Istanbul, a city which developed as the capital of an empire that spanned the centuries, experienced the modern urbanization process in the twenty-first century; Istanbul entered the twentieth century as a globally important city and an imperial capital. The era following the first ten years of the new century, one in which imperial battles were fought and in which the process that brought the empire to destruction with defeat in the First World War began, was a period that was troubled not only politically for the capital Istanbul, but also economically and culturally. At the end of this process, in which there was only limited change in the urban texture, the city lost its identity as the capital; after the declaration of the Republic and the selection of Ankara as the seat of government, Istanbul underwent significant changes in its physical structure.

During the wars that ultimately led to the end of the empire, the city had already lost much of its population; Ankara was chosen as the capital as bureaucrats left Istanbul at the beginning of the 1920s, and just ten years later, the 1,000,000 populations of Istanbul had decreased by half. With the declaration of the Republic, as the empire transitioned into a nation-state, the population of Istanbul decreased and a transformation towards homogenization of the poly-cultural structure of the city took place.

Boulevards, Squares and Parks

The Republican administration, which saw the construction of the capital, Ankara, and Anatolian cities as a priority, did not make a great deal of investment in Istanbul in the early years. Foreign capital, affected by the modernization of the city in the late Ottoman period, was withdrawn from the city as part of the nationalization political framework of the Republic. As a result, Istanbul did not experience many structural changes in the 1920s, a time when the new administration experienced both political and economic difficulties. Again, in the early Republican period, in Istanbul, as in the rest of the country, urban spatial nature was shaped more by state enterprises than by private undertakings. With the modernization approach, the new administration realized that spatial transformation in Istanbul was determined by planned undertakings in physical infrastructure and urban landscaping rather than in the construction of singular buildings.

One of the most important local structures that gave a “modern” identity to the city was the squares, which were employed in an attempt to introduce a new identity to the city. The construction of new squares in the city can be observed in the earliest years of the Republic. In 1923-24, Beyazıt Square, located in the center of the Historical Peninsula, was formed as a public open space with the arrangement of a fountain and pool in its center, according to a design by Asım Kömürcüoğlu. This implementation was followed by making Taksim Square (Picture 1) as a terminal point; the new settlement areas of the city stretched to this point from the Historical Peninsula. Pietro Canonica’s Republican Memorial, which took shape according to the design of Giulio Mongeri, who had designed the base of the memorial and the surrounding area, was the most important element of the square; when this memorial was placed in Taksim Square in 1928, the square became a symbol of the city during the Republican administration, as well as the center for national ceremonies.

1- Taksim Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Given that in the last century of the Ottomans the new developments had stretched beyond the Historical Peninsula, which had been the center of Istanbul, taking place in the Galata-Pera region in particular, it is not surprising to see that after the Republic development from these two focal points continued. The connection of the Historical Peninsula with Beyoğlu, another important center of Istanbul in the twentieth century, with Unkapanı (Atatürk) Bridge in the early years of the Republic, (construction began in 1927) is an example of the reconstruction of the city from a holistic perception.

In this framework, the aim of which can be defined as the “modernization” of Republican cities, after the competitions which had been arranged for planning the capital of Ankara, in 1933 a competition for the structural plan of Istanbul, as a pioneer city for similar undertakings in many other cities, was announced. Alfred Agache, Herman Elgötz and J. Lambert were invited to partake in this competition; the report presented by Elgötz was selected, however it was never implemented. After this, in 1935 a report was requested from Martin Wagner; it is known that this report was evaluated. In the period following these first attempts, research by Henri Prost, who was invited to Istanbul in 1936, continued until 1951; Prost’s suggestions were partially implemented in this period.

The implementation of the Prost plans were realized after Lütfi Kırdar was appointed as governor and mayor of Istanbul in 1938. Kırdar supported Prost and his approach; the undertakings of the former, which can be defined as an attempt to create a “new” city, took shape in matters of transportation, hygiene and aesthetics. In this framework, the main arteries of the city which defined the city centers and which were connected to one another were expanded to make wide roads for automobiles; squares were formed at the end points of these roads. The squares were emphasized by memorials, thus creating a transportation network within the city and connecting the different centers of Istanbul to one another, easing efforts to unite the city.

Perhaps one of the most important new axes was the Atatürk Boulevard, which was opened in 1941. This road was a continuation of the Atatürk Bridge, which had connected Beyoğlu to the Historical Peninsula, and connected the Golden Horn to Yenikapı. In a similar way, while the line between Eminönü and Unkapanı was opened on the Historical Peninsula in this period, the axes on the Beyoğlu side between Galata and Tophane and Taksim and Tepebaşı were opened and developed, as well as the Bağdat Street in Kadıköy. In addition to the new arrangement of Sultan Ahmet, the most important square on the Historical Peninsula in this period, Sirkeci Square, in front of the train station, was also completed. The most important undertakings that were realized in this region included the Eminönü Square in front of the New Mosque, and the tearing down of many structures that were seen as “worthless”; in this way, an open public area was formed. The destruction of some old structures in the Beyazıt Square created a spacious open public space. Simultaneously in this process, undertakings to protect large scale structures increased; for example, along with the destruction of small structures in the area, the New Mosque and the Spice Market in Eminönü Square, and Beyazıt Mosque in Beyazıt Square were repaired, the squares were completed and monuments that “beautified” the area were built. The Karaköy Square, which was formed as a counterpart to Eminönü Square on the Beyoğlu side, was formed in the same way, by tearing down pre-existing structures. On the European side, the Kabataş, Dolmabahçe and Barbaros (Beşiktaş) squares, and on the Anatolian side the Üsküdar and Kadıköy squares were formed in a similar way, completing the piers. Following the example of urbanization that was implemented by Haussman in the nineteenth century, this practical implementation of modernization not only created squares and boulevards that were intended to establish the “new” city feel, but the old structures were sacrificed. Important buildings from the older structure were identified as “eternal” and their protection was brought to the fore.

The design used to create Prost’s “beautiful city” designated “free areas” and formulated open areas beyond merely squares, including promenade areas and viewing terraces. In the 1930s and 1940s many green areas, like Abbasağa Park, Aksaray Park, Anadoluhisarı Park, Ahadofya Park, Bakırköy Park, Heybeliada Park, Tarabya Park, Vişnezade Park, Yeniköy Park, Yeşilköy Park and Yoğurtçu Park were created. In addition to these small dimension parks, the most important area in this region was that which was identified as “No. 2 Park” on Prost’s plan, both for the expanse of the area and its effect in establishing the urban and public identity of Istanbul.

2- The Monument of Republic and İnönü Promenade (Taksim Square)  (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

In the nineteenth century, with the destruction of the auxiliary buildings to Taksim Topçu (artillery) Barracks, which were constructed during the era of Sultan Abdülmecid, Taksim Square was widened and landscaped; after this, with the destruction of the barracks structure itself, a terrace and park was formed to the north of the square. This park, known as Taksim Gezi, or in commemoration of the president of the era, İnönü Gezi, was combined with Taksim Gardens to the north; this latter area was one of the first park arrangements that was open to the public during the Ottomans, opening in 1868. This was also connected to No. 2 Park. With the formation of Taksim Square as an area open to the public and the distinction of No. 2 Park as the largest green area in the city on Prost’s plan, from the 1930s on this region developed as the center of the city. This region, which had the largest open public space, is one of the best examples of the role of planning in the “beautification” of Istanbul and the “modernization” of city life.

Entertainment, Cultural and Educational Structures

When Taksim Square and the changes made in the area in the 1940s are taken into account with No. 2 Park, it can be seen that a design that renovated the city center as a public area was realized and that the areas were transformed into a “cultural valley” (Picture 2). In addition to the formation of a public green area, known as Taksim Gezi in the section of the No. 2 Park that overlooks Taksim Square, in one corner of Gezi stood the Taksim Gazinosu (an open-air cafe), designed by Rüknettin Güney. In the section of No. 2 Park that opens towards the sea, the Taşlık Kahvesi (coffeehouse), designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldmer, was built in 1948. With the destruction of the structures in the east of Taksim Square, space was opened and the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi (Cultural Center) was built; construction of the center was begun in the 1940s according to the designs of Rüknettin Güney and Feridun Kip. The building was originally intended to be an opera building, however, when the building was completed in the 1960s, in keeping with a design by Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, it became a cultural center. The designs of Nihad Yücel and Nahih Uysal for the Açıkhava Tiyatrosu (open air theater) were realized in 1946 and 1947. This building was placed on a natural incline in the park, thus increasing the role of the region and the city in cultural life. In the same era the area that had been made by tearing down the palace stables, located in the area that stretched from the park to Dolmabahçe, was used for the construction of the İnönü Stadium; this structure was designed by Paolo Vietti-Violi, Şinasi Şahingiray and Fazıl Aysu in 1947. The Spor ve Sergi Sarayı (sports and exhibition palace), built on the northern limits of the park, was given the name of Lütfi Kırdar, after the governor and mayor of the era in which the structure was built. This building was designed by the same architect and built in 1949. İstanbul Radyoevi (Radio House) is located in the northwestern section of the park, and was built in 1945 according to the designs of Doğan Erginbaş, İsmail Utkular and Ömer Günay. Thus, this region, which grew starting from Taksim Square with open areas and public buildings, giving the area a ceremonial air that was in keeping with the identity of the Republic, presented opportunities for recreation, sports, entertainment and cultural activities. From the 1940s on the region became the most important center of Istanbul.

The new structural environment, created in the 1930s and 1940s in No. 2 Park and around Taksim Square and Taksim Gezi, played host to entertainment-cultural functions; it can be seen that in particular the pioneering role of the new cultural areas continued in this way in the early Republican period. The existence of the Halk Evleri (people’s houses), one of the most effective institutions in the period for education and culture, strengthened this effect. Even though most of these institutions used historical buildings, among the total seventeen Halk Evi that were opened before 1950 in Istanbul, there were new buildings; one of these, the Kadıköy Halkevi (Picture 3), designed by Rüknettin Güney, won a contest.

Rüknettin Güney was an architect who held the post of director of development during the last years of Lütfü Kırdar’s admistration, which lasted from 1938 to 1951; this was a period in which the public spaces of the city center were designed. Rüknettin Güney worked in the Istanbul Metropolitan Council, and made many important and pioneering contributions to modern Istanbul, designing many of the major structures in the city center. Among the buildings that were constructed while Rüknettin Güney worked in the city council are Taksim Belediye Gazinosu (council cafe), Tenis Eskrim ve Dağcılık Külübü (tennis, fencing and mountaineering club), which he designed with Fazıl Aysu, and Florya Belediye Gazinosu. The Taksim Belediye Gazinosu, which is remarkable for the sense of movement in the mass, created by differences in the façade, was torn down in the 1960s to make room for the construction of Ceylan Intercontinental, which is today the Sheraton Hotel; the Tenis, Eskrim ve Dağcılık Külübu was torn down to make way for the Hyatt Hotel in the 1980s. Güney worked freelance after 1951; the buildings he designed during this period include the Divan Oteli (with Avedis Hubeser) in the city center, the Bayer Apartmanı in Nişantaşı, the Çukurova Apartmanı in Şişli, which no longer is standing today, caravansaray in Elmadağ, and the Şişli Kent and the Nişantaşı Konak cinemas. Finally, with Fatin Uran, Güney worked on the Intercontinental Hotel project in Taksim (today the Marmara Hotel). In the 1940s Güney presents an approach that seeks a balance between classic architecture and modern movement, bringing together a mass configuration that is partially symmetric while being functional; it can be said that the structures from the 1950s and later matured with a dominant international style.

