Westwerke

This paper’s working title is a play on words, a pun that alludes both to the German predominance in the first works of western architecture built in Kemalist Turkey (hence the German word for “western works”), as to their typical aesthetics which, in their characteristic symmetry, massiveness, or the imposingness with which they enact a newly-established rule, could evoke that element of Carolingian ecclesial architecture. Two of these ‘western works’ have been chosen in order to frame the research, both chronologically and symbolically: the former is the all-German architectural competition Das Haus der Freundschaft in Istanbul, announced in 1916 by the German-Turkish Association, in which eleven architects participated – most of them belonging to the Deutscher Werkbund. The latter is Taut’s very last work, an ephemeral construction compulsorily designed and erected in a few days in Ankara – the new-state’s brand-new capital: the catafalque for the first president of the Turkish Republic and most salient leader and reformator, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, deceased in November 10th 1938. In this 22-years lapse, the Ottoman Empire was transformed into the Turkish Republic that we know today. Mustafa Kemal’s vision of Turkey as a modern, westernized, secular state undergirded an ambitious program of top-down reforms that affected society at large and still endure. Architecture was highly instrumental in embodying the modernization of Turkish society through the adoption of a specific formal repertoire deriving, albeit only superficially, from that of the Modern Movement – a slanted repertoire that was profusely and astutely deployed in the otherwise academic designs  by the German architects hired by the Kemalist regime.

BIO | Gabriel Carrascal Aguirre
, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Gabriel Carrascal is an architect as well as a researcher. In his professional practice, he is co-founder of Carrascal-Blas, an office with a long curriculum in building construction and renovation, interior and exhibition design. Since 2004 this office has been entrusted several urbanism and landscape studies by prominent institutions in Spain; as a researcher, Gabriel Carrascal collaborates regularly with the research group NuTAC at the UPM. In 2011 he has obtained a PhD degree at the international doctorate program Villard d’Honnecourt, IUAV. He has researched on the influence of German modern architecture in Greece and Turkey, in the frame of European identity.

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