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  • The architecture magazine [i]Arkitekt[/i] was an important platform for emigrated architects and urban planners such as Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Wilhelm Schütte, Ernst Reuter and Gustav Oelsner.
  • Magazine
  • Arkitekt
  • Zeki SayarAbidin MortaşSedad Hakkı Eldem
  • 1931
  • 1980
  • Anadolu Han (today Arpacılar Cad. No. 6), Eminönü, Istanbul (editorial office).

  • Turkish
  • Istanbul (TR)
  • The architecture magazine Arkitekt was an important platform for emigrated architects and urban planners such as Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Wilhelm Schütte, Ernst Reuter and Gustav Oelsner.

    Word Count: 28

  • The architecture magazine Arkitekt was the longest-lasting architecture magazine in Turkey and a critical companion to architectural practice in that country from the early 1930s. It mirrored the changes in the building landscape and the various discourses that shaped architecture in Turkey over five decades.
    The magazine was founded in 1931 under the Ottoman term for architect, namely “Mimar”, when in the absence of a Turkish architecture journal, five young architects decided to launch their own. The founders, who included Zeki Sayar, Abidin Mortaş and Sedad Hakkı Eldem, came from a generation in transition. All had been taught by the elite of neo-Ottoman architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts that was managed by Cem Mehmet Cemil from 1921 to 1925 and educated according to the principles of the École des Beaux-Arts. As graduates, however, they were confronted with a different, new architecture, as implemented by Ernst Egli and Clemens Holzmeister in Ankara and Istanbul. Considered to be not yet capable of bringing about the architectural renewal of the country demanded by the Kemalists, the young Turkish architects were looking for ways to make themselves heard.

    Mimar featured buildings – including villas, apartment buildings and industrial buildings – designed by Turkish architects. The journal provided information on building projects and competitions and published critical essays on cultural policy. Despite its national approach, Mimar did not focus only on Turkey, but also drew attention to the avant-garde abroad. In 1935, as part of its language and writing reforms, the government demanded that the magazine change its name, “Mimar” being etymologically derived from Arabic and seen as incompatible with the demand for Turkisation. Inspired by the Finnish term "Arkkitehti", the editors changed the title to Arkitekt, but attempts to embed this new word for architect in everyday language failed. Architects in Turkey continue to be called “Mimar”.

    Mimar/Arkitekt was initially based in the architectural studio of Abidin Mortaş, located in the office building Bincebbare Han in Eminönü, behind the Sirkeci post office (Akay 2015, 149). With issue 4/1931, the journal moved to Anadolu Han, where Zeki Sayar and Abidin Mortaş ran a studio together.
    Not only from the perspective of architectural history, but also from the perspective of art historical exile research, Arkitekt is one of the most remarkable publications of the 1930s and 1940s. Here, emigrated architects and urban planners such as Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Wilhelm Schütte, Ernst Reuter and Gustav Oelsner published multiple texts and thereby had the opportunity to stimulate discourse. They contributed on diverse topics, such as city planning and the Istanbul transport systems (Wagner), proportion and architecture (Taut), housing problems (Schütte), villages (Reuter) and monuments (Oelsner).

    It is remarkable that most of the contributions in German to Arkitekt were translated by Adnan Kolatan, who was also responsible for the translation of Bruno Taut’s textbook Mimarî Bilgisi [Architectural education] (1938). Another Arkitekt translator was the archaeologist Halet Çambel, who translated two texts by Wilhelm Schütte, “Mimar Yetiştirimi” (1943) and "Meşhur Mimarlar IV: Adolf Loos“ (1943) as well as Gustav Oelsner’s essay “Şehircilikte Abidevlik” (1945). Çambel was born in Berlin in 1916 to Turkish parents. Her family belonged to the Ottoman elite and were later members of the inner circle of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. She was a modern woman of the 1930s' Turkish Republic, studied archaeology and was also a successful fencer, a member of the Turkish fencing team in the 1936 Olympics. She later made a career as a professor at the University of Istanbul. With her knowledge of German, Çambel was an important mediator between the foreign architects and contributors to Arkitekt, the editors and the journal's readers.

    Right from the start Mimar was never afraid to criticise the master builders from abroad. Thus Holzmeister's prize-winning design for the new parliament building was judged to be “weak and dry in its external appearance” (Arkitekt, 1938, no. 1, 29). Others were assessed more favourably. Martin Wagner, the urban planner, for example, who published many essays in Arkitekt, was judged  by Sayar to be a “true scientist in his field”. (Arkitekt, 1938, no. 3, 86). Through his essays, in which he reflected on the relationship between capital and economy in urban planning, discussed demographic structures and solutions to transport issues, Wagner gave significant impetus to the development of urban planning issues in Turkey.

    Arkitekt benefited from the knowledge of foreign architects and urban planners and, in return, gave them the opportunity to share their thoughts with a wider public. For those emigrants who had suffered reprisals in National Socialist Germany and been robbed of their “voice” - among them, Ernst Reuter, Martin Wagner and Gustav Oelsner – the opportunity to publish in Arkitekt provided a feeling of recognition. These architects, town planners and urbanists were after all well-liked as consulting experts. This did not mean, however, that Arkitekt was uncritical of the work of the German-speaking experts. On the contrary, the magazine was one of the voices in the country that contributed to the radicalisation of the discussion about German-speaking architects. In 1933, the first letters of protest from Turkish architects demanding a greater voice were published in Arkitekt and the editors denounced competitions reserved for foreign architects, as well as the personal nomination of architects by the Kemalist government which threatened to hinder and displace the upcoming generation of Turkish architects (Mimar, 1933, no. 3, 30). The first competition for an exhibition house in Ankara was won by Şevki Balmumcu – like Zeki Sayar, Sedad Hakkı Eldem and Abidin Mortaş, he had graduated from the academy in 1928. Arkitekt was both a progressive magazine and a nationalist organ, and, from 1938 onwards, an increasingly vehement advocate of a Turkish architectural movement. This led to a controversial position on the subject of foreign architects which frequently displayed the character of an actual campaign.

