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Winner of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural HistoriansWinner of the M. Fuat Koprulu Book Prize in Turkish Studies sponsored by the Turkish Studies AssociationWith the proclamation of the Turkish republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, Turkey's political and intellectual elites attempted to forge from the ruins of the Ottoman EmpirWinner of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award sponsored by the Society of Architectural HistoriansWinner of the M. Fuat Koprulu Book Prize in Turkish Studies sponsored by the Turkish Studies AssociationWith the proclamation of the Turkish republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, Turkey's political and intellectual elites attempted to forge from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire a thoroughly modern, secular, European nation-state. Among many other public expressions of this bold social experiment, they imported modern architecture as both a visible symbol and an effective instrument of their modernizing agenda. They abandoned the prevailing Ottoman revivalist style and transformed the entire profession of architecture in Turkey according to the aesthetic canons and rationalist doctrines of European modernism.In this book, the architectural historian Sibel Bozdogan offers a cultural history of modern Turkish architecture and its impact on European modernism from the Young Turk revolution of 1908 to the end of the Kemalist single-party regime in 1950.Drawing on official propaganda publications, professional architectural journals, and popular magazines of the day, Bozdogan looks at Turkish architectural culture in its broad political, historical, and ideological context. She shows how modern architecture came to be the primary visual expression of the so-called republican revolution--especially in the case of representative public buildings and in the idealized form of the modern house. She also illustrates Turkish architects' efforts to legitimize modern forms on rational, scientific grounds and to "nationalize" them by showing their compatibility with Turkish building traditions.After Ataturk's death in 1938, the initial revolutionary spirit in Turkish architectural culture gave way to nationalist trends in German and Italian architecture and to the inspiration of Central Asian and pre-Islamic Turkish monuments. The resulting departure from the distinct modernist aesthetic of the early 1930s toward a more classicized and monumental architecture representative of state power brought this heroic era of modern Turkish history to a close. Today, when Turkey's project of modernity is being critically reevaluated from many perspectives, this comprehensive survey of Kemalism's architectural legacy is timely and provocative....

Title : Modernism and Nation-Building
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ISBN : 9780295981529
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Modernism and Nation-Building Reviews

  • Paul
    2019-01-17 08:59

    In Modernism and Nation Building, Sibel Bozdoğan argues that the book’s two eponymous concepts were intricately tied together during the end of the Ottoman Empire and the first decade and a half of Republican Turkey. Noting that Turkish architects adopted modernism because of its rational and functional aspects, the author highlights their drive to eschew the style’s international connotations and attempts to “nationalize” its form. Analyzing her subject from the viewpoint of “architectural culture”, wherein architecture is denied an identity as an autonomous process/discipline, Bozdoğan divides her study into three periods: the “First National Style” or “National Architecture Renaissance”, “New Architecture”, and finally “National Architecture”.The “First National Style” or “National Architecture Renaissance” began in 1900 and was concerned with combining decorative Ottoman elements “with beaux-arts design principles […] and new construction techniques” for “smaller utilitarian structures of modern life”. It was the first self-conscious attempt at fostering an “invented tradition” for the empire, wherein an attempt to made to demonstrate their equality with Western styles. Paradoxically, however, their reliance on Western theories and models to achieve their aim actually displayed their inferiority. With the end of World War I and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Turkey sought to recreate an image that was distinct from the “Eastern” mores of the Ottoman Empire and thus gradually phased out the NAR from 1927 through 1931.Mustafa Kemal’s Westernization brought a new program to impose symbols from the top down, in the hopes that a transformation of form would lead to a transformation of content. A drive to demonstrate that civilization entailed a revival of a buried part of Turkish culture (and not merely an imitation of the west) was initiated, with the adoption of modernism developing as a key part of this process. The scientific and rational aspects of modernism also appealed to the positivism that characterised the Kemalist national plan. Finally, the economic crisis of the 1930s lent itself to the introduction of modernist architecture, which above all focused on functionality and simplification. The architect soon became a revered position, and early attempts at modernizing through architecture focused on women’s institutions and educational facilities, sites through which Kemal wanted to portray a more “western” image. These creations were not entirely mechanical, however, and creative and aesthetic explanations for a particular form often blurred with its functional rationalization. This movement, limited mainly to public buildings, sought to create a derivative, but uniquely Turkish style of modernist architecture, whose buildings were meant to represent new ideas and ways of existing that were wholly disparate from the image of the Ottoman Empire that had been manufactured by European Orientalists.It was the case, however, the most of the large public works were commissioned to foreign architects, and thus an indigenous movement towards the design of residential and apartment buildings soon flourished among Turkish architects, who focused on the single-family house and the apartment building. As Mustafa Kemal sought to distance the Turks from their Islamic and Ottoman past, a charge to connect the Turks to the ancient Hittite society was led by the newly-formed Turkish Historical Society in 1931. It was further claimed that “Turkish” art had always been distinct from “Islamic” art and that its similarities to the west had been buried under centuries of Ottoman rule. In addition to infusing their designs with elements from pre-Islamic regional cultures, proponents of this third phase of “National Architecture” also lionized the “vernacular architecture” of peasants and commoners as an indigenous and uniquely Turkish form. After Kemal’s death in 1938, architecture took on an even more nationalist tone as it sought to preserve his memory through the erection of national monuments, and “came to be identified with the power of the state”. Bozdoğan concludes by highlighting the fact that all three of these styles were used to invent, and promulgate a particular vision of, the nation, and were thus driven by nationalism. Given the structure of the society, there were no venues through which one could create architectural styles independent of the state.The connections that Bozdoğan attempts to draw between the reigning political climate and its expression in architecture are easy to follow, even for the non-specialist, due to the author’s concerted effort to organize and repeat the main points of each of her chapters. In fact the central arguments are restated and repeated so many times in each chapter that one might feel overwhelmed by the repetitiveness, rather than enlightened by it (and one word, “paradigmatic”, is noticeably overused throughout). As mentioned above, the work and its overarching ideas are fully accessible to those without a background in architecture, but the book also contains an array of somewhat more technical discussions that are of more interest to the informed reader. As stated in her introduction, Bozdoğan found it difficult to produce something that would be neither too esoteric nor too basic to her multifarious audience (specialists in architecture, specialists in the Ottoman Empire, non-specialists etc.) but, from reading the text, it is clear that she succeeded in finding a balance. Overall, Modernism and Nation Building is an interesting read, and one’s enjoyment of it would be significantly enhanced with a little background knowledge in both architecture and the Ottoman Empire.