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Studio Clemens Holzmeister

  • Between 1938 and 1947, the architect Clemens Holzmeister lived and worked in Istanbul Tarabya at Sümer Otel, formerly the Summer Palace Hotel.
  • Studio Clemens Holzmeister
  • Studio
  • Between 1938 and 1947, the architect Clemens Holzmeister lived and worked in Istanbul Tarabya at Sümer Otel, formerly the Summer Palace Hotel.

    Word Count: 21

  • Between 1938 and 1947, the Viennese architect Clemens Holzmeister lived and worked in Istanbul Tarabya at Sümer Otel, formerly the Summer Palace Hotel. Tarabya is a historic district of Istanbul and is located on the European shore of the Bosphorus. Tarabya was the location of the German embassy’s summer residence and of a military cemetery from 1880. The Summer Palace Hotel opened nearby in 1893/94 (sometimes 1883 is given as the year), mainly accommodating travellers on the Orient Express from May to October. The Summer Palace Hotel was a sister hotel of the Pera Palas Hotel in Beyoğlu, which was located near Sirkeci Station – the terminus of the Orient Express. The Summer Palace Hotel had 110 rooms, was electrified, luxuriously equipped with tennis courts and boasted a spacious terrace with a water view (Akçura 2013). The writer Karl May, for example, stayed here on his journey to Egypt and Ceylon in 1900. After the First World War, the Summer Palace Hotel was acquired by Mıgırdıç Tokatliyan, who already owned the Grand Hotel Tokatliyan in Grande Rue de Péra (Istiklal Caddesi). Later, the hotel name was changed to Sümer Otel. In the early 1950s, the hotel was demolished and the residential complex Sümer Site was built.

    Clemens Holzmeister had already been present in Turkey since 1927, mainly employed on ministerial building projects in Ankara, but the so-called “Anschluss” of Austria to National Socialist Germany drove him into political exile. From 1938 onwards he lived and worked in the Sümer Otel in Tarabya, where he probably occupied a floor or several rooms with his family and also ran his architectural office. Many of Holzmeister’s drawings and watercolours of the Sümer Otel and the Tarabya landscape have been preserved and show how this place was a focal point of the architect's life for many years. From here he supervised several projects in Istanbul and Ankara during the period from 1938 to 1947. These included the long-term project of the parliament in Ankara – Holzmeister had won the competition in 1937; the construction period was to last until 1963. In addition, he submitted proposals for the Atatürk Mausoleum in Ankara and the TH Ankara. He provided stage designs for the opera and theatre director Carl Ebert, who taught in Ankara, and developed an ideal theatre together with him. The Eckert-Rifki Villa designed by Holzmeister was built in Istanbul. Above all, however, the architect taught at the newly founded architecture faculty of the Istanbul Technical University from 1940 to 1947. His colleagues were the architects Emin Onat and Paul Bonatz, as well as the urban planner Gustav Oelsner.

    Holzmeister’s studio in Tarabya is still remarkable for political reasons. The studio and working group, described by Holzmeister as an “island of peace” (Holzmeister 1976, 110), attracted many architects. Herbert Eichholzer, Ines Viktoria Maier, Hans Pfister, Fritz Reichl and Stephan Simony worked for Holzmeister; Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky also worked there at times. On the basis of correspondence between Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, who had been imprisoned in Vienna since 1941, and her husband Wilhelm Schütte, Thomas Flierl was able to show that Clemens Holzmeister's studio in Tarabya became a nucleus for resistance against the Nazis (Flierl 2021, 478–480). Holzmeister himself was not a communist and until his exile was a supporter of the authoritarian, Austrofascist Ständestaat under Engelbert Dollfuß and Kurt Schuschnigg. Nevertheless, a resistance group of the KPÖ (Communist Party of Austria) was able to emerge in his immediate vicinity, and presumably tolerated or overlooked by him (Sümer Otel had a lot of rooms, moreover Holzmeister was abroad in 1938–1940).
    In 1947, Holzmeister finally moved to Ankara to supervise the construction of the parliament more closely, and subsequently commuted between the Turkish capital and Vienna.

    Word Count: 611

  • Sümer Otel (old Summer Palace Hotel), Tarabya, Istanbul (studio and residence).

  • Summer Palace Hotel à Thérapia. Salut de Constantinople, postcard, undated (SALT Research,
  • Ludwigsohn Frères, Terrasse du Summer Palace Hotel à Thérapia. Salut de Constantinople, postcard, undated (SALT Research,
  • Akçura, Gökhan. “Boğaziçi’nin ilk otelleri.” Milliyet, 29 March 2013, Accessed 3 February 2021.

    Balamir, Aydan, editor. Peyzaj ve Sahne Ressamı Clemens Holzmeister. Mimarın Türkiye de yaptığı Resimler (1940–1972). Architect as Scenery Painter: Clemens Holzmeister’s Landscape and Stage Paintings in Turkey (1940–1972). Şevki Vanlı Mimarlık Vakfı, 2011.

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

    Erdem, Ümit Baki. “Mıgırdiç Tokatliyan, Tokatliyan otelleri, gazinosu ve lokantasi. Cumhurbaşkanlığı Osmanlı Arşivi Belgelerine Göre.” MANAS Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, vol. 8, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1367–1390. DergiPark Akademik, