Understanding Sedad Hakkı Eldem II: 1950-1980

SALT

“The buildings are easily considered as strong evidences and witnesses in terms of culture and civilization.” Sedad Hakkı Eldem

The online exhibition “Understanding Sedad Hakkı Eldem II: 1950-1980” is the second collection compiled from the Sedad Hakkı Eldem Archive. Focussing on Eldem’s productions between 1950-1980, it adopts a chronological order similar to the first exhibition. The evolving style of Sedad Hakkı Eldem is easily recognized in this period, to a degree that some buildings, particularly residences, can be considered an Eldem signature. In addition, Eldem attempted to apply his significant style on larger buildings with different functions. In doing so, he created a symbol for this concept. According to the developed economical structure and the transformations in society, less state buildings were designed during this period than previous times. This particular issue also decreased the representative mission of architecture, causing the private sector to become the employer. However, symbolism of the state ideology in Eldem’s buildings were replaced with the representation of the Sedad Hakkı Eldem Style, depicting another form of assigned identity. This particular style was not recognized in the morphologies of the Rıza Derviş and Safyurtlu II residences and Sirer Mansion, but instead were examples of this liberation. It is also crucial to emphasize that The Social Insurance Building in Zeyrek offers an entirely different interpretation due to Eldem’s contextual approach to this very project. The collection ends with Alarko Office Buildings designed in the late 1970’s. “Understanding Sedad Hakkı Eldem I and II” exhibits aim to display fragments from the archive of Sedad Hakkı Eldem, a collaborative research of Rahmi M. Koç Archive and SALT Research.
Safyurtlu Residence II, Yeniköy, İstanbul, 1952
Safyurtlu Residence II doesn’t completely reflect Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s research of “National Architecture” or Turkish House characteristics. Concrete columns, use of glass on the façades, horizontal components and such, can be considered as evidence of the new modernist movement developed after World War II. The space, which he labelled “Sofa” on the plan scheme, is actually a living room and the project doesn’t include an entrance hall. This particular issue is an obvious indication of Eldem’s unusual tendencies, different from his genuine style. In his later career, Sedad Hakkı Eldem reverts back to the characteristics of the “National Architecture” and Turkish House. In this context, Safyurtlu Residence II can be considered an exception.

Detail from the balcony

Interior space

Detail from the sider façade

Sider façade

Hilton Hotel, Harbiye, İstanbul, 1951-1955
Hilton Hotel, established in 1955, is Istanbul’s first international hotel. The press of the time shows great interest in this new, pure modernist building. The hotel was the first construction which destroyed the integrity of the park no. 1 of Henri Prost urban plan. Hilton Hotel was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merill as a morphological product of the brutal modernist movement, apparent after World War II. The interferences of Sedad Hakkı Eldem in the first original project were limited due to the entrance canopy designed in the shape of a ‘flying carpet’, a restaurant, garden pavilions and ‘Turkish House’ characteristics used in the interior details. However, Hilton and its neighborhood would return in Eldem’s later career with his design of a Turkish Restaurant, and the extension renovations of the hotel.

Sketch showing the interior of the restaurant

Sketch showing the partial façade and the garden

Partial detail from the garden

Entrance façade and the canopy

Details from the interior space

Canopy in shape of a 'Flying Carpet'

Florya Facilities, Florya, İstanbul, 1955-1959
Florya Facilities is not only one of the initiatives in Florya, but also one of the largest projects in Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s career, extending from Menekşe train station to Yeniköy, and including the presidential summer residence in Florya. Sedad Hakkı Eldem designed the urban (or settlement project) however, the buildings were collaborative works of Eldem and Orhan Çakmakçıoğlu. The project was approved in 1956 and presented to construct along the entirety of Florya beach. However, only two motels, a camping ground, and daily changing cabins were realized.

General view

Details

Details

Details from the interior space

Rıza Derviş Residence, Büyükada, İstanbul, 1956-1957
Rıza Derviş Residence at Büyükada, along with Safyurtlu II Residence, is one of Eldem’s designs adapting to a different context in which Eldem fixates a canon of his career and designs the residences with national tendencies. Although the building includes vernacular details, its general morphology depicts the characteristics of the wild modernist style of 1950’s. The modernist effect reveals itself through the horizontal details, flat roof and the exterior structure.

Rear façade

Living room

Sider façade

Indian Embassy Residence, Cinnah Street, Ankara, 1960-1968
The residence is a collaborative design of Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Orhan Çakmakçıoğlu. Interpreted as a modernist building, or as an expression of the Turkish House, the building can be considered as a hybrid with characteristics of both contexts. The vertical white-painted concrete structure scheme was designed with modernist tendencies in the contexts of modular proportions and the exterior expression. However, the rest of the building includes extending canopies, dark wall pavements and the console from the first floor to the roof; all statements of Eldem’s research in vernacularism. Besides the general exterior effect, the plan scheme of the building also adopts a similar approach. According to Sedad Hakkı, “The plan doesn’t differ from a plan of a traditional kiosk.” The project depicts a traditional plan scheme of the Turkish House.

