ⓘ Architecture of Turkey or Turkish Architecture in the Republican Period refers to the architecture practised in the territory of present-day Turkey since the fo ..


ⓘ Architecture of Turkey

Architecture of Turkey or Turkish Architecture in the Republican Period refers to the architecture practised in the territory of present-day Turkey since the foundation of the republic in 1923. In the first years of the republic, Turkish architecture was influenced by Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, in particular during the First National Architectural Movement However, starting from the 1930s, architectural styles began to differ from traditional architecture, also as a result of an increasing number of foreign architects being invited to work in the country, mostly from Germany and Austria. The Second World War was a period of isolation, during which the Second National Architectural Movement emerged. Similar to Fascist architecture, the movement aimed to create a modern but nationalistic architecture.

Starting from the 1950s, isolation from the rest of the world began to diminish, which enabled the Turkish architects to experiment with new styles and become increasingly inspired by their counterparts in the rest of the world. However, they were largely constrained by the lack of technological infrastructure or insufficient financial resources until the 1980s. Thereafter, the liberalization of the economy and the shift towards export-led growth paved the way for the private sector to become the leading influence on architecture in Turkey.


1. 1920s to early 1930s: First national architectural movement

The First National Architectural Movement Turkish: Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık Akımı was an architectural movement led by Turkish architects Vedat Tek 1873–1942 and Mimar Kemaleddin Bey 1870–1927. Followers of the movement wanted to create a new and "national" architecture, which was based on motifs from Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. The movement was also labelled Turkish Neoclassical architecture, or the National Architectural Renaissance. Other prominent followers of this movement were Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu 1888–1982 and Giulio Mongeri 1873–1953. Notable buildings from this era are the Istanbul Main Post Office 1905–1909, Tayyare Apartments 1919–1922, Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han 1911–1926, State Art and Sculpture Museum 1927–1930, Ethnography Museum of Ankara 1925–1928, Bebek Mosque, and Kamer Hatun Mosque.


2. 1930s to 1950s: Modernism and the influence of foreign architects

The Bauhaus style Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion 1935 and the Art Deco style Ankara Central Station 1937 are among the notable examples of this era. As there were not enough architects in Turkey until the 1950s, various architects were invited by the government from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France, in order to manage the rapid construction of the new capital Ankara. About 40 architects and urban planners designed and oversaw various projects mostly in Ankara, and to a lesser extent in Istanbul and Izmir between 1924 and 1942. Among them were Gudrun Baudisch, Rudolf Belling, Paul Bonatz, Ernst Arnold Egli, Martin Elsaesser, Anton Hanak, Franz Hillinger, Clemens Holzmeister, Henri Prost, Paolo Vietti-Violi, Werner Issel, Hermann Jansen, Theodor Jost, Heinrich Krippel, Carl Christoph Lorcher, Robert Oerley, Bernhard Pfau, Bruno Taut and Josef Thorak.

Selected examples of buildings from this era are the Bauhaus style Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion 1935 designed by Seyfi Arkan; the Art Deco style Ankara railway station 1937 designed by Sekip Akalın; the Court of Cassation building 1933–35 designed by Clemens Holzmeister; the Faculty of Languages, History and Geography building 1937 of Ankara University designed by Bruno Taut; and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey building 1938–63 designed by Clemens Holzmeister.


2.1. 1930s to 1950s: Modernism and the influence of foreign architects Second national architectural movement

Inspired by the design characteristics of Fascist architecture in Italy and Nazi architecture in Germany, which sought a modern interpretation of Neoclassical architecture i.e. the architecture of a modern era Roman Empire, according to their ideologies, there was a trend towards creating a new national architecture in Turkey around the 1940s. The movement was called the Second National Architectural Movement Turkish: Ikinci Ulusal Mimarlık Akımı. The large number of foreign architects employed in Turkey in this period especially from Germany and Austria was a major factor in the introduction of these architectural movements and their stylistical characteristics. The pioneers of the movement in Turkey were Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Emin Onat. In order to lead this movement, Sedad Hakkı Eldem, who was a professor, held National Architecture seminars at the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, focusing on the traditional Turkish house styles.

Similar to their contemporary equivalents in Italy and Germany, the government buildings of this style in Ankara and Istanbul had typically large proportions in order to give the impression of a strong state authority. Some of them also had monumental facade designs reminiscent of Neoclassical architecture; but with more modern and plain rectangular shapes, symmetry, simplicity, and a general lack of ornateness.

Some of the buildings related to this style are the Ankara Opera House designed by Sevki Balmumcu 1933–34 and renovated by Paul Bonatz 1946–47; the TCDD General Headquarters Building designed by Bedri Uçar in 1938; Istanbul University Faculty of Science and Faculty of Literature buildings 1944–52; Anıtkabir 1944–53; Istanbul Radio Headquarters 1945–49; Sisli Mosque 1945–49; and the Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial 1954–60. The movement was particularly influential between 1935 and 1950. From the 1950s, the influence of this style started to diminish due to the next wave of influences, especially International Style and Rationalism.


3. 1950s and more Western influence

At the beginning of the 1950s, a new generation of architects such as Nevzat Erol, Turgut Cansever, Abdurrahman Hancı, Cengiz Bektas, Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, Enver Tokay, Ilhan Tayman and Yılmaz Sanlı became more influential in the architectural arena. These were architects who either studied in Europe or had information of the modernist architecture of the time. Their quest for modernist architecture was in line with the International Style and Rationalism. However, the development of the Turkish economy was an important factor as well. Even though Turkish architects were able to follow up on the modern design of important architects of the time, they were constrained by the lack of technological infrastructure or insufficient financial resources.

Selected examples of buildings from this era are the Anadolu Club Hotel 1951–1957 in Buyukada designed by Turgut Cansever and Abdurrahman Hancı; Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus 1952–1955 designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Sedad Hakkı Eldem; Istanbul Municipality Headquarters 1953–1960 designed by Nevzat Erol; Emek Business Center 1959–1965 in Ankara designed by Enver Tokay and Ilhan Tayman; and Tekel Headquarters 1958–1960 in Istanbul designed by Yılmaz Sanlı and Ilhan Tayman.

One of the most important developments of this period was the establishment of the Chamber of Architects of Turkey in 1954. Various professional organizations for architects had existed beforehand, but there were no laws for the architectural profession until 1954.


4. 1960s and 1970s

Following the 1960 coup detat, Turkey endured various kinds of political and economic crises which affected the construction industry as well as the architectural sector. Despite these hardships, architects were able to design some important buildings. Abandoning Rationalism, Turkish architects tried to design their buildings in more flexible and fragmented forms. Important works from this period are the Vakıflar Hotel in Istanbul 1968, today the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel, Middle East Technical University Campuses 1961 in Ankara, Istanbul Manufacturers Market 1959, Turkish Historical Society Building 1967, Grand Ankara Hotel 1960, today the Rixos Grand Ankara Hotel and Ataturk Cultural Center 1969 in Istanbul.

As a result of economic and social turbulence, architecture in Turkey suffered also in the 1970s. There were no significant breakthroughs during this period. Some important designs from the 1970s are the Turkish Language Association Building 1972, Ataturk Library 1973 and Abdi Ipekçi Arena 1979.


5. 1980s to present

In January 1980, the government of Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel began implementing a far-reaching reform program designed by then Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry Turgut Ozal to shift Turkeys economy toward export-led growth. These reforms had a positive effect on the construction industry and architecture. New methods such as prefabrication and curtain wall systems were introduced to Turkish architects and contractors in the 1980s. In addition, steel, aluminum, plastic and glass production increased, which allowed architects to free themselves from rigid forms.

Until the 1980s, the government sector was the leading client when it came to architecture and construction. However, the liberalization of the economy paved the way for the private sector to become the leading influence. Notable architects from this period include Behruz Çinici, Merih Karaaslan, Sevinç Hadi, Sandor Hadi, Ersen Gursel, Mehmet Çubuk, Doğan Tekeli, Sami Sisa, Emre Arolat, Murat Tabanlıoğlu, Melkan Tabanlıoğlu, Husrev Tayla, Doğan Hasol, Atilla Yucel, Sema Soygenis, Murat Soygenis and Kaya Arıkoğlu, among others.

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