3- Unkapanı Bridge built over the Golden Horn (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

In addition to the “cultural valley” which formed in the center during the public improvement works in the city, and the building of halkevis, the museums which had been formed during the Ottoman era continued their existence as important cultural institutions in the new era Istanbul. The Republican administration opened new museums, and allowed the power that had been transferred to the city from the Ottoman era in the cultural arena to be strengthened. While the new administration renewed the imperial administrative and religious institutions, it preferred to transform these structures into museums. In this way Topkapı and Dolmabahçe palaces were transformed into museums. The Resim Heykel Müzesi (picture and statue museum) was placed in the buildings that made up Dolmabahçe Palace. Hagia Sofia, built as a church in the Byzantine period, but used by the Ottomans as a mosque, was transformed into a museum after the declaration of the Republic.

4- The view of Aksaray region from Atatürk Boulevard (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

On the other hand, the effect of the universities and other education and cultural institutions that were established in the late Ottoman period was strengthened by schools that were opened in the Republican period. The educational structures occupied an effective place in the urban spatiality; however, as these institutions generally carried out their functions in historical structures, they did not play very important roles in the formation of new architecture. As can be seen by the example of Istanbul University, which started by using the Harbiye Nezareti (naval ministry) building, the key location of Istanbul University on Beyazıt Square in the center of the Historical Peninsula, the Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi (fine arts academy), located in Çifte Saraylar on the Bosphorus, Istanbul Technical University, located in the Taşkışla building close to Taksim, and Yıldız Technical University, which used part of the structures of Yıldız Palace, the higher education institutions of the era generally occupied historical structures remaining from the Ottoman period; thus, for some time there was no need to build new structures for these institutions.

Even though many historical structures were transformed into primary and middle schools, as can be seen in the example of the Fındıklı Primary School, completed between 1932 and 1934 according to the design of Georges Debés, some education structures were new builds. While the new school structures were designed according to the period perception of architecture, in a plain style, when it came to 1940, a historical referenced design can be seen. The auxiliary building that was constructed for Istanbul University, Faculty of Science and Literature (picture 4) in 1943, according to a design by Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Emin Onat, is the most important example of the period style that can be called “second nationalist”.

5- Beyazıt Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

While the structures that were built as part of the public improvement initiative on the Historical Peninsula in this period used the neo-classical architectural style of the 1940s, with high colonnades and stone-covered façades on the entrance floors, details like the dimensions of the windows on the upper floors or the wide eaves and sloping roofs made reference to traditional residential architecture; thus, different aspects of the historical approach were represented in the structure during the war years.

Sedad Hakkı Eldem, who became active in architecture in the 1930s, and taught at the Architectural Department of Istanbul Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi (state fine arts academy - later to be Mimar Sinan University), was a representative of the first generation of Republican architects; indeed, Eldem was the most influential architect in forming a historical approach. At the start of the 1930s, Eldem, whose structures were concentrated in Istanbul and who was a very effective architect in forming the identity of the city in the Republican period, produced designs for only a few buildings which reflected a purist and modernist style; very few of these remain today. From 1934 on, he gave lectures at the academy. These were called Millî Mimarlık Semineri (national architectural seminar); in this way he made efforts in education which concentrated on documenting Ottoman civil architecture, in particular. This was based upon his architectural approach. This seminar course and the private undertakings which Eldem carried out resulted in a magnificent documentation of Ottoman period residential architecture in Istanbul and its surroundings; it is known that some of this work was lost in a fire that broke out in 1948 at the academy. This blueprint study included photographs and documents of Istanbul; Eldem first identified “local architecture” and based on the tradition of civil architecture formed an architectural approach upon the axis of the Türk Evi (Turkish house). In the 1940s, with a more historical approach, the recreational facility, Taşlık Kahvesi, built on a corner of the “cultural valley” of Taksim –later to be torn down - was a replica of the Amcazade Yalısı Divanhanesi; this building was an example of the radicalization of this approach.

6- Eminönü New Mosque Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

The Beyoğlu area, the center of which is Taksim - where the Taşlık Kahvesi was located - continued as the place where the new Turkish life style was rapidly transforming, reflecting these changes from the era of the late Ottomans. Istanbul, which continued as a pioneering city in the areas of entertainment, culture and education in the early Republican period, formed exemplary locations of the developing new life style of the Republic in the country; among these İstiklal Avenue, the main axis of Beyoğlu, came to the fore. This avenue provided modern entertainment for the residents and visitors of Istanbul with its cinemas, theaters, restaurants and patisseries. On the other hand, despite the character of the region of Beyoğlu and Taksim as a strong center, modern lifestyle was not limited to the city center alone. The Florya Deniz Köşkü (sea pavilion), which was designed in the middle of the 1930s by Seyfi Arkan for President Atatürk, was in Yeşilköy; the new lifestyle spread from the center of Istanbul to this area, as well as to Kadıköy and the houses on the islands, with beaches (picture 5), pools and clubs, entertainment and recreation resort areas.

It is thought that the first beach in Istanbul was Tarabya, which had been used throughout history for medical sea treatments. To take advantage of the sea, first wooden structures, known as deniz hamamı (sea baths) were built, with separate ones for men and women. While it was possible to encounter these structures in front of the summer embassies along the Bosphorus, for the first time during the Republican period men and women went swimming in the sea together on the Büyükdere coast; there were complaints about this, and the matter was examined by Atatürk, who visited the location; in time such usage of the beach became accepted. The first important beach in Istanbul, without a doubt, was Florya Beach, which formed around the Prime Minister’s Deniz Köşkü in Florya. The formation of the Florya Köşkü in the sea made it possible for Istanbul residents to use the beach around the pavilion with ease; the image of Atatürk being with the people became one of the symbols of the cultural changes brought about by the Republic. Immediately after the completion of the Florya Köşkü in 1934, the Halk Plajı (people’s beach) facilities were brought to life by Seyfi Arkan; this was immediately next to the pavilion. There were changing rooms on the bottom floor, while the upper floor included an open-air cafeteria; this beach was not used for years, but was brought back to life in the 2000s. At the end of this decade it was torn down and removed. Later, immediately next to the first Florya Beach, the Güneş Beach was constructed, designed by Rüknettin Güney; this continued to exist with different functions. In the 1950s, a little to the east of this group the Florya Plaj Tesisleri, designed by Sedad Eldem and Orhan Çakmakçıoğlu, was constructed; even though this facility included a restaurant at this time, the plan was not completely realized. At the end of the 1950s another beach which was located on the coast, near the Ataköy residential area, was the Ataköy Beach; this was constructed as a holiday village and included a number of different facilities. Other than Florya and Ataköy, locations within the city, like Salacak and Caddebostan, Suadiye and Küçükyalı, which in the 1930s were considered to be summer-house locations, provided many beach facilities; however, there was no wide-ranging construction activity at these locations. The projects developed for some of the beach facilities located on the islands were not completely implemented.

7- Sirkeci Train Station Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Another interesting project that was realized in the 1930s was the sea pool that was formed by encircling the sea on the Büyükdere coast. This pool, which was a project by Berç Zartar, was partially realized, later being transformed into one of the famous entertainment spots of Istanbul, known as the Beyaz Park. Another swimming pool project on the shores of the Bosphorus was designed by Halit Femir and Feridun Akozan; this was the Lido Pool in Kuruçeşme. These structures continue to serve the entertainment sector today, although in a greatly changed form.

Industrial, Commercial and Public Structures

In addition to being central for entertainment, culture and education in the early Republican period, it can also be said that, to a certain extent, Istanbul continued as a center for business life. Even though the Republican administration preferred to make investments in the new capital and in certain regions of Anatolia, after the 1929 world crisis there were positive developments in the economic arena; in addition, investment in Istanbul’s industrial and commercial areas became more active. In the early Republic’s plan for Istanbul, the region of the Golden Horn was identified as a business area; as a result, in addition to the Keresteciler Meyve ve Sebze Hali (fruit and vegetable wholesalers), many commercial structures, including factories and manufacturing plants, were built.

Similar construction projects took place in the new regions of Istanbul, which had begun to expand in this period; for example, the Beykoz Paşabahçe Şişe Cam (glass and bottle) factory and the Rakı ve İspirto (Rakı and Spirits) factory were constructed in the 1930s; the Mecidiyeköy Likör (liqueur) factory (Picture 6) was another important industrial structure that demarcated the city limits on both sides of the Bosphorus in this period. The Likör Factory, completed in 1930, is considered to be the first example of modern architecture in Istanbul. The structure is important as it is the sole design by Robert Mallet-Stevens, whose style represents an original design concept that demonstrates the influences of art décor. Mallet-Stevens was a pioneer of early modernism in France, but this was the first example outside of France. Mallet-Stevens’ artisan approach and interests, which included furniture and shop-window designs, should be included among the most original designs of the early period of modern architecture. The Likör Factory, with many details, such as the bannisters and light fixtures, is of importance as an exceptional architectural work in Istanbul that was recognized worldwide. This original structure, which changed greatly during the time it was in use, was torn down in 2012. It is expected that the remaining original parts of the structure will be transformed into an arts center.

In particular, it was a common practice to build customs and depot areas which supported industrial and commercial functions in the Bosphorus region in the 1930s. The Karaköy Yolcu Salonu (passenger hall) (Picture 7), which was built in 1938, is an important structure that exemplifies the role that the Bosphorus shores played in the commercial and industrial networks from the nineteenth century on, as well as during the early Republican era. There is a very complicated story about the international architectural project competition that was announced for the Yolcu Salonu, or the Gar Maritim by the Istanbul Liman İdaresi (port authority) in 1935. The contest can be seen to exemplify the conflict that the authorities felt between young Turkish architects who supported the architectural contests and the experienced European architects, in whom they had greater trust. According to the announcement that appeared in the journal Arkitekt, the projects by Seyfi Arkan, Alfred Bardon and Rebii Gorbon had won first place, and five other projects won second place awards; thus, it can be understood from these results that this project was not given directly to any one of these architects. The project was given to Professor Georges Debes, who was the architectural instructor at the Yüksek Mühendis Mektebi (higher school of engineering) in those years, who later wrote a book on reinforced concrete in Turkish. Debes “was distinguished as one of the architects who won the contest”. Thus, it was acknowledged that the structure was a collaboration between Debes and Rebii Gorbon. At the same time, as with Fındıklı 13. İlkokulu (primary school 13), in the end, Debes, an original designer, and Gorbon combined a couple of award-winning projects and presented their design. Organized service centers were formed around the main hall, which combined the pier and the street; the upper floors of the structure, as well as the working areas of the Liman İdaresi, included the Liman Lokantası (Port Restaurant), a very popular location. The structure, with its monumental clock tower, as a restrained modern architectural product on the Karaköy Docks, reflecting the beginning of the century, has become one of the symbols of Istanbul.

