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Architecture - SICA_Mapping Istanbul

Architecture - SICA_Mapping Istanbul

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Published by Veysel Yuce

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Published by: Veysel Yuce on May 02, 2012
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*Architecture [I] *
Pelin Derviş
*Introduction [II] *
One of the basic dilemmas of architecture in Turkey is the question where it fits in the globalarchitectural scene. This identity question concerns both the architectural styles used, and its normsand overriding philosophy. The question of what
„Turkish architecture‟ is
forms the basis of a strugglethat various professionals working in the field are engaged in. There are also those, just as in the fieldof design, who are skeptical of 
the need for a „Turkish architecture/design‟ to emerge
. Theaforementioned struggle often results in
limited binary discourses such as “architecture in this countryexists/doesn't exist” or “we should protect/produce our own values.”
It also forms the basis of most of the architecture publications that actually are few in terms of numbers, the reward mechanisms,chambers and other associations, and even of professional education. In other words, these institutionskeep the aforementioned restricted binary discourses going. Although the construction industry ispowerful and omnipresent in Turkey, the quality of the built environment is often criticized (and oftenquite rightly so). At the same t
ime, the “authentic” a
rchitecture in Turkey is only looked at through thebinary oppositions of local versus global. From this perspective, no matter how positive certainstatistics seem (such as the high number of universities with faculties/departments of architecture, thenumber of architects, the power of the construction industry etc.) it is important to understand and takeinto account the aforementioned struggle before drawing conclusions about the state of architecture inTurkey. It can be argued that architecture in Turkey shot itself in the foot. Discourses may beideologically (politically) tainted, out of context and/or extremely generalized, which results in
readings. Perhaps new and fresh readings which dissect the existing discourses, which decipher thelinks with other factors that affect architecture directly or indirectly, and which reconstruct it, willemerge not from architecture itself but from other areas: primarily contemporary art but also literature,sociology, economy, and others. The following paragraphs on architecture, urban planning andlandscape design take snapshots of the architectural environment in Turkey, and is also enumerating,albeit within the limitations mentioned above, the institutions, the people and the publications thatform this environment.
*Short history of architecture [II] *
Gökhan Karakuş
The development of architecture in the Republic of Turkey has been tied to the shifting demands of politics and economics. Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, trends in architecturehave been determined either by the top-down dictates of the state as part of nation building, or by the
expansion and diversification of Turkey‟s economy
which began in the 1960s.* Early 20
century modernism [III] *The project of Modernism in Turkey took on the larger role of building a modern system in the entirecountry, and on many different levels in society. Modern architecture aligned with these goals. Turkeyis not a unique case in this regard, as similar developments can be seen in countries such as Brazil,India or Mexico in the 20
century. Architecture in Turkey may be unique in the way that the manyconcurrent themes of the modern projects are both negotiated and merge together in a very brief period. East/west, north/south, Europe/Asia, Islam/Christianity, sedentary/nomad, industrial/agrarian,
modern/primitive, for the last 100 years Turkey‟s geography has been the site of critical convergences
of these basic issues determining ideology, culture and hence architecture. The constant shifting of social forces has made architecture in Turkey in the 20
century largely a reactive pursuit. Architectsin Turkey have reacted to the overriding forces of the moment to produce what could be labeled as asecondary or by-product architecture. Throughout the 20
century architecture in Turkey vacillatedback and forth between styles that were either based on the concept of Turkish nationality orinternational modernism.
* Republican Period [III] *If we look at the early Republican Period, particularly in the work of architects from the FirstRepublican Architecture movement such as Kemalettin and Vedad Tek, we see an attempt at resolvingOttoman forms with the dictates of function and an understatement of early modernist architecture inEurope of the 1910-1920s. This architecture utilized the classical Ottoman style of architecture as abasis for a more regular and standard idiom for large public buildings in the major cities, and was notapplied to domestic architecture. In the 1920s, as state building started to gain momentum, Turkeyimported a number of German speaking Central European architects to design governmental buildingsboth in Ankara and the rest of Turkey. Abandoning historicism altogether, this period was heavilyindebted to the architecture of the Neue Sachlichkeit and of figures such as Bruno Taut, Ernst Egli,Clemens Holzmeister, Theodor Jost, Hermann Jansen, and Martin Wagner, who came to Turkey in the1920s and 1930s to work. The effects and influence of these foreign architects would be seen in thework of the Turkish architects of the 1930s,
such as Şevki Balmumcu, Rüknettin Güney, Seyfi Arkanand Sedad Hakkı Eldem. These Turkish architects
, who were influenced by the work of the Germanarchitects, made the first attempts at a modernist vocabulary in an abstract and geometric architecturewith no connections to Turkish or Ottoman precedents. This architecture was successful in so far as itwas utilized for more than the architecture of the state, in the construction of public and privatehousing, leisure and cultural buildings.* National Architecture [III] *As the tides of nationalism increased in Europe, so did it in Turkey with the appearance in the late1930s of the second National Movement in architecture led by the major figure of 20
architecture in Turkey, Sedad Hakkı Eldem. His National Architecture seminars
at the Academy of 
Fine Arts looked in detail at the “Turkish House” and similar Turkish issues to influence a generation
of architects to produce a modern yet stylistically Turkish architecture. Eldem applied his Ottomanand modern fusion well into the 1940s and 1950s throughout Turkey in reinforced concrete buildingsparallel to the work of other figures of the day, such as E
min Onat and Doğan Erginbaş.
