Istanbul is one of those cities that grew fast and furious in the mid-twentieth century when so many municipalities were investing in truly dour architecture: the city is lousy with mid-rise concrete apartment blocks that are a grim ring around the vibrant and messy historic center. So it was refreshing to see this new development of contemporary housing based on Ottoman residential traditions. It’s a giant development up by the Theodosian walls, a bit west of the Chora Church (my destination when I ran across this new construction). They’re not “revivals” to be sure, but certainly recall the scale, proportions, materials, and massing of the timber houses that still stand in various places around the city (click here for more info on this interesting vernacular). I wonder if the architects also followed through with not just the old-looking shells, but also the way those older homes must have been planned, not just for daily domestic functioning (which would be interesting to see how that has changed since the time of the Ottomans), but also in terms of the way they manage local climate. Would love to know more about this project, and would really love to see more of this kind of smart and humane (and potentially more sustainable) development–and not just in Turkey.
New-Old Architecture in Istanbul