After the liveliness that continued in the 1930s in the industrial and commercial area, with a decrease in investment which occurred during the war years of the 1940s, there was less new construction in the production area. In the post-war period, the spatial transformation of Istanbul, with development in transportation and infrastructure, with public service buildings like hospitals and the Mecidiyeköy Otobüs Garajı (bus terminal) or the Beyazıt and Kadıköy power-distribution structures, designed by Seyfi Arkan, began to slowly gain speed.

With the loss of the identity as a political center, which occurred during the early Republican years, the acceleration in development slowed down; in 1940s Istanbul, which was trying to recapture this tempo, no important new public structures that carried out administrative functions were constructed. One of the structures of this period was designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Emin Onat, another influential architect of the era who made important contributions as an administrator at Yıldız Teknik Okulu (technical school) and Istanbul Technical University in architectural education; this was the Adalet Sarayı (palace of justice) (Picture 8). It is possible to say that until this structure was built in 1948 near Sultanahmet Square, one of the most central locations on the Historical Peninsula from where administrative duties had been carried out during the Ottoman period, there had been no remarkable administrative structures built.

8- Dolmabahçe Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

In the early Republican era, the central administration undertook the planning of public space; in general, these activities were concerned with the renewal of the city. The public buildings that were built during this period were designed in harmony with the architectural style that had been determined from the republican reinterpretation of history. In the single-party period of the 1930s, a revolutionary perception that broke off ties with tradition led to a limited number of public construction projects in Istanbul. In this process, the fact that during the interwar period world architecture was slowly diverging from Modernism had its effect in Turkey. Particularly after 1945, traditional architecture began to dominate and an approach which could almost be called “conservative” prevailed. As can be seen in the buildings designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Emin Onat, a local perspective based on traditional residential architecture, what could be called “national”, or as with the Radyo Evi, the implementation of stone-clad monuments, structures symbolizing the era, came to the fore. In this period, the effects of the traditionalist perspective in the construction program can also be seen; for example, after the proclamation of the Republic, mosque construction was brought to a halt for some time. Yet, as can be seen in the examples of the mosques designed by Vasfi Egeli in Şişli, Levent and Feneryolu, a traditional mimetic approach appeared in important points of the city; in the following periods this number increased. This implementation only started to change towards the end of the 1940s. The Adalet Sarayı, designed according to the winning entry for a competition held in 1948, was a part of the construction movement on the Historical Peninsula in this period; this structure was deemed devoid of the historical references to the “national” style, and its plain style is accepted as a sign of the transition to the modernist style in the post-war period.

9- Şişhane Square (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Residential Buildings

In the residential architecture of the period, stylistic implementation which could be distinguished from public construction started to emerge. In particular, in the region that was developing to the north of Taksim, apartments were built with art nouveau decorations which was a style that had not been seen much in public buildings after the 1910s. Subsequently, art deco embellishments started to appear. This approach continued until the 1930s; however, in these years, both on the European side and on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, examples of modernist residential buildings which presented the dominate approach of the period, like the designs of Seyfi Arkan, emerged. In the architectural discourse of the 1940s, the “national” style that was dominant and implemented in public buildings did not spread far in residential buildings; in this period, the residential architecture of Istanbul continued to be designed with a plain modernist approach.

It is possible to follow how Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman period – a city whose social life had been focused on the Historical Peninsula and which only began to form a new center in the Galata-Pera region in the last part of the Ottoman era – was transformed into a new Istanbul in the 1930s and 1940s, with the construction of new residential structures as the city limits widened. The Republican era started with difficulties for Istanbul due to ceasing to function as the capital; from the end of the 1920s on, the renovation of the city began to gain speed and, although slowly, it began to grow again; in this city, the population of which rapidly increased, particularly after the Second World War, the lack of accommodation began to present a serious problem. During these years in Istanbul, which was no longer the political center, residential buildings played a role in forming the city’s identity.

In the early Republican period modern reinforced concrete technology became more widespread in the construction of residential buildings; however, on the Historical Peninsula the two-story traditional design continued to be implemented. On the Anatolian side, including the Islands and the Bosphorus region, in general detached houses with gardens were popular. Although in Kadıköy and on the Bağdat Avenue, a purpose-built street, apartments with a modern design grew common, the best examples that demonstrated the changing perception of residential buildings in the Republican period can be seen in Istanbul are, on the European side, new apartments accommodating the growing population in the city center; this started in Galata, Beyoğlu and Taksim and stretched outwards towards Gümüşsuyu, Talimhane, Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı and Şişli.

After the declaration of the Republic a great number of residential building projects began. First of all, in regions like Gümüşsuyu, Ayaspaşa, Talimhane and Cihangir, which were close to Taksim, and then Şişli, Teşvikiye, Nişantaşı, Kurtuluş and Bomonti, and on the Anatolian side in Kadıköy, Mühürdar and Moda, many apartment buildings that reflect the characteristics of the era were constructed. The styles that were used in the production of the apartments started out with a predominance of traditional non-Muslim architectural styles, which could be called neo-classical or sometimes neo-baroque. At the beginning of the modernization, in particular in Gümüşsuyu and Talimhane, there are original examples of art deco. Adil Denktaş’s Tüten Apartmanı in Gümüşsuyu (Picture 9) is a fascinating example, displaying the expressionist lines of early modern architecture. In early period Republican architecture, Adil Denktaş, Arif Hikmet Holtay, Seyfi Arkan, Zeki Sayar and Rebbi Gorbon are among the names are best-known for their remarkable apartment structures. Modern architecture reflects the cubic architecture of the popular culture. In the war years, the more colloquial architecture, which can be identified as “second national”, started to symbolize Istanbul; the names of Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Rüknettin Güney and Emin Necip Uzman can be added here.

The city, which was growing with residential areas from Yeşilköy in the west to Bostancı in the east on the Anatolian side, although centered in Taksim, was now better connected to the European continent with newly opened roads and bridges; the city continued to grow to the north. The Haseki and Mecidiyeköy houses, built by Istanbul Imar Ltd. Şti., which was established as a partnership between Istanbul City Council and Emlak Bank in 1946, were intended to meet the growing need for housing in this period; these buildings can be considered to be one of the first undertakings to form residential settlements along the borders of the city, a movement that was to increase in later years.

After the establishment of the Republic, Istanbul lost not only its identity as the capital, but for some time a significant portion of its population and financial support for the administration; the historical heritage in cultural and business helped the city to enter a renewal process in a short time. The growth in population, which occurred from the 1930s on, and the relative acceleration in investment in administration supported architectural developments in the city. Publications by professional media of the era, for example Arkitekt (Picture 10), proves that the city played an effective role in architectural production in the early Republican era.

Arkitekt, a journal that started publishing in 1931 and continued for over 50 years - until 1980 - is one of the most important sources documenting Republican period architecture in Istanbul. The journal, which was called Mimar (architect) until 1934, was established by a group of young architects, most of whom had graduated from Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (what was to become the Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Akademi (State Academy of Fine Arts) and then Mimar Sinan University today). The first issue of this journal which concentrated on architectural projects as well as urban planning and urban problems was published with the lead article “İstanbul’un İmarı” (Development of Istanbul), written by Sedad Hakkı Eldem. From 1943 the lead articles written by Zeki Sayar highlighted the urban problems of Istanbul as well as professional matters, thus preparing the grounds for these issues to be known and debated. In a similar way, the fact that institutions which provided architectural education in this period were only in Istanbul and that many of the professional architects of the era lived in this city, demonstrates that in the process of going from the former capital to its modern identity, Istanbul supported the transformation of urban space.


Istanbul, having lost its status as capital to Ankara with the establishment of the Republic, had once again reached a population of 1,000,000, the population it had had at the start of the century; slowly the city was once again regaining its characteristic as the center of Turkey. The greatest factors in this transformation were the policies of the new government which had come to power with the 1950 elections; these allowed the country to go from the single party rule of the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (People’s Republican Party) to a multi-party system. In this period, it is possible to observe in the policies implemented in Istanbul the transformation on the urban dimension, in which the power of the bureaucracy slowly slid towards industrial and commercial areas throughout the country. The industrialization policy of the era led to rapid urban growth; as a result of this policy, immigrants coming from Anatolian rural areas increased the urban population, and towards the 1960s, the population reached 2,000,000. On the other hand the process in which the non-Muslim populations left the city at the beginning of the 1920s, emigrating to European countries, came to an end in this era; thus a transition to an era in which there was uniformity, at least on an ethnic level, began with a clear-cut change in the structure of the population. Istanbul was now Turkey’s most important “modern” city and was advancing steadily towards becoming the most important center of the country. In a similar way in this period, even if there were different emphases, the architectural examples that were realized in the city formed a modernist structural environment that was in keeping with the wide-spread approach.

10- Outdoor (Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu) Theater (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Urban Interventions

In the 1950s the most important spatial component for Istanbul was the policies of the period, which were implemented in a dominant way; the city was perceived as a stage on which to exhibit the government’s success to the world and to the country. The plan, drawn up in the 1930s by Prost, the French urban planner, had been partially implemented in the 1940s; even though Prost was removed from his post at the beginning of the 1950s, this plan can be seen to form the basis of urban interventions that were carried out in the second half of the 1950s. The implementations in which foreign consultants, including the Italian Luigi Piccinato, the English Sir Patrick Abercrombie and the German Hans Högg, played a role, took the urban transformation that had been realized by Haussman in nineteenth-century Paris as their model; in a similar way, boulevards were opened by tearing down buildings or by widening existing roads, in order to ease transportation. This implementation coincides with the spread of highway and motor transportation which was seen worldwide as a symbol of modernization after the Second World War.

11- Sports and Exhibition Center (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Of the squares and roads that began to form in the 1940s, the most important ones added to the Historical Peninsula in this period were Vatan and Millet Avenues, which widened the area from the center to the north, Londra Asfaltı, which strengthened the movement to the west, the coastal road from Sirkeci to Florya, which had a negative impact on the relationship between the city and the sea, and the re-planning and completion of Beyazıt Square. According to the current situation, Beyazıt Square was given shape in a rather radical proposal made by Turgut Cansever; however, some details of the project not realized, in the end the square did not reflect Cansever’s proposal. The first stage was to open the square from the university gate for the ease of pedestrians. The reorganization, not carried out in keeping with the architect’s proposals due to the fact that the relationship with the Vezneciler axis was severed, was criticized on the basis that it created an enormous change to the historical identity of the city. One other deficiency of the proposal was seen in the lack of structures in the traditional typology which would serve as a transition between Divanyolu and the square. The creation of Barbaros Boulevard, starting from Beşiktaş Square, stretching out towards Şişli-Mecidiyeköy, sped up development towards the north of the region; this implementation had an important impact on the physical transformation of the city.

The slogan “let traffic flow like water”, which was used during the public improvement works in Istanbul in the 1950s, became a matter of national importance and the city took on the role of model city in this area. However, transportation preferences dependent on the automobile and highways were not limited to the 1950s; on the contrary, in the following ten years, this issue took on a new strength and became a determining factor in the physical formation of Istanbul. At the beginning of the 1950s there were less than 5,000 cars in Istanbul, but as a result of this preference, in 1980 this number had surpassed 200,000.