Like itspredecessor, this second National Architecture, which was in a style that in some instances was closeto the Fascist architecture of the Italian Giuseppe Terragni and the cold and rational Stalinistarchitecture of the Soviet Union, did not survive long because it was being overwhelmed by the nextwave of global architectural currents.* High Modernism in the
50s and
60s [III] *Although Eldem continued to create works in the National Architecture style and was a populararchitect through the 1950s and 1960s, his architectural vision was soon to be replaced by anothergroup of young architects, some of whom were trained in Europe and worked there, which gave thema taste for the then current style of modernist architecture. Figures such as Turgut Cansever,
Aburrahman Hancı and later Cengiz Bektaş and Hayati Tabanlıoğlu
were practitioners of an austerebrand of modernist architecture which they had encountered in their experiences in Europe. Theyerased any lingering interest in the historical past to focus on regularized and spare geometries that
echoed the work of modernist masters such as Le Corbusier. Others such as Utarit İzgi, Nevzat Erol,
Enver Tokay and Nevzat Erol in the 1950s and
Doğan Tekeli, Sam
i Sisa, Metin Hepgüler, Behruz
Çinici, Şevki Vanlı in the 1960s
were active in developing this modernist architecture in a formallylooser and programmatically (?) less disciplined way. They did this for all types of functions, fromhotels and housing to offices and shopping complexes, and in line with the expansion of the Turkisheconomy in these decades. The two major figures in this period,
Cansever and Bektaş
, were especiallyable to continue their vision in a disciplined way well up into the late 1980s
the former developingan interest in metaphysics and Islam, and the latter a deep understanding of vernacular architecture inTurkey.* The
60s and
70s [III] *Turkey of the late 1960s and 1970s suffered from a number of political and economic crises that had amajor effect on architectural practice. Military coup
, political violence, the war in Cyprus, andan endless string of ineffective coalition governments combined with inflation, unemployment anduncontrolled urbanization all weakened the architectural production. While architects continued toproduce some important works in the modernist idiom in buildings, such as the Atatürk Kültür
Merkezi and Atatürk Airport in Istanbul designed
 by Hayati Tabanlıoğlu
, or the Turkish LanguageFoundation designed
 by Cengiz Bektaş,
architecture in Turkey up into the mid-1980s was designed ina competent but undistinguished style motivated by the interests of the construction sector, or to alesser extent, the state.* The
80s and
90s [III] *While the liberalization of the economy in the 1980s did spur some new ideas, particularly copies of the post-modern architecture of the U.S. and Europe, the architecture culture had not developed in anymeaningful way since the flowering of the modernism of the early 1960s. Architects active in this
 period such as Sami Sisa, Doğan
Tekeli, Doğan Hasol, Şaziment Arolat, Neşet Arolat, Sevinç Hadi,Şandor Hadi, Mehmet Konuralp, Atilla Yücel,
and Filiz Erkal produced capable work of a generallyneutral character that liberally used modernist, post-modernist and historicist styles, but with nosignificant architectonic rationale or formal innovation. These architects would be joined in the later1980s and early 1990s by the likes of 
Turgut Alton, Tuncay Çavdar, Turhan Kaşo, Yaşar Marulyalı,Levent Aksüt, Erkut Şahinbaş,
and Doruk Pamir in producing what could be termed corporatearchitecture for the now strengthened private sector in Turkey. A small group of architects takingadvantage of increased opportunities to building in the 1980s and 1990s were figures such as AtillaYücel, Merih Ka
raaslan and Kaya Arıkoğlu
. They pursued more refined modernist typologies basedon the awareness of regional contexts, especially outside Istanbul. Noteworthy was the continuinginvestigation into the connections between typology and architectonics in the work of Atilla Yücel,who for example in his
7 Houses project
in Sapanca skillfully fused type and structure in a formallyrobust way. Later he was able to apply this in Albania and Montenegro as one of the very few Turkisharchitects to work there.* Architecture & urban development in the
70s and
80s [III] *The hodge-podge of architectural styles of the 1970s and 1980s, mirroring the ups and downs of Turkish economics and politics, is perhaps less important than the larger urban dynamics of the majorcities of Turkey.
Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara were hit by waves of migrants from the country side
producing what is perhaps the most important architecture of the period, the squatter houses known as
, the most enduring legacy of later 20
century upon the built environment of Turkey.* Contemporary architecture in the
90s [III] *It is only in the 1990s that contemporary architecture started to gain its own identity, deriving anddriving an agenda based on architectural concerns distinct from socio-economic trends. Modernarchitecture as a basis for an economy of practice in developing countries such as Turkey presents thechallenge to build efficiently using materials and techniques at hand. But beyond this focus on praxisthere always lies the important question of the basis of architecture and building itself, the raison
of building, or better, the systems of knowledge guiding architectural thought. To assemble arationale for building architecture in countries outside of the western traditions presents thefundamental question of resolving the old with the new.* Rethinking modernism & local building [III] *Starting from the early 1990s,
a group of architects based in Istanbul, Nevzat Sayın, Emre Arolat, HanTümertekin and Şevk 
i Pekin, were able to articulate a distinct style and way of working unique in the
country‟s history
. It was a negotiation between modernism and a bottom up understanding of thenature of local building in architectonic and pragmatic terms. Coming at a time of economic expansionand internationalization, after many years of stagnation in architectural practice this group was able tobuild in a way that met longstanding aesthetic and ethical concerns. This historical moment started inthe early 1990s and was successful in as much as the confluence of economic, political and mostimportantly, methodological issues produced a number of buildings of architectural distinction thathad relevance to global practice and to everyday society.Understanding the potentialities of local knowledge, this group was able to articulate a new type of modernism that integrated local building practices with vernacular architecture. They mixed thisindigenous archaism with a forward looking new organization of space and form. The work of thesearchitects was at once home with the informal every day building practices that produced most of thebuilding of the day in Turkey - an architecture that is able to use these ancient strains of thought as a

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