriented market museums, conference centers, shopping centers, real-estate, business centers and hospitals, Bıldır underlines and gives information about their 2014 goals: “We attach high importance to Turkish market. Especially we will take advantage of the opportunities in the area of urban transformation and mutuality. We will design and build quality and unique buildings. We will focus on collaboration and investment with foreign investor groups. We will focus on our expertise of quality buildings in Turkish and Middle East markets. We will continue our investments either with our own capital or with strategic collaborations.”

Who is Filiz Bıldır?
After graduating from architecture department in Istanbul Technical University in 2007, she worked in Turkey’s famous companies for 8 years. Afterwards she established her own company Dore Architecture. Having started with only 3 people at the beginning, the company currently employs 400 people. After Dore Architecture, 2 more companies which are called Kor Construction and Dore Real-Estate have been started. We signed off on designing luxurious villas and real-estate in Turkey.”