In the first ten years after the military intervention that brought an end to the Menderes era, a statist policy based on planning was implemented; now the implementation of regional planning began. In this scope, the main highway axis, which wrapped around Istanbul from the northern city-limits and which was completed in the 1960s (E-5) led to new settlements being rapidly constructed in the regions along the northern limits of the city. In time, the regions to the north and along the east-west ends of the axis underwent wide-ranging development.

In the 1960s and 1970s two coastal roads along the two shores of the Bosphorus were created with landfills along the coastline; the development of Levent-Büyükdere-Maslak towards the north on the European shore was accelerated and the main axis on the Anatolian shore was formed, while Bağdat Avenue, which sped up urban development in Kadıköy, was widened. In this period, one of the most influential implementations in Istanbul was joining the two shores of the Bosphorus; this was something that had been dreamed of since the ninth century, but was realized only in 1973 with the construction of the Bosphorus (Atatürk) Bridge (Picture 11). The structural design of this suspension bridge, which was anchored on the European side in Ortaköy and in Beylerbeyi on the Asian side, was developed by Freeman Fox and Partners. The bridge, which measures 1,560 meters, is 33.40 meters wide and 64 meters high, is held up by steel cables that stretch 165 meters above the water and are supported by towers that form the feet of the bridge on both shores of the Bosphorus. This bridge sparked a great debate, as many criticized the effect it had on the urban texture and environment during its construction; it was completed to mark the 50th anniversary of the Republic, and was followed by the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which was located to the north of the first bridge and completed in the second half of the 1980s. The third bridge, to be named Yavuz Sultan Selim, which began to be constructed in 2013, will complete the outer limits of the city close to the Black Sea.

The transportation network, which developed with the completion of the bridge and ring road, was strengthened by a third connection over the Golden Horn; from the 1950s on, rapid growth in this area of Istanbul due to the development of the infrastructure and the speed of the growth increases. Not only was inner-city transportation strengthened, these roads also created an easier relationship between the city and other regions, and formed the infrastructure for Istanbul’s strengthening role in the country. In 1975 the Yeşilköy (Atatürk) Airport, which was renovated according to the design of Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, was one of the structures that helped Istanbul grow into a national and international center.

12- Taksim Club (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Urban Development

With the construction of Salıpazarı on the Golden Horn and Haydarpaşa Port on the Anatolian side in the 1950s there was an attempt to increase the role of the city in production and commerce; the steps toward industrialization which began in this period prepared the way for import substitution polices that were implemented during the post-1960 planned economic periods. In this process we can speak of quality examples on the Asian side, like the Doğan Tekeli and Sami Sisa’s Ümraniye Telekomünikasyon Fabrikası (telecommunication factory) and Muammer Onat’s Otosan Tesisler (automotive facilities). In the newly developing regions of the city, particularly in the industrial constructions that were settled to the north and west of the Historical Peninsula, examples that are of importance architecturally, like the Neyir Trikotaj and Birleşik Alman İlaç Fabrikası, designed by Doğan Tekeli and Sami Sisa, and Muammer Onat’s Beylikdüzü Bekoteknik Fabrikası, Aydın Boysan’s Levent Eczacıbaşı Tesisleri and the Vakko Fabrikası, designed by Haluk Baysal (Picture 12) were produced. In Merter, in that period the Vakko Turistik Elişi, Eşarp ve Konfeksiyon Fabrikası, established by the Hakko family - one of the most important industrialist families in Turkey - was established on the road known as the Londra Asfaltı. The facilities included an administrative headquarters, exhibition and sales areas, social facilities and staff housing, and covered an area measuring 62,500m2. This building, designed by Haluk Baysal, one of the most important names in Republican architecture between 1960 and 1975, was one of the best examples of post-World War II architecture in Turkey. The facilities consisted of a single floor, with an extensive scheme, consisting of different masses placed over the land; with a flat roof, exposed concrete walls and glass cladding; the buildings were formed according to a design concept from the growingly popular modernist style. One of the other most important characteristics of the Vakko factory was that it represented a successful example of the cooperation between architecture and art, which was becoming more common in this perid. Some of the most important artists in Turkey, including Şadi Çalık, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Eren Eyüboğlu, Hasan Kavruk, Teoman Madra, Tankut Öktem, Mustafa Pilevneli, Metin Şahinoğlu, Haluk Tezonar, Jale Yılmabaşar and Nevzat Yüzbaşıoğlu, decorated the facilities with their artwork. In 2007, the factory building, which had been vacated due to relocation, was sold and the building, an important part of the country’s industrial heritage, was torn down.

13- Park number 2 (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

Accompanying the acceleration in industrialization after 1950, the population growth in Istanbul took off, outpacing the growth in the infrastructure. These policies were caused by intense immigration of the working population from rural areas to the cities, and in particular, to Istanbul. The people, unable to find accommodation with the ever-increasing population in the industrial areas, which had no lodgings, started to build gecekondus (squatter-houses). In regions that were along the access of the ring road, for example, Zeytinburnu, Maltepe and Kağıthane, the uncontrolled and growing gecekondu areas began to form a great majority of the city’s growing physical space.

The physical characteristics of the architecture of Istanbul, a city with a rapidly increasing population, could most clearly be seen in the new residential areas that consisted of apartment buildings or gecekondus. In 1970, the city population exceeded 2,000,000, while in 1980 it reached 3,000,000, thus making the lack of residential buildings a significant problem. In this environment, which gave rise to gecekondus, it can be seen that the construction of social housing in the 1950s tried to meet the demand for accommodation. Due to the incredibly large number of apartments in which flats were given as prizes for lotteries, arranged by banks for their account holders, it is possible to understand that the housing problem occupied an important place on the agenda during this period. To solve the housing crisis, city councils and the Emlak bank constructed residential areas as a public service; the first example of this on the European side were in Levent and Ataköy and on the Asian side in Koşuyolu; these buildings were intended for middle- and upper-class residents of the city.

A solution to the housing problem, which had become serious after the Second World War, in addition to the first few small-scale experiments in Mecidiyeköy and Şişli, was the development of an important residential area by Emlak Bank in the military area known as Levent Çiftliği. The plan and architectural project of the residential area known as “Levent” (Picture 13) was begun as an academic project at Istanbul Technical University, Town Planning Department; this was carried out by Kemal Ahmet Aru and Rebii Gorbon. Construction of the residential area began in 1947 and continued with a number of stages until 1957. At first there were difficulties in selling the houses, but the Levent Area began to appeal more to the upper-income bracket, becoming a popular residential area for Istanbul. In particular, the latter stages, with their new style, became symbolic of the modern life as used by Yeşilçam film makers. In the first residential areas there was a tendency to expand towards the southeast and northwest, while in the latter stages this direction changed. The basic problem in the Levent residential areas, which consisted of detached, semi-detached and terraced housing, was the modifications in the structures of the open areas that were defined as private property. For this reason, in the Yeni Levent stage - the final stage of the project - the ground floor was raised, the open areas were identified as common areas, and thus were not to be used as private property; however, as a result of commercial developments, it was not possible to prevent significant modifications in the structures.

In 1957, the 2nd – 5th stages of the Ataköy Project (Picture 14), again carried out by Emlak Bank, was an extension of Bakırköy and took on the nature of a satellite city. The settlement plan, which was developed in an effort to provide the optimum view, positioned the buildings at different heights; the area appeared as a suburb that was developed as a modern settlement plan with green areas and planned urban facilities. The beach facilities which appeared along the coastal sections added to the appeal of the residential area. Even though at the beginning, at a time when the city was expanding to the east and west, this residential area was not very popular, the latter stages added new directions. Ataköy, which provided a solution to the housing problem for a significant population of Istanbul, offering a residential area of high-density housing with modern living standards beyond the industrial area that formed outside the city walls, was an area that, although being close to the airport, was more connected to the center; thus this area drew people because of its distance from the center but efficient transportation system. From the 1980s on, this residential area gained popularity with the increase in industrial areas to the west of the airport and the proximity of business areas; this was strengthened after 2000 with investment in a large number of shopping malls which helped establish a regional center.

In the middle of the 1950s, in order to address the housing needs of middle- and lower-income families, which had been neglected for a long time, Emlak Bank and Istanbul City Council started to develop a solution. On the Anatolian side, on the eastern side of Koşuyolu Avenue, the Emlak Bank Koşuyolu Konutları (Picture 15), developed between 1957 and 1958, were directed more at the middle-income group; the settlement plan was devised by Kemal Ahmet Aru, while the architectural project was prepared by Sait Özden and Leyla Turgut. The Koşuyolu settlement, which was well adapted to its mainly southeast-northwest orientation, was unable to expand, most likely due to the limitations of the location. This residential project, which can be considered to have been successful, continued its existence despite rent pressure from surrounding areas. In the same years, directed towards those who worked for Istanbul City Council, there were more plans, like those made by Seyfi Arkan for Üsküdar Selamsız and Beykoz areas.

14- İnönü Stadium (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

From 1960 on, with the property ownership law, as in all of Turkey, apartment blocks in Istanbul started to be built by developers; in the next ten years, while gecekondus provided a solution for the lower income classes, the middle income classes formed a movement that made apartments the most popular residential style. Among these, even though there are examples that stand out with their architectural style, like Hukukçular Sitesi, which was designed at the beginning of the 1960s by Haluk Baysal and Melih Birsel, as well as other contemporary examples, the overriding typology on the market in this period was the standard apartment block produced during the “build-sell” process, which in general had plain facades and the same basic plans.

From the 1950s on, an important professional area that was presented to the growing number of architects was the design of detached houses for the upper income group. Şaman Villası, designed by Utarit İzgi to stand on Feneryolu (it is no longer standing today), Haluk Baysal and Melih Birsel’s Saatçioğlu Villası in Anadoluhisarı and Maruf Önal’s own house in Bayramoğlu are quality examples of these detached houses.

The buildings that Sedad Hakkı Eldem designed between the 1950s and 1970s, most commonly positioned along the shores of the Bosphorus, can be evaluated in a similar way. In the design of some homes, like that by Rıza Derviş on Büyükada and Safyurtlu II in Yeniköy, the historical attitude of the architect, who used a modernist style, comes to the fore in the building. The approach that is exemplified in these structures are diversified basically in the expert implementation of modern building techniques, like façade modulation, reinforced concrete and steel with the repetition of the window ratios of traditional wooden housing architecture. Even if the foundation is the classic architectural symmetric approach, this style, which never gives way to stylized imitation or conceding to the modernist profile, put its stamp on the city with a number of quality examples like the Sirer (Picture 16) and Suna Kiraç yalı (waterside homes) or the Rahmi Koç or Komili Evleri, thus deeply affecting the architectural milieu.

15- Kadıköy Public House (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

This construction process, which completed the housing production for primarily the upper-income group, started to increase from the 1970s with the spread of second homes/summer homes among the middle classes; summer residences and complexes spread along the shores of the Marmara on both continents and on the islands, going west to Kumburgaz and Silivri, east to Dragos and Bayramoğlu, and as far as Yalova and Çınarcık.

