Art & Culture | Honorary TURKISH CONSULATE for MICHIGAN

Honorary Turkish Consulate for Michigan
About Turkey: Art and Culture: Fine Arts
Harman by Namik Ismail


Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace Museum
An elcletic mix of Ottoman styles

The Turks produced masterpieces of architecture during the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The monumental buildings created by Turkish architects since the eleventh century have a distinguished place in the heritage of world architecture. The Selimiye and the Suleymaniye Mosques built by Mimar (Architect) Sinan, who is the symbol of Ottoman architecture, are masterworks reflecting the degree of maturity which the Ottoman architecture had reached in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in dealing with space and mass compositions. In fact, classical Ottoman style puts forth universal leaps and values.


The white stucco of Bodrum

The Early Republic Period Turkish architecture which was dominated by the First National Architectural Movement until 1930, developed as a continuation of Ottoman architecture. Architects of this period erected public buildings to serve the needs of the major Anatolian cities in the wake of the Turkish War of Independence. These architects who seem to have borrowed certain elements of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture, and who were led by Kemaleddin Bey and Vedat Tek, assigned special importance to facades which they decorated, sometimes elaborately, with stone carvings and ceramic tiles. The public buildings, some of which are standing today, reflect the pecularities of the First National Movement. After the 1930s, foreign architects began to dominate architectural activities. They brought functional designs and an austere look to buildings. Flat roofs were preferred; the facades were bereft of ornaments; large windows were used and almost invariably, buildings were erected in a design of which simplicity and function were given top priority. Most of these foreign architects also worked as instructors and professors in schools of architecture and thus trained a new generation of architects. Meanwhile the Turkish architects of the 1930s mostly followed these imported masters.

The Second National Architectural Movement, between 1940-1950, unlike the first, focused on some of the essential elements of design utilized in the civilian buildings of traditional Turkish architecture rather than merely on ornamental elements.

Emin Onat

Architect Emin Onat

The architects of this “movement” used structural elements such as eaves, wooden latticework, brackets and windows and carefully searched for a balance between the architectural ideas and elements they utilized. A meticulous workmanship in their works attracts attention. They were also careful about selecting the proper construction material to fit regional conditions. This facilitated and provided opportunities for the development of a local construction materials industry. The Macka Sark Kahvesi (Cafe) and various waterfront mansions on the Bosphorus are among the distinguished works of Sedat Hakki Eldem, one of the most important architects of the period. Emin Onat who is another noteworthy architect of this period produced works both with a regional and national perception. His Anitkabir (Atatürk’s Mausoleum) project in Ankara, which he designed together with Orhan Arda, is the most important monumental masterpiece of the period.

In the early 1950s, the influence of the Second National Architectural Movement rapidly faded and the influence of Western architecture intensified. This period, which lasted until the 1960s, and during which an exploration process in education, organization, design and application was predominant, can be regarded as a period of preparation for the emergence of contemporary Turkish architecture. Since the 1960s Turkish architects have been involved in an unending exploration of concepts, scientific principles and aesthetic values in architectural design. This resulted in the emergence of a myriad of approaches and tendencies and led to a dynamic and productive pluralism in architecture. No single vision and no single movement dominates the contemporary Turkish architectural scene. While making contributions emanating from their own creative resources, and from their unique personal or stylistic tendencies, contemporary Turkish architects have tried almost every architectural approach, from the use of fantastic and/or irrational forms to expressionist approaches, from creating monumental symbols to the utilization of traditional elements and from an arabesque search to postmodernist designs.

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