Start Over

Mimarî Bilgisi

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

    Word Count: 2

  • (Architectural Education)
  • Bruno Taut
  • 1938
  • Kenan Basımevi ve Klişe Fabrikası, Narlıbahçe Sokağı No. 15, Fatih, Istanbul.

  • Turkish
  • Istanbul (TR)
  • 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

  • The German architect Bruno Taut (1880–1938), who emigrated to Istanbul in 1936, published his textbook Mimarî Bilgisi [Architectural Education] only two years after his arrival. The book was part of the 1938 publication series of the Academy of Fine Arts (Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi Neşriyatından). Taut was a professor of architecture at the academy and at the same time head of the building department of the Ministry of Education. Mimarî Bilgisi was printed by Kenan Basımevi ve Klişe Fabrikası, a publishing house run by Kenan Dinçman and located not far from the High Gate (Bab-ı Ali, Paşa Kapısı) in the historic district of Fatih. Little research has been done on the renowned Kenan Basımevi printing and publishing house. Kenan Dinçman, who was also a successful rower and weightlifter, acquired knowledge of photochemical printing techniques (cliché) for the production of high-quality books and newspapers during a stay in Germany. He and Taut presumably therefore communicated in German, facilitating the process. Mimarî Bilgisi contains many photographic illustrations in remarkably high reproduction quality. In an advertisement from 1937, Kenan Dinçman promotes himself as being able to satisfy even the most demanding customer: “Alelûmum klişe ve tabı işlerinde en titiz müiterileri bile memnun bırakacak vaziyette bir müessesedir.”

    With the publication of Mimarî Bilgisi, Taut fulfilled one of the conditions of his appointment: foreign professors were required by the Turkish government to write textbooks on their subjects, in addition to their practical work. Bruno Taut had already begun writing his book in Japan; in Istanbul he revised and completed the manuscript. His partner Erica Wittich-Taut reports that her husband dictated the handwritten notes to her for copying and that he was able to see the proofs before his death. The architect had probably also planned a Japanese edition of Mimarî Bilgisi (Wittich-Taut 1939), but one did not appear until 1948. In Taut’s native Germany, which he was forced to leave in 1933, the book was not published until 1977, almost forty years after the first Turkish edition.
    Bruno Taut’s Mimarî Bilgisi has the status of a legacy, not least because of the sudden death of its author, only a few days after publication. The book reproduced a photograph of Atatürk’s catafalque that Taut had designed for the founder of the state’s funeral ceremony (20 November 1938). The foreword by the Minister for Education, Saffet Arıkan, dated 9 December 1938, states: “Although Professor Bruno Taut has only been active in our country for a relatively short time, I am convinced that this book will be very useful to the students of this academy.” Taut died on 24 December, 1938.

    Mimarî Bilgisi was the product of Taut’s building experiences in Germany as well as of his studies in exile in Japan and Turkey (Taut lived in Japan for three years before he was appointed to Istanbul). His architectural teachings reveal the theoretical framework on which his practical work was based. Taut sought a synthesis of tradition and modernity, subordinated to the parameters of functionality, aesthetic demands and optimal adaptation to climatic conditions and in the book, he shifts between a regionalist traditionalism and functionalism.
    The volume features reproductions of German architecture and of the 16th century Japanese Villa Katsura, which for Taut was a perfect symbiosis of form and function, proportion and material. Buildings by the Ottoman master builder Mimar Sinan are also featured. The basic thesis of Mimarî Bilgisi was the understanding of architecture as the art of proportion, whereby every region in the world had its own characteristic building proportions. This insight, he believed, could produce ideal proportions and thus ideal architecture. Taut’s Mimarî Bilgisi was a transnational reflection based on the emigration and building experiences of its author. Without exile, the book would never have taken this form.

    Taut’s textbook reached its readers through a variety of channels. Zeki Sayar preprinted part of it in his architectural journal Arkitekt, over four issues in 1938 (Taut 1938a–d), allowing Taut’s reflections to reach a wide circle of interested readers. In addition, Taut used Mimarî Bilgisi as a lecture manuscript for courses at the academy (Gülsen 1984, 1676). In their memoirs, contemporary witnesses and students of Taut emphasised the importance of Mimarî Bilgisi for their work (Gezgin 2003, 95, 116). Maruf Önal, a student at the academy in 1938, describes that he and his fellow students first came into contact with architectural theories through the “very enlightening” reading of Taut’s textbook (Önal 1995, 68). With Mimarî Bilgisi, the theoretical reflections that Taut had formulated in his early years in publications such as Die Stadtkrone or Die gläserne Kette also reached Turkey.

    Mimarî Bilgisi was translated into Turkish by Adnan Kolatan, who was also responsible for the translation of several articles by German-speaking authors in the journal Arkitekt. As Esra Akcan pointed out, Kolatan developed an architectural terminology in Turkish, translating such terms as Siedlung (housing estate) as ikametgah and Sauberkeit (cleanliness) as temizlik (Akcan 2012, 264f.).