Public Structures

The public construction that was dominant after the promulgation of the Republic in the administrative center of the country, Ankara, and which continued after 1950, was realized to a degree that brought it to the fore in Istanbul during this period; Istanbul was rapidly expanding due to its urbanization experience. The most important public structure of the 1950s was the Belediye (city council) building (Picture 17), which was built in the region of Fatih; this area had been redesigned with boulevards that opened onto the west of the Historical Peninsula. The Belediye building was designed in 1953 by Nevzat Erol. The construction movement that started on the Historical Peninsula from 1940 on, accelerated in the 1950s; the aforementioned building might be considered one of the most important designs in this process, and is an example of the large-scale modernist construction in Istanbul. Sultanahmet Square was an area that formed a central open area on the Historical Peninsula; the Valilik (governor’s office) building, located close to this square, was designed in 1973 by İlhan Tayman and Avni Yüncüoğlu; this is another important public structure of this period that answered the need for public administration.

As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Republic, there were undertakings to strengthen the relationship between the Republican’s public visage and the city; designs were to be placed in different parts of the city. For example, even though not all were put in place, there are examples like the memorial designed by Şadi Çalık in the Galatasaray High School Square on İstiklal Avenue. However, in the process that lasted from the 1950s to the 1970s, the new public buildings in Istanbul, except for a few exceptions, were not determinant of the city space.

16- Istanbul University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

It might be said that the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi (cultural center) was the structure that played the most important role in the life of the city as far as public structures are concerned. During these years, Istanbul continued to maintain its identity as a cultural and entertainment center. In addition to cinema and theater, the gazino provided musical entertainment areas; these formed an important component in daily life. The structure that was to play the most important role in forming the cultural life of the era was constructed in the Beyoğlu region, which formed the center of entertainment life: this project was proposed at the beginning of the 1930s by the French architect Auguste Perret. However, it was only in 1946 that the design of the Istanbul Opera House, by Rüknettin Güney and Feridun Kip, began to be realized; due to a number of difficulties during construction, this building opened as the Istanbul Kültür Sarayı, according to a design by Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, and opened to the public in 1969. The building soon was renamed as the Ataturk Cultural Center. There was a fire a short time after its opening and it was closed for repairs and would be re-opened only in the late 1970s. The AKM, designed with the plain, modernist style of the era, defines a corner of Taksim Square, thus strengthening the identity of being a public area. The simple prismatic mass, as well as the decorative metal façade that was specially designed and produced under the guidance of Aydın Boysan and which covers the side of the building that looks on the square, give the building a massive effect, thus providing a contribution to its monumental position in completing the square. The relationship between the center and the square was reflected in the interior. The transparent front façade ensures that the wide entrance hall acts as an extension of the square; on the right of the entrance the ceramic panel wall, designed by Sadi and Belma Diren, which stretches to the interior, visually strengthens this connection. The ceramic panels that were designed for the walls demonstrate that the relationship between artist and architect was used effectively in this building. The specially designed stairs, which define the entrance hall, are the strongest element of the interior decoration. The lighting design of the building was designed by the German engineer Johannes Dinnebier; the lighting, specially designed to emphasize the spatial characteristics of the structure, provides a reinforcement to the modernist architectural identity. A protection project was planned so that the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi, which identifies the most central public open space in Istanbul and occupies an important place in the city’s cultural life, would not only continue to answer the daily needs of the people, but could continue its existence in the best possible way. The building has been closed since 2008 for maintenance and renovations.

17- Istanbul University, Faculty of Arts

The Karayolları Zincirlikuyu Tesisleri (Zincirlikuyu facilities of the State Highway Administration), which were designed at a relatively late date - in 1980 - by Mehmet Konuralp, come to the fore among Istanbul’s public service and administrative structures for the modernist style and structural technology. However, an attempt to transform the modernist style, which was dominant from the 1950s on, with new searches in the 1960s occurred; different design quests, without distancing from the modernist principles, were undertaken. One of the first attempts to bring new contributions to the modernist style, that by Sedad Hakkı Eldem, is an important representative of the idea of using history and tradition. For example, the Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu (social insurance institution - Picture 19), designed by this architect in 1963 has a design that references the traditional housing texture of the Zeyrek region in which it is located. Eldem’s modern architectural approach exemplifies a quest for typological regionalism, which is a fundamental aspect of modern architecture; the Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu complex, completed in Zeyrek in 1964, took the housing texture of the region in which it was located, and thus Eldem is accepted as one of the representatives of regionalism as reflected in modern architecture.

Institutional Structures

The fact that the modern city of Istanbul, which grew rapidly after 1950, was accepted as an important center, not only nationally, but also internationally, can be observed in certain developments, particularly in tourism. The fact that the architectural journal Arkitekt added a subsection entitled “tourism” in this period indicates that although it was very new for Turkey, the matter had started to take its place on the agenda. In particular, from the 1950s on, the amount of articles concerned with Istanbul in the journal increased, and important projects undertaken in Istanbul were given place without discrimination; this indicates that the modern architecture of the city was an indispensable source for the journal. When looked at from this perspective, it can be said that structurally the Hilton Hotel (Picture 20) best represents Istanbul of the 1950s. With the support of the administration, which had good relations with America at this time, the Hilton Hotel was constructed in one of the most central locations of Istanbul, on the corner of a developing area that from the 1930s on was known as the kültür vadisi (valley of culture); this structure not only was the first example of this hotel chain in the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe, it also strengthened the city’s place in the international communication network. On the national level, the hotel played an important place in the new social life that developed, as events were held that catered to the upper classes of the city. The Hilton Hotel, designed with cooperation between Sedad Hakkı Eldem and the American company Skidmore, Owings and Merril in 1952, is one of the first representatives in Turkey of the modern style of the post-war area. This structure, as a model for many other structures that followed, occupies an important place in Istanbul’s architectural history. The architectural style of the structure, which can be defined as the international style, which was popular particularly in America in the 1950s, and subsequently spread throughout the world, is an example that has a functional and rationalist design, a plain style, a prismatic main mass, gridlock facades created by the arrangement of the balconies, with a ground floor raised on columns and a flat roof. The Hilton Hotel holds special importance for Turkey as it was an example of the general acceptance of the modernist style throughout the country; with the rapid spread of this design, architecture of the 1950s began being identified (or criticized) as Hiltonculuk (Hilton style).

18- Florya Municipality Club and Beach (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

After the Hilton Hotel in the 1960s and 1970s, during a time when tourism developed as an important sector, hotels sprouted up in central neighborhoods of Istanbul, like Taksim and Maçka, as well as in neighborhoods that developed touristically; for example, the Çınar Hotel in Yeşilyurt, Tarabya Hotel in Tarabya or buildings like the Anadolu Kulübü (Picture 21), designed by Turgut Cansever and Abdurrahman Hancı on Büyükada were constructed. The Anadolu Kulübü building, which was designed as the winning entry in a national competition and was an influential example of the popular modernist understanding of the period, was built between 1951 and 1957; the spacious interior, which contained common areas like the lobby and restaurant, opened onto the garden via a terrace and ramps. The ground floor, raised on columns, was complemented by geometric style elements, like the smooth plaster and glass facades, the grid texture that was created by the arrangement of balconies, the flat open roof that was designed as a common space and the decorative effect of the roof. While all of the hotel rooms faced northwest so that they had sea views, the windows of the corridors behind the rooms looked to the southeast, and were sheltered by a wooden lattice that worked as sunshades. In the design by Cansever, in which he took into account the relationship between history and daily production, the dominant modernist style is accompanied by the lattice element, thus alluding to the traditional housing style.

As wide avenues and squares were opened in order to support the transportation network of the city during the public works undertaken in the 1950s, there was significant destruction of existing buildings; in this process, which was intended to bring to the fore monumental structures, an important part of the historical texture of the city was destroyed, due to thousands of expropriations and the intense destruction that was realized with schematic plans, but in a chaotic manner. The approach in the 1960s which questioned the progressive understanding that ignored historical or other values in these years gave importance, in a similar way, to Eldem’s understanding of history and tradition. For example, Günay Çiligiroğlu and Muhlis Tunca’s İstanbul Reklam Sitesi (Istanbul Advertising Compound, Picture 22), designed in 1969, not only makes historical style references, but is remarkable in that the existing historical structure on the land was taken into account, indeed creating a design that brought this aspect to the fore. The proposed design for the new structure, which was to surround the existing historical structure on the land, is one of the most remarkable examples of new construction on the Historical Peninsula. It was formed with a successful effort to preserve both the old and modern design; this was an approach that was growing stronger at this time.

19- Mecidiyeköy Bus Terminal (<em>Cumhuriyet Devrinde İstanbul</em>)

In the 1970s the steps to protect tradition and history increased; in 1974 the Boğaziçi Koruma Kanunu (Protection of the Bosphorus Law) aimed to bring construction along the Bosphorus, one of the most important areas of Istanbul, under control.

In the process that stretched from the 1950s to the 1970s the architectural production that followed the general lines of modernist principles, but which remained outside the international style, demonstrates historical references applied with a different style concept. In this period the attempt by private firms, who had a growing role in the economy and who were growing stronger all the time, to attain a special position in the city via the clarification and construction in the city spaces of administration and business centers, prepared the grounds for a quest for style in the form of producing impressive “prestige” structures. One of the early examples of this was the İstanbul Manifaturacılar ve Kumaşçılar Çarşısı, designed by Doğan Tekeli, Sami Sisa and Metin Hepgüler (Picture 23).

This market place, the earliest model of a shopping center that later spread rapidly throughout Istanbul, was built between 1959 and 1966. The structure, by breaking up a monolithic prismatic mass, is a successful example of an architectural approach that formed different locations and locational relationships. The characteristics of the design created an integrated/holistic composition which was still fragmented, due to the galleries of the prismatic blocks in which the shops were placed and the combination of a variety of inner courtyards. This complex, which had a typical modernist design, including design elements like the implementation of a flat roof and exposed concrete, is an important example of the effective implementation of the fragmented design approach, which became popular in the 1960s. This market was built on the first of the wide boulevards that opened from the 1940s on in the Historical Peninsula, Atatürk Boulevard. It became part of the modern construction that increased in the following ten years in this location, and even though some of the traditional structures were destroyed to make way for this market, the fact that the mass was kept at a low level and that it consisted of fragmented parts meant that it was modest and did not damage the historical texture of the region. Another important characteristic of the structure was that it was successfully designed as a collaboration between the architect and the artist, another notable tactic of the period. Important artists of the period, like Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Jale Yılmabaşar and Kuzgun Acar, created mosiac panels or statues, thus decorating the walls that defined the facades and courtyards of the structure.

20- Galata at sunset

It is possible to talk of another trend in architecture in the 1960s, that of organic architecture. The Sheraton Hotel (later to be the Intercontinental), built by the AHE Group in the place of the Taksim Gazinosu, which had been torn down, can be considered to be an example of this approach with its plan, based on a triangular grid. Metin Hepgüler’s Harbiye Orduevi (officer’s club) can be given as an example of the brutalist approach that is based on emphasizing the naked beauty of the materials used.

