Sibel Bozdoğan and Esra Akcan, Turkey. Modern Architectures in History (Reactions Books, 2012)
This book is an unrivalled account of modern architecture in Turkey, placing architecture’s history in the larger social, political and cultural context of Turkey’s development in the twentieth century. It takes the reader from the end of World War I, when the new Turkish Republic was born out of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, to the country’s democratization after the 1950s in the midst of the Cold War’s competing ideological forces, and finally to the present, with Turkey continuing to be dramatically transformed through globalization, economic integration with the world market and transnational cultural influences, as well as with its renewed preoccupations with identity, including its Islamic and Ottoman heritage.
Turkey explores a country on Europe’s most eastern margin, and it is unique in tackling the issue of the modern and contemporary periods typically omitted in traditional surveys of modern architecture and Islamic art and architecture. The authors investigate how and why young Turkish architects adopted modernism early in the twentieth century and explore institutional and architect-designed buildings through the decades down to the present day, from government buildings, hotels and factories to apartment blocks and individual homes both urban and rural. They also focus on informal residential areas, and explain how some that have evolved from small settlements to colossal urban quarters exist at a slippery threshold between legality and illegality.
A richly informative history of Turkey’s built environment by a leading historian of the field, Sibel Bozdogan, and a scholar of architecture, Esra Akcan, this book will be of great interest to architects, urban planners and historians both within and beyond Turkey.