    Although Mimarî Bilgisi had only one edition in Turkey, the memory of the work and the author endured, and Taut remained a much-cited architect whose writings had a lasting impact. The exiled urban planner Gustav Oelsner praised the “excellent work” of Taut, “once a teacher at the academy and one of the most important intellectuals of our time” (Oelsner 1945, 266). Tahsin Öz, fascinated by Taut's theory of proportion and his explanations of the Süleymaniye Mosque, quoted from Taut's Mimarî Bilgisi in his book Istanbul Camileri [Mosques of Istanbul], published in 1962 (Öz 1962, 133).

    Word Count: 916

  • Bruno Taut, Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, cover (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
  • Advertisement for Kenan Basımevi ve Klişe Fabrikası publishing and printing house which appeared in Akşam newspaper, 31 October 1937, p. 10 ( The owner Kenan Dinçman advertises the high quality of his printworks: “Son sistem makinelerle mücehhez klişe atölyesi – En mükemmel tabı makineleri ve mücellidhane takımları“.
    Bruno Taut. “Teknik.” Arkitekt, no. 9, 1938, p. 257 ( Taut published a preprint of Mimarî Bilgisi in Turkey's first architectural journal.
    Bruno Taut, Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, bastard title (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, reference to Kenan Basımevi ve Klişe Fabrikası publishing and printing house (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, foreword by the Minister of Culture and Education, Saffet Arıkan (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, contents list (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, page 1: "Mimarî nedir? – What is architecture?" (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, page 73: Villa Katsura (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, page 73: catafalque for Atatürk’s funeral, designed by Taut (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Bruno Taut. Mimarî Bilgisi, 1938, page 156: Şehzade mosque (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
  • Akcan, Esra. Architecture in Translation. Germany, Turkey, & the Modern House. Duke University Press, 2012.

    Dogramaci, Burcu. Kulturtransfer und nationale Identität. Deutschsprachige Architekten, Stadtplaner und Bildhauer in der Türkei nach 1927. Gebr. Mann, 2008.

    Gezgin, Ahmet Öner. Akademi’ye Tanıklık. Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi’ne Bakişlar, vol. 2: Mimarlık. Bağlam Yayıncılık, 2003.

    Gülsen, Ömer. “Erinnerungen an Bruno Taut.” Bauwelt, vol. 75, no. 39, 1984, pp. 1675–1676, 1683–1684.

    Nicolai, Bernd. Moderne und Exil. Deutschsprachige Architekten in der Türkei 1925–1955. Verlag für Bauwesen, 1998.

    Oelsner, Gustav. “Şehircilikte Abidevlilik.” [Monuments in urban development] Arkitekt, no. 11–12, 1945, pp. 265–270.

    Önal, Maruf. “No Title.” Anılarda Mimarlık, Yem Yayınları, 1995, pp. 62–77.

    Öz, Tahsin. Istanbul Camileri, vol. 1, Türk Tarih Kurumu Yayınları, 1962.

    Özer, Ahmet. “Bruno Taut’un uzun yürüyüşündeki duraklar.” Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi 66. Kuruluş Yıldönümü Anı Kitabı, Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Yayınları, 2003, pp. 21–30.

    Tanju, Bülent. “Ein Aussenseiter der Baukunst in der Türkei: Bruno Taut.” Atatürk için düşünmek. İki eser: Katafalk ve Anıtkabir. İki Mimar: Bruno Taut ve Emin Onat = Für Atatürk gedacht. Zwei Werke: Katafalk und Anıtkabir, Zwei Architekten: Bruno Taut und Emin Onat (2nd edition), exh. cat. Technical University, Istanbul, 1998, pp. 26–28.

    Taut, Bruno. “Proporsiyon.” Arkitekt, no. 7, 1938a, pp. 194–204.

    Taut, Bruno. “Proporsiyon.” Arkitekt, no. 8, 1938b, pp. 233–237.

    Taut, Bruno. “Teknik.” Arkitekt, no. 9, 1938c, pp. 257–260.

    Taut, Bruno. “Teknik.” Arkitekt, no. 10/11, 1938d, pp. 317–323.

    Taut, Bruno. Mimarî Bilgisi. Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi Neşriyatından. Kenan Basımevi ve Klişe Fabrikası, 1938.

    Taut, Bruno. Architekturlehre. Grundlagen, Theorie und Kritik. Beziehungen zu den anderen Künsten und zur Gesellschaft. Architekturlehre aus der Sicht eines sozialistischen Architekten, edited by Tilmann Heinisch and Goerd Peschken, VSA, 1977.

    Wittich-Taut, Erica to Isaburo Ueno. Bruno Taut Papers (Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1 February 1939), BTS 01-16 and 17.

    Word Count: 306

  • Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Baukunstarchiv, Bruno Taut Papers.

    Word Count: 9

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • Istanbul
  • No
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Mimarî Bilgisi." 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

    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


    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

    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

    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