In the production process of prestigious structures, examples can be seen in Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s AK Bank building, which was designed in 1970 and which sought monumentality in the modernist style, or Günay Çilingiroğlu and Muhlis Tunca’s Tercüman Newspaper building (Picture 24), which was designed in 1972 and which embarked on a search for style by pushing the limits of technology; these examples come to the fore as structures that tried to represent the institutions of the era. The example of the building that was designed for Tercüman Newspaper, and which was later used for the Tercüman School, and even later used by different institutions, pushed the limits of technological developments with its broken-up design and wide cantilevers which formed a plastic-arts effect. The structure presents a successful example in its location, among industrial buildings and business centers, built on the E-5 highway, to the north of the Historical Peninsula, an area that was developing at this time.

The Istanbul Ticaret Odası (Chamber of Commerce), which brought to life Orhan Şahinler’s design in the middle of the 1960s (Picture 25), was one of the rare buildings located on the newly opened Eminönü-Unkapanı axis that defined the new Golden Horn skyline. In a historical framework that has undergone a large number of changes, the building sets out from Ottoman residential architecture with a regional functional modern approach, noted as a structure that is balanced and respectful of the historical environment. The design by Metin Hepgüler of the Sınai Kalkınma (Industrial Development) Bank in Fındıklı and the structure itself are both remarkable as a building that reflects the new technology of the 1970s. The center of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Odakule (Picture 26), designed in 1970 by Kaya Tecimer and Ali Kemal Taner, is one of the first examples of prestigious institutional construction projects that increased from this period on. In an environment in which there was a predominance of historical structures, on İstiklal Avenue, Odakule draws the eye with its height; the ground floor, which consists of empty space, is open for pedestrian usage, and is important in that it provides a transition from the avenue to Tarlabaşı Street. The new and high structure presents a different identity to the urban texture that surrounds it.

The multi-party system came into being in the 1950s; democracy suffered difficult times with the 1960 military coup and the 1972 muhtıra (memorandum), and struggled with social unrest particularly in the 1970s. On the other hand, after the Cyprus Intervention in the 1970s, the economic embargos and the world energy crisis created economic problems for Turkey. However, despite all these difficulties, Istanbul was able to increase business opportunities with the progressive policies of the era, growing as a modernizing city and in this period the population of the city increased.

In this environment, urbanization accelerated and structural production, strengthened by the private sector, gained power; the architects who had trained in the growing number of schools now established offices, entered the increasing number of competitions and tried to find a place in the production environment; on the other hand, the opposing stance of the Mimarlar Odası (chamber of architects), established in the 1950s and the attempts to institutionalize the new architects defined the services of those who were working to present a urban structure production environment. In comparison to earlier periods, this period is a time when methods that were not in keeping with the law, or which were aimed at transitional market mechanisms, were more common; during this period the architectural environment underwent an important development in its own area. However, when compared with the other actors who played roles in the process of construction, unfortunately it cannot be said that architects played the important role expected of them.


Istanbul, which entered the twentieth century as a city that was the capital for three empires, one hundred years later once again started to appear on the world stage as a “global city” and began to emerge among the world cities that were affiliated with the global economy in principal economic regions. In parallel with world developments, with the 24 Ocak Turgut Özal Kararnameleri (24 January Turgut Özal Resolution) Turkey entered a neoliberal period in which it retreated from a state economy; the economy became smaller and privatization began. Along with the global cities and neoliberal policies, which were dominant throughout the world, a new rhetoric started to rise. In addition to indigenous sides of the urban transformation that occurred in Istanbul, it is necessary to indicate similarities that were experienced in many other places, for example Sao Paulo, Dubai and Shanghai. While the city opened outwards during the globalization process, industry started to rapidly move to the city limits. After industrialization, the city became known for its production services, and white-collar employment increased. Istanbul, which entered a new construction process after the 1999 earthquake, followed by the 2001 economic crisis, became the scene of the growing global arena.

21- Sultanahmet Courthouse Building

One of the most important changes which took place in the economy during this period was the transition from a monstrous industrial city to an urban area; as a result, the transformation in functionality, the industrial transformation and the sectorial change can be observed together. In this context, national migration, when combined with the socio-spatial pattern of rapidly growing international immigration, meant that Istanbul’s layout continued to be planned. While the public arena changed radically, consumption models were reflected in daily life; night clubs, cinemas and the entertainment culture underwent a transformation as well. As can be seen in examples from Western Europe and North America, in the process of implementing significant urban transformations, information, technology and capital accumulation, fed by the demand created by the global consumption culture, land became a commodity. Between 1980 and 2000, the neoliberal policies that were directed towards globalization in Turkey were implemented in coordination with approaches that allowed informal urban spatial production. In the 2000s, it can be said that Istanbul underwent radical changes in its urban administration. This environment can be evaluated in the context of functionality, led by TOKİ, the production of housing, the global neoliberal policies and the state’s construction of social housing. The impetus behind the geographic growth that has taken place with intense construction activities in Istanbul, particularly in the last ten years, in some ways, is the home owner in the urban and architectural arena. Twenty-first century Istanbul “has a plurality that is made up of large number of components”. A bridge that brings together the east and west presents Istanbul as a transition, a city of “intersections”; the city, the synergy and potential and the extraordinary dynamics that have been experienced define this city as a global center. On the other hand, an environment surrounded with neoliberal policies and disciplines that were directly concerned with the city has become vital for the production of meaning on the urban level and critical professional stances. This is because the values belonging to the city as a space where all collective matters are sheltered and reproduced, and where daily life is carried on in its economic, political and social dimensions are dependent on the formation of professional practices which are prevalent and proactive producer of awareness and negotiation.

22- Bridge of 15 July Martyrs (Bosporus Bridge) (The name of Bosporus Bridge has been changed to “15 July Martyrs” after the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016)

In this globalizing geography, the new transportation projects of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and the TEM highway, the three to four-floor gecekondus that spread in the north of the city, the forest areas, the water reservoirs and the new gated communities accelerated urbanization. The second bridge and ring road played critical roles in the radical changes in the urban macroform. New settlements, extensions of these roads, high rise apartment blocks and TOKİ (Toplu Konut İdaresi – Mass Housing Administration) housing and changed the urban landscape. The mayors of the city during this period (Bedrettin Dalan, Nurettin Sözen, Recep Tayyip Erdoğani, Ali Müfit Gürtuna and Kadir Topbaş) and NGOs, Mimarlar Odası, KİPTAŞ (Konut İmar Planlama A.Ş. – residential development planning company), TOKİ, national and foreign investors were social actors who have come to the fore. Globalizing Istanbul demonstrates a variety of localities: First of all, the Golden Horn, Pera, Nişantaşı, with a demand for nostalgia/the past, began to turn to the past. The Bosphorus, the surrounding region, museums, global restaurants, private houses and yalıs offer a picturesque view that is still the source of the city’s charm. The urbanizing suburbs (Bakırköy, Ataköy, Yeşilköy, Bayrampaşa, Ümraniye, Ataşehir, Kozyatağı, Altunizade, Pendik-Gebze, Büyükdere Avenue, İkitelli, Maslak, Kadıköy and Bağdat Avenue) continued to be important regions in the urban geography. In light of the dynamics of the globalizing winds, in the process that Tansel Korkmaz refers to as the “globalization pressure” the pluralist identity of Istanbul came to the fore and the physical transformation of the parts of this “urban collage”, or as Uğur Tanyeli called it, a mélange, grew visible. In this dynamic process, the service, finance and technology sectors coincided with the development of the cultural industry.

In this context, the increasing number of national hotels, private high schools, university campuses and cultural industry buildings brought the city into a respectable state; these structures made a contribution to the formation of a pluralist architecture.

The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel (2009-2011), designed by TeCe (Tülin Hadi and Cem İlhan), one of the examples that shaped the contemporary pluralistic architectural environment, is in a unique location across from the Historical Peninsula in Sütlüce, on the Golden Horn; this is one of the oldest residential areas of Istanbul. Sütlüce Neighborhood is essentially a successor to the transformation that was experienced along the opposite shore of Eyüp-Balat. In the hotel, which has a dense layout with 440 beds, there is a fragmented character, rather than a single and monotonous mass; the approach is in keeping with the urban informal texture, approaching the design of a mass with the permitted maximum height of buildings. In this context, when looked at from the Golden Horn skyline, while the hotel attracts attention as an overbearing structure compared to the surrounding structures, at the same time, it displays an approach that does not oppress the informal structure in the fore and background. The structure, working from a variety of graduations, the terraced balconies, arranged on the upper levels, the application of different materials, the light and shadow games all provide an integrity with the existing texture of large masses.

In the concept in the ENKA Schools (1995-1999) (Picture 28), designed by Haydar Karabey of the waqf institutions, the classrooms are to the right and left of a main spine that inclines as it goes down towards the lower floors from the existing hillside, in order to take advantage of the natural light. During the project, it was necessary to narrow the interior courtyards with the addition of the primary, middle and high school blocks to the central spine; thus there are shared functions. The lighting on the roof of the education blocks was narrowed and the education blocks were created in a triangular shape. The educational blocks can be entered through the private gardens that are on the rear side, from the facades that share the common spine. The auditorium that is located on the northern end of the spine has a plan that is open, flexible, participatory and multi-functional; the second hall that was added on is positioned as the final point of the spine. The design of the building reflects a unique identity.

23- Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

24- Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

Another example that comes to the fore is Santralİstanbul (2004-2007), a cultural and education center which used the Silahtarağa Elektrik Santrali (electricity power plant), the first energy facility to be established in Istanbul during the Ottoman era, which is under the protection of İstanbul Bilgi University (Picture 29). The transformation was carried out according to a design by Emre Arolat, Nevzat Sayın and Han Tümertekin, under the coordination of İhsan Bilgin. The Silahtarağa Elektrik Santrali, which provided the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s oldest industrial region, with electricity from 1911 to 1983, has a unique national industrial heritage character. The campus, covering an area of 112,000 square meters, brings a new breath of life to university life. With the Enerji Müzesi (energy museum) and education blocks the group of buildings present an original interpretation to university architecture, making a positive contribution on the universal level to the discipline of architecture.

25- Atatürk Culture Center (in Taksim)

The campus of the Sabancı Müzesi (museum - Picture 30), like the Bosphorus shore and the Emirgan village, in which the museum is located, is formed of a hybrid of locations. Ayşen Savaş and Namık Erkal took on the design, using the Atlı Köşk (horse pavilion); this original building was designed by Edoardo De Nari during the early Republican era; with its new function (1998-2001), a second group of auxiliary buildings for the museum (2003-2005) was added. In parallel with this, what was left of the Sicimoğlu Yalı was renovated by Süreyya Saruhan and later Nevzat Sayın was used for the concert hall (SEED). In this process, which transformed private property into public space, as emphasized by Ayşen Savaş, a design concept that prioritized the existing hard surfaces and the areas that had been built under the surface (swimming pool, terrace, garage etc), was implemented. By following their traces, the landscaping was disturbed as little as possible during the transformation. In the master plan, taking the cistern-terrace of the old Karadağ Yalı as a reference, the “concert hall for a chamber orchestra”, which was realized by putting it underground, dominated by the idea, in the author’s words of “constructing an invisible structure”, created an underground structure. Thus, the SSM campus brings together the Levantine aesthetic accumulation, which came from the Ottoman dynamics, as reflected in the Atlı Köşk, and twenty-first century design language and materials; SSM is positioned as an urban resting place.

İstanbul Modern (2004) (Picture 31), designed by the Tabanlıoğlu Architecture firm, is the first structure to be designed as a central point of attraction in the Galataport Project, which thrust the region through a radical transformation. This change created a unique interface in the active port by creating an extraordinary contradiction between the existing historical and urban textures. From the day it opened, İstanbul Modern has attracted a large number of visitors and has become an important part of urban life.

26- Social Security Administration (in Unkapanı)

As another example, the building that was designed for the Bank-ı Osmanî-i Şahane, originally designed by the French Levantine architect, Alexandre Vallaury (1892), was used by SALT Galata (Picture 32). In addition to the monumental dimensions, due to the differences in the neo-classical and orientalist architectural styles that are used in the front and rear facades, the building is unique in Istanbul; in an attempt to give a new function to this structure the architectural design was carried out under the direction of Han Tümertekin. In the scope of the architectural studies, auxiliary structures which prevented the original characteristics from coming to the fore and the spatial design were rearranged according to the needs of a many layered program (2010). During the process of giving a new function that was in keeping with modern needs, Vallaury’s building, a milestone in the urban and social memory, is both an original architectural venture and creates a new interface in the cultural life of the city.

A national architectural competition was announced in 2005 for the auxiliary group project of the Deniz Kuvvetleri Komuntanlığı İstanbul Deniz Müzesi (Naval Forces Istanbul Naval Museum) (1897), positioned in Beşiktaş on an intersection that is an important and historical center of the city. The winner of the competition, the project submitted by Teğet Mimarlik (Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar) introduced an original interpretation of the urban silhouette; the horizontal domination of the historical silhouette broke up the customary mass block. From a visual aspect, the structure in this unique position, with new technology and materials, creates Turkey’s largest museum in naval history, indeed, one of the largest museums in Turkey, with exhibition space covering 15,000 square meters. The museum, cultural center, conference hall and exhibition halls create an interface with the historical city and aim at attracting wide social use. The Deniz Müzesi provides a unique architectural contribution not only due to the architecture of the museum, but also in the way that it establishes a relationship with the city and the different interpretation of the urban silhouette.

In this project, the physicalization of the capital prestige and luxury materials creates a location that symbolizes power and capital as well as presenting the birth of a variety of architectural approaches being used in one building. However, the principle functions of the globalizing city, which can be qualified as the postmodern architectural program, bring to the fore the luxurious business centers, shopping centers and gated residential communities the geographical spread.

Business Centers

During the transformation experienced with the rising global influence of Turkey, Istanbul, characterized as the locomotive of industrialization, was radically transformed. In the Istanbul macroform the dominant industrial structures towards the end of the 1970s spread to the city limits during the decentralization process. In their place came glass and steel skyscrapers for the service and finance sector, high-performance business areas. In the 1990s international and national finance centers were placed on the Zincirlikuyu-Levent-Maslak axis (Picture 34). In globalizing Istanbul, structures were built within the limits of the former factory parcels; these buildings started to dominate the urban silhouette and the macroform and thus the finance and service sector which developed in the era after industrialization appeared on the Zincirlikuyu-Levent-Maslak axis. In 2010, due to changes in the sector, on the Anatolian side, Ataşehir, Altunizade, Kozyatağı, Ümraniye and Beykoz started to house business centers; giant office blocks and composite structures now dominated the urban macroform and silhouette on both sides of the Bosphorus.

Among these projects there were original steps that can be observed; these produced a different style in terms of architecture and contributed positively to the field. The Millî Reasürans Kompleksi (1985-1988) (Picture 35), designed by Şandor and Sevinç Hadi, is an important milestone in the architectural history of modern Turkey. In this structure, the Hadis eliminated the atmosphere of office space within the intense urban texture, creating an impressive empty space that could be called an iwan. In the words of Ömer Kanıpak, the architectural structure was “in contrast to the approach of designs of full masses, the design was established on the empty space between the locations.” Millî Reasürans A.Ş. won the prize for excellence in the National Architectural Project Branch and in 2012 was registered as a Cultural Existence Deserving of Protection. From the aspect of creating a similar twist Nevzat Sayın’s Shell Genel Müdürlük Binası (General Directorate’s Building) (1993) is an important example from the 1990s due to the role it played in the physical manifestation of international capital and local architecture.

The architect created a structure that brought to the fore a sensitivity; he was what can be called a craftsman. The principles that are customary to the architect include local sensitivities which are given priority in communication with cultural relations. The perceptive structural characteristics, the cognizable scale, the materials, texture, color and the sense of light are all basic characteristics of the basic form of expression in the structure. In the project, in which can be observed the dominance of a geometric and typological order, the delineative component of the flow between the spaces is the axes; there is a clear relationship between the functional program and the building. The Maya İş Merkezi (business center), built in the same year as one of the first to use the new technology of the era and the image of the new materials of the age, i.e., glass and steel, was designed by UMO Mimarlık. The rational design and functional use are positively exemplified with the area. Today, Trump Towers (2005), designed by the foreign architect Brigitte Weber, covering 260,000m2, attracts attention with its twin towers in the silhouette that is dominated by skyscraper architecture on the European side. One of the rare business centers that breaks the dominance of the high buildings is the office structure of Doğan Holding’s new center on the Anatolian side in Altunizade. Nevzat Sayın built the structure on a narrow plot of land, on the vertical, lying the rational skyscraper logic on its side. In a similar way, Emre Arolat’s Tekfen Kağıthane Ofis Park, in Kağıthane (2007-2011) (Picture 36), integrated his high technology rational architectural approach, creating an original model which contributes to the transformation of office architecture. In contrast to the integrating approach of the familiar office structures, the project, which borrowed its reference from the fragmented structural pattern of the surrounding environment, differs from the monotype office structures of today due to the ratio between the filled space and empty space; this is in parallel with the fragmentation that provides flexible usage and the effect of the color and texture. It brings a new and original approach to office architecture and provides an extraordinary contribution to the discipline of architecture. The same architect, along with Murat Tabanlıoğlu, put his signature to the Zorlu Center in Zincirlikuyu (2008-2013); this is a very controversial building due to the radical increase in urban density, the privatization of public land, and the dramatic role that it played in the urban silhouette. Murat Tabanlıoğlu and Melkan Tabanlıoğlu successfully implemented the use of high technology in the rational office projects that can be seen to have traces of modernism; expertise at a high level and working with institutional professional organizations, they succeeded in putting their names to globally scaled projects. Reinterpreting this modern style in light of social and technological changes, of the office buildings that reflect this approach of today the Doğan Basım Tesisi (press facilities) (1995), the Tunaçelik Fabrikası (steel factory) and the Showroom building (1997, 2002, Kınalı, Istanbul), the Doğan Medya Merkezi (media center) (Istanbul, 1997), the Doğuş Alışveriş Merkezi (shopping mall, Istanbul 1998) can be included. The twenty-first century projects of the Tabanlıoğlu company include the very controversial, in the framework of foreign investment, Salıpazarı Liman ve Turizm Merkezi (port and tourist center) – Galataport project (2001, Istanbul). Among the historical buildings that were transformed into office buildings, a unique example is the transformation of the old Tuz Ambarı (salt depot) (2008 – Picture 37). The 170-year old Tuz Ambarı is located in Kasımpaşa which was the industrial region of the city at one time, that today has lost its original form.

27- Istanbul Dry-goods Dealers Bazaar and Social Security Administration (in Unkapanı)

The project, realized by Kerem Erginoğlu and Hasan Çalışlar, keeps to the relationship between space and structure, protecting the stone walls; the second was designed as a steel-glass structure. The structure presents an original and positive contribution to the architectural discipline and to the discussion of the concept of preservation, a hot topic today.

One of the examples of technological development and the new architectural language that comes to the fore today is the administrative center of the Vakko Company in Nakkaştepe (2010). The preliminary project, prepared by the American architectural office Rexx for another place and program, was adapted to this location. The masterly use of the twenty-first century architectural language, and the relationship established with nature and the topography of the location makes the building unique. Levent Office (2010), which was designed by Swanke Hayden Connell Architecture, who have become recognized for sustainability and energy preservation, is the first comprehensive “green building”.

In short, among the “business centers” that are dominated by skyscrapers, there are individual unique examples in the macroform of the city. Along with the presence of these unique individual examples, the single type business centers along the ring road are becoming more common in the European and Anatolian city silhouette.

Shopping Malls

In Istanbul, which is the host to the physicalization of the globalization of the finance-service sector, shopping malls have come to the fore in the urban macroform as isolated structures of the city; they present self-contained, homogenous living spaces in residential areas. The first mall on the European side was the Galleria Alışveriş Merkezi (shopping mall – Ataköy Turizm Kompleksi), designed by Hayati Tabalıoğlu in 1986. From 1986 to 2013 with the 85 shopping malls built in Istanbul, the city has taken up a significant place among world metropolises in terms of the compartmentalization of the consumption culture and dominance in the macroform of the city.

28- Istanbul Dry-goods Dealers and Linen Traders Bazaar

28- Istanbul Dry-goods Dealers and Linen Traders Bazaar

One of the centers that was popular when it first opened, but quickly fell out of popularity in Istanbul, was Metrocity, designed to have a direct connection to the Metro; this was designed by Doğan Tekeli and was intended to be integrated with the multi-storied residential, business and commercial center (1994-2001). Located on a neighboring plot of land, and another similar mixed-use project, is Kanyon, which was built by Jerde and Tabanlıoğlu together as a shopping mall, office complex and residential structure, covering 250,000 m2 (2001-2006, Levent) (Picture 38). The curved structure gives a rich valley experience to the shopping mall group. The luxury iconic structure, which has multi-purposes, such as residential, shopping mall and office block, is a symbol of globalization; the interior-exterior is combined with transparent surfaces, creating a “cultural and social environment” by serving as an art curator. In a debate about the spatialization of the globalization dynamics and consumer culture, Kanyon brought a new approach to architecture, presenting the opportunity to shop in open air for the highest income groups in Istanbul. On the same axis, after Kanyon comes, İstinyepark, designed by the DDG Development Design Group and Ömerler Mimarlık, (2005-2007); this is one of the latest examples of the physicalization of the luxury consumer culture with its stylized language and use of shiny steel and glass. Another similar example, designed by Chapman Taylor, BDP Building Design Partnership, T+T Design Architectural Project, Era Şehircilik, Mimarlık, is Forum İstanbul (Bayrampaşa, 2009), covering an area of 164,000 m2 over a total area of 400,000 m2; this is located in one of the neighborhoods that has appeared in the postmodern period and which is rapidly transforming.

The first large shopping mall on the Anatolian side, designed by Adnan Kazmaoğlu and Mutlu Çilingiroğlu, was Capitol Alışveriş Merkezi (1990, Altunizade), covering 58,000 m2. Following this was the 150,000 m2 Carousel Alışveriş Merkezi ve Hastane Kompleksi (shopping mall and hospital complex) (1997, Beylikdüzü) and the 40,000 m2 Akatlar Kongre, Kültür ve Ticaret Merkezi (congress, culture and commercial center) (1997, Akatlar). Kazmaoğlu continued to search for stylized images, with Towncenter, Konut Yerleşmesi ve Çarşı (residential and shopping) Project, which was selected among three offices in a limited competition. Towncenter measures 13,500 m2 (2000, Kemerburgaz, Istanbul).