    Word Count: 946

  • Arkitekt, no. 9, 1936, cover (Photo: Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
  • Arkitekt, no. 1–2, 1939, cover (Photo: Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Arkitekt, no. 10–11, 1936, cover. Issue with the essay “Istanbul havalisinin plânı” by Martin Wagner (
    Martin Wagner. “Istanbul havalisinin plânı.” Arkitekt, no. 10–11, 1936, p. 301 (
    Arkitekt, no. 7, 1938, cover. Issue featuring the essay “Proporsyon” by Bruno Taut (
    Bruno Taut. “Proporsiyon.” Translation Adnan Kolatan. Arkitekt, no. 7, 1938, p. 194 (
    Arkitekt, no. 3–4, 1941, cover. Issue featuring Wilhelm Schütte’s essay “Sefalet Mahalleleri” (
    Wilhelm Schütte. “Sefalet Mahalleleri.” [Neighbourhoods of Misery] Translation Adnan Kolatan. Arkitekt, no. 3–4, 1941, p. 78 (
    Arkitekt, no. 5–6, 1943, cover. Issue with Ernst Reuter’s essay “Kasabalarimiz“ and Wilhelm Schütte’s contribution “Karl Friedrich Schinkel” (
    Ernst Reuter. “Kasabalarimiz.“ [Our villages] Translation Adnan Kolatan. Arkitekt, no. 5–6, 1943, p. 121 (
    Gustav Oelsner. “Şehircilikte Abidevlik.” [Monuments in City planning] Translation Halet Çambel. Arkitekt, no. 11–12, 1945, p. 265.
  • Arkitekt/Mimar, 1931–1980.

    Arsebük, Güven, et al., editors. Light on Top of the Black Hill. Studies presented to Halet Çambel = Karatepe’deki Isik. Halet Çambel’e sunulan yazilar. Ege Yayınları, 1998.

    Akay, Zafer. “Arkitekt'in 50 Yılı: Evreler, yazarlar, Mimarlar.” Zeki Sayar ve Arkitekt: tasarlamak, örgütlemek, belgelemek, edited by Ali Cengizkan et al., TMMOB Mimarlar Odası, 2015, pp. 149–158.

    Cengizkan, Ali, et al, editors. Zeki Sayar’a armağan: Türkiye Mimarlığı ve Eleştiri. TMMOB Mimarlar Odası, 2012.

    Cengizkan, Ali, et al., editors. Zeki Sayar ve Arkitekt: tasarlamak, örgütlemek, belgelemek. TMMOB Mimarlar Odası, 2015., vol. 12, no. 46, 2012.

    Sayar, Zeki. “No title.” Anılarda Mimarlık. Yemyapı, 1995, pp. 100–113.

    Word Count: 107

  • I would like to thank Ali Cengizkan, who helped with information. The digital issues of Arkitekt magazine on the Mimarlar Odası website were an important source for this entry.

    Word Count: 29

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • Istanbul
  • No
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Arkitekt." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 20-06-2021.
  • Rudolf Belling

    As a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical University in Istanbul from 1937 until 1966, Rudolf Belling taught his students the technicalities of form, material and proportion.

    Word Count: 28

    Gustav Oelsner
    ArchitectCity Planner

    Gustav Oelsner became the founding father of urban planning in Turkey, his country of exile. He was also the author of numerous articles for the architectural journal Arkitekt.

    Word Count: 28

    Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and Wilhelm Schütte Apartment

    The exiled architects Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and Wilhelm Schütte lived from 1938 in an apartment in Kabataş, on the European side of Istanbul. The flat has been preserved in numerous photographs, allowing the interior design to be reconstructed. The view of the Bosporus from the balcony was spectacular.

    Word Count: 48

    Mimarî Bilgisi

    The architect Bruno Taut published his textbook Mimarî Bilgisi in 1938, only two years after his emigration to Istanbul, where he was appointed professor at the Academy of Fine Arts.

    Word Count: 29

    Türk Tarih Sergisi

    In 1937, the exiled urban planner Martin Wagner was commissioned to design an exhibition for a congress of the Association for the Study of Turkish History at Dolmabahçe Palace.

    Word Count: 29

    Mehmet Cemil Cem

    Cemil Cem is remembered as a cartoonist, although he also managed the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul for four years. While director of the academy, he supported Russian-speaking artists.

    Word Count: 30

    Ragıp Devres Villa

    The house designed by the Swiss-Austrian architect Ernst Egli for the engineer Ragip Devres in Istanbul Bebek left its mark on the Turkish villa landscape.

    Word Count: 25

    Bruno Taut House

    Architect Bruno Taut’s house in Ortaköy stands on a hillside with a panoramic view of the Bosporus, located at the point where Asia and Europe are closest to one another.

    Word Count: 32