Scrolling through Istanbul: architecture revisited

In the mid-1980s, industry and commerce replaced bureaucracy, and the centre of gravity of the country has rolled from Ankara to Istanbul, drastically changing the dynamics of the city in economic, social and political fields. Today, as a rapidly growing protagonist city of a developing country, Istanbul has currently become the ‘stage’ of global social, economic, political transformations, visualized in the urban and architectural field. In this context, a large number of foreign architects have started to play an important role in the globalising city – very reminiscent of the role during the national setting up process of the country. However, the elite-driven, consensus-based western images are not currently simply the case. Within the politics of space and politics of identity in the third millennium in Turkey, in the context of the new architectural and urban transformation projects, a new discussion of spatiality – visibility of projects- emerged. Spatiality (the making visible of the space of the city of Istanbul to its inhabitants as well as abroad) has emerged as the ideological approach of urban modernization, in which the cultural, social and physical structure has been ignored. In the context of the Turkish politics and economics, new architectural and urban transformation projects have paved way to new urban and architectural identities characterized by visibility, rapidity and the accumulation of capital.
My paper, revealing the differences of the role of foreign architects during the national setting up process of the 1930 and the third Millenium, focuses on the radical shift in the architectural and urban fields in globalizing Istanbul.

BIO | İpek Akpınar, Assistant professor, Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture. Following her bachelor and Master of Science studies at Istanbul Technical University – Department of Architecture, she has received her doctoral degree with a thesis entitled “The Rebuilding of Istanbul after the Plan of Henri Prost: from secularisation to Turkish Modernisation” from Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University of London (2003). She is currently lecturing at ITU. She is publishing and organising workshops on the relations of architecture with the urban, political and cultural context. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Architecture, and member on the advisory board of the UCL Urban Laboratory. She is producing a radio programme entitled Açık Mimarlık (open architecture) at Açık Radyo-Istanbul.

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