In globalizing Istanbul, it is the shopping malls, when understood as an area that is set aside - socially and spatially – and which are perceived as “public space”, that come to the fore in consumption and exclusivity. Here, an exception is the Meydan (2007) (Picture 39) project on the Anatolian side, which was designed by the Foreign Office Architects (Alejandro Zaera Polo and Farshid Moussavi). This is a unique study, not only for the process that was undertaken, but for the example that makes a positive contribution to the debate over public space. In a limited invitation from the İşveren Metro Group, this was selected as charrette among five offices; the participants acted as the jury and they selected the Meydan project. In Ümraniye, one of the postmodern settlement areas that was rapidly developing with the globalization of Istanbul, thanks to its proximity to the second bridge, a different economic group resides; thus, this structure had the potential of not only physically but also socially acting as a uniting force. The roof, on which people can walk, the different dimensions of the courtyards and the main gathering space is integrated with the surroundings, creating an urban meeting point. In this scope, this structure exemplifies in the best way how the power of architecture can be used to create public space.

29- Istanbul Naval Museum

From the perception of an environment in which global neoliberal politics were physicalized, shopping centers, the creation of controlled, introverted spaces, are not only increasing in number, but are the focus of the current architectural debate.

Residential Complexes-Luxury Residential Areas

A large number of spacious residential settlement projects have been realized in regions that have become densely populated residential areas, like Bahçeşehir, Kemerburgaz, Zekeriyaköy and areas along the Bosphorus. Bahçeşehir, a residential area that can be considered popular among these, located in an area known as Hoşdere (Bojdar) Çiftliği, covering 470 hectares and located to the north of the TEM, and to the southwest of Küçükçekmece Lake, next to the Ispartakule Train Station, was built as the latest important project by Emlak Bank; designed as a suburb, it was planned in 1994 and the original plan was for 15,000 houses. Bahçeşehir, which was designed so that each person would have a green space of 12 m2, has the characteristic of being a settlement and has won a number of international prizes. Its design, intended for higher income groups, is as a suburb developed around a lake with green areas and social facilities. It serves as a center that brings together areas that are developing around it like Boğazköy, Esenkent and Ispartakule. Bahçeşehir, which is close travelling distance from the industrial areas in both İkitelli and Hadımköy, even if there is an attempt to identify it more as an independent project than as part of transportation plan centered on Istanbul, can be seen not to have reached the stage of development that surrounds it. The hoped-for “business center” for nearby communities has yet to find a place in the unplanned urban area that is known as the 3rd Yaka (shore).

On the Anatolian side, between Kadıköy and the 650-hectare area that is known as Ümraniye Karaman Çiftliği, the 50,000 house Yenikent project, far from settled areas with a “utopic” approach, was prepared in a similar way in 1983 as a residential area. Ten years later, in 1993, the transformation to a residential area, a suburban area known as Ataşehir (Picture 41) began. The settlement, which was transferred from Emlak Bank to TOKİ, consisted more of blocks of apartments. In the 2010s, the development, which jumped to the west of the second ring road, was known as Batı (west) Ataşehir; this was surrounded by the D100 and had the characteristic of being a satellite city with a “central business area”. This area, known as Finanskent (financial city), can be perceived as the transition to an urban unit with a balanced working area.

These types of centers are outside the more populated residential areas and house an increasing number of middle- and upper-income groups. These centers entered the disintegration process with the gentrifying of regions which had collapsed in the city center; they have taken shape as a conglomeration of living areas isolated from the poverty of the city and locationally disparate to the urban macroform. In this process, the luxury residential housing in Istanbul, identified as a symbol of new life in the globalization period, which was geared towards the upper income groups came to the fore in matters of design and construction. In the process of visualizing the symbol of new life in the luxury housing, examples can be found which interpret traditional components of Turkish/Ottoman architecture. At the same time, an approach that combines today’s technology with today’s symbols is also evident. For the first examples, we can speak of Adnan Kazmaoğlu and Mutlu Çilingiroğlu’s concept of a rational plan when realizing the plans for more than 50 buildings with a clear structural order and projects that used historical symbols: Eston Malikâneleri (1996, Bahçeşehir) and Sarı Konaklar Sitesi (1993, Akatlar). Among the samples that were developed in a style which employed historical references, we can include Mesa Konaklar Sitesi (1988, Altunizade), Bizim Vadi Yerleşmesi (1989, Zekeriyaköy), Bahçeşehir Yerleşmesi (1989-1990, Bahçeşehir), Çamlıca Villaları, İkiz Villa (1996, Çamlıca), Florya Konutları (1996, Florya), Koru Sitesi (1997, Altunizade), Konut ve Büro Kompleksi (1997, Acıbadem), Soyak Ayışığı Vadisi Evleri (1997, Kandilli), İstinye Vadisi Villaları (1998, İstinye), Kemerburgaz Evleri (2000, Kemerburgaz) and 7000A Residence (2000, Ataşehir). In addition to the historical images that were used in newly developing locations of the city or the gated communities that are protected from the center, there are names that reference the Ottoman area.

30- Istanbul Chamber of Industry (Odakule)

In addition to the new residential groups which allude to the historical images, the restoration works that are being carried out on existing historical wooden and stone buildings have started to accelerate in this last period. Cafer Bozkurt’s positive contributions to contemporary Turkish architecture with his rational project solutions, professional standards and rigorous details in sensitive restoration projects can be given as an example (Köşk, Çengelköy, Istanbul, 1989; Ev, Arnavutköy, Istanbul, 1995-1996).

The gated residential areas that are rising up in the center of the city include Levent Loft (2005-2007), Sapphire; the latter claims to be Europe’s highest residential block (2006-2010) and was built by Tabanlıoğlu on the axis of Büyükdere, remaining faithful to the industrial plot, with a rational interpretation of a luxury residential building. In the architectural field in Turkey, Can Çinici and Boran Ekinci, who made original contributions to the development of the discipline on an intellectual level in competitions and implementations, have produced projects on the localization of new living models for the metropolis contributing to the formation and visualization of the 21st century identity. Among the principle examples, Doğa-Meşe Park Evleri (2005) and Ihlamur Konukları (2003) projects can be cited. In a similar way, Can Çinici’s Kent Optimum in Zekeriyaköy, which includes single-story houses, is a project that is aimed at “internal continuity”; it was designed as single houses or blocks which were built in conformity, with anonymous and industrial details. In addition to the newly developing perimeters of the city, Boran Ekinci’s Belkis Apartmanı (2010-2011), which was realized on the Pera hillside overlooking the Golden Horn, is an original architectural interpretation that exhibits this typology. In a similar way, Can Çinici’s Ada Apartmanı (2007-2010) (Picutre 42) in Bostancı on the Anatolian side was created as two or three-room plan types on the floor level, with the ground floor being left vacant, an open and hard paved garden. The thin eaves were removed from the side to allow a pedestrian entrance from the street and the place under this has been left vacant. This entrance, which allows a view of the side and back gardens, not only lengthens the entrance sequence as much as possible, but also acts as a balancing element to the density of the upper floors.

31- Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (Currently Istanbul Commerce University)

The Optimum Evleri (2000), designed by Han Tümertekin on the Anatolian side, is the pioneering example of a controversial structure built within a forest and close to a water reservoir. The project, which took into consideration the characteristics of the location, was laid out with extraordinary simplicity and a human approach; it was carried out with integrated and careful details. However, although the residential group was equipped with a filter system, due to the fact that this region is close to the water reservoir, it was controversial that its construction was permitted in the area by the lawmakers.. Emre Arolat, İhsan Bilgin and Nevzat Sayın’s experimental mass housing project, Evidea Konutları (2004-2005, Istanbul), was constructed in Çekmeköy, a region of the city that was made available for construction and which is rapidly developing, in an environment of new residential structures and potential residential areas. In the mass of the structure, the residential blocks have been styled on a mass structure and are integral in an introverted design. The wide area which remains in the center of the blocks, the private areas in the perimeters and and the common area in the lower center all form an uninterrupted interior space; the entire traffic circulation is carried out on roads outside the residential buildings and is limited by the sections of the closed garage underneath it. In a similar way, Narcity, designed by Nevzat Sayın and Mert Eyiler (Maltepe, 2005-2007), is an attempt at mass blocks with a central courtyard in the latest period of mass residential architecture. The residential group is a unique example that can be evaluated in light of the universal traces of modernism on local and cultural dimensions. However, in both examples, after the security gates are closed, the inner facing courtyards presents a design that is separated from the outside world.

The fact that land prices and tax brackets on the Anatolian side are low has led to large scale development projects, one after the other. Varyap Meridian (2009), designed by RMJM Hillier Architecture Worldwide, and Dome Doğal Mekân Mimarlık, used the slogan “a lifestyle” and the last is an example that stands out with its unique physical form and contemporary luxury and highrise residential blocks.

As stated at the beginning, when dynamics like globalization in the light of postmodern geography and the process of the production of urban space on the postmodern geography and functions are examined, a market that differentiates the architectural profession and the position of the architect can be observed. In the complicated process which includes local administration, central administration, real estate investors, non-government organizations, architectural chambers, KİPTAŞ and TOKİ, all as the social actors, the architect becomes only one of many actors. At the basis of this production environment, the architectural projects that are created by the small- to middle-scale private sector, institutions driven by profit, local administration, TOKİ, İMP (Istanbul City Planning Department) and the private sector, on a global scale, take their place in the fore of the urban macroform. It cannot be said that these projects were carried out with sufficient transparency or urban participation. With increasing criticisms, limited invitations for large-scale urban competitions have been made (Picture 43). With an increase in criticisms of radical urbanization, growing in the center and to the north, according to a decision taken by the Metropolitan City Council, the İMP organized a limited international offer in 2006 for both Kartal and Küçükçekmece to create attraction centers on the east and west peripheries of the city. Among the five international architectural companies that were invited to each region, in Kartal Zaha Hadid and team, in Küçükçekmece Kengo Kuma and team were selected. The visibility of urban transformation and large-scale projects in the public eye increased during the process of the competition. However, the projects were not carried through. In 2011, under the name Yenikapı Transfer Noktası ve Arkeopark Alanı Uluslararası Mimari Avan Projesi Davetli Hizmet Alımı (Yenikapı Transfer Point and Archeopark Area, Call for Service in International Architectural Concept Design) a new urban design process began. Among the eleven office projects that were included, an international selection board awarded three offices joint first prize, but the project has not been implemented.

In today’s environment, the Marmaray, the new metro lines, the third bridge and the new ring roads, which are integrated with neoliberal global policies, will be determinant of the future form and production of the urban macroform. In a city in which the intensity of capital, shopping and communication have increased incredibly, there is a physical manifestation of class differences, as well as an anonymous, mass and commercialized urbanization and architecture which has come to the fore.


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This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.