Frontal façade

Rear façade

Partial frontal façade

Partial frontal façade

Detail from the sider façade

Social Insurance Institution Complex, Zeyrek, İstanbul, 1962-1964
The Social Insurance Institution Complex in Zeyrek, designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldem, was the winning project in a limited competition and was opened in 1962. The original design included various functions, such as a dispensary, a coffee house, and a bank branch office. However, at the completion of the final construction, the entire complex was assigned to the Social Insurance Institution. All buildings comprise modular façades, long canopies, consoles and vertical window proportions as an expression of Sedad Hakkı Eldem style, all references to the ultimate Turkish House. Eldem, with his firm contextual approach, not only designed the morphologies of each building, he also designed the entire settlement in such a manner that it adapted to the general silhouette of the street. Nevertheless, when the construction was complete, the general silhouette of the street had changed over time and like every contextual design, the complex depicted a different morphology to its surroundings. Sedad Hakkı Eldem won the Aga Khan Prize with the Social Insurance Complex project in Zeyrek, 1986.

Perspective sketch

Façade sketches

Various sketches

Pakistan Embassy Building, Ankara, 1963-1974
Pakistan Embassy Building satisfies the design understanding of 1960s, which consists of varying segmentary components. The embassy complex comprises of two buildings. The first includes the embassy offices and is equipped with modules, vertical window proportions and an honest, exposed structure depicting the classic Sedad Hakkı Eldem style. The second building, designed as the residence of the embassy, includes the canopy constructed with various vaults - also a clear reference to the Islamic architecture. The monumental portal which defines the entrance of the first building, can also be considered a similar Islamic reference. These components may obscur the Sedad Hakkı style, but they don’t eradicate it completely.

Offices building, sider façade

Residential building, sider façade

Offices building, façade detail

Residential building, frontal façade

Offices building, entrance portal

Residential building, partial sketch

Sirer Mansion, Yeniköy, İstanbul, 1964-1967
Sirer Mansion is different from the classic Sedad Hakkı houses and other Bosphorus mansions in the context of its design due to its tight parcel, which enforces the building to be adjacent to the next one. Designed with respect to the surrounding mansions in vertical and horizontal proportions, it differs from them with used materials and the frontal façade exposing the main structure. Although the parcel doesn’t allow a free organization scheme in plan, Eldem’s design seems to have developed in a unique way. Components like console, modulation and vertical structure constitute the characteristic of the rear façade, however the frontal façade seems independent, more so than the rest of the building.

Frontal façade

Rear façade

Interior space

Frontal façade, perspective sketch

Akbank Headquarters, Fındıklı, İstanbul, 1966-1968
The Akbank Headquarters located in Fındıklı, is one of Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s attempts to reflect the characteristics of the Turkish House through another function and on a larger scale. These characteristics are easily observed on the frontal façade, and the archive includes numerous façade sketches. All of these sketches show an exterior structure with different modular systems. The function of the building as an office create the expectation of a main module divided into sub-modules. Yet, Eldem designs the office floors as open offices, a particular plan scheme and frontal façade design that is considered simple and orderly.

Frontal façade detail

Entrance detail

View from the sea

Façade sketches

Atatürk Library, Taksim, İstanbul, 1966-1975
Programmed and designed as a cultural center comprising of varying facilities, in the original construction, only the library section could be built. The plan scheme, which Eldem had always wanted to build in the garden of Hilton Hotel, was formed with hexagonal vertical structures developed from the design of the Turkish Restaurant. This realized the library building as the final production of the hexagonal plan scheme, a system which Eldem had spent years working on. Eldem describes essentials of the design in the following statements: “These mansions with octagonal plan schemes, exist in Turkish tradition and are remembered along the names of great artists and architects. It is not a shame to repeat these. I don’t see anything wrong in it. It can’t be wrong for an architect to imitate him/herself. Otherwise, if the architect abandons the design, after the project is realized and the building is constructed, it means that this architect is finished and dead.”

Frontal façade drawing, March, 1973

Rear façade

General view

Site plan sketch

General view

Interior space

Sertel Mansion, Yeniköy, İstanbul, 1975-1980
Sertel Mansion, with its plan scheme, its façade characteristics and site plan, contained all components of the Sedad Hakkı Eldem style. In this context, the building can be considered not only as conceptual research or as a progressive design, but as a crystalized condition of Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s style. The building has a plan scheme including a middle hall and a modular structure, reflecting the façade as modular divisions - a main component of Eldem style. Elements like canopy and console are also included in the design as a representative of Eldem’s Turkish House concept.

Partial sider façade

Interior space

Façade sketches

Alarko Offices, Ayazağa, İstanbul, 1976-1979
In the 1980 issue of the Arkitekt magazine, this particular design and its architect Eldem are described as “the new architect with a new formula.” However, Eldem’s career was occupied with attempts to adjust the Turkish House and national characteristics to other functions and varying scales. An example of this attempt is the Alarko Offices in Ayazağa. Eldem avoids the use of aluminum or glass in large-scale buildings - popular tendencies of 1980’s. He invented a particular system reflecting the structure to the façades, replacing the strip windows with vertical components and preferring open offices to modular divisions. The headquarters, comprising of three buildings, reflect Eldem’s prototype office characteristics.

Frontal façade

Façade detail

Entrance

General view

Credits: Story

Prepared by Aslı Can, SALT Research and Programs
Sources:
Sedad Hakkı Eldem II Retrospektif, Bülent Tanju, Uğur Tanyeli
Sedad Eldem, Sibel Bozdoğan, Suha Özkan, Engin Yenal, Hans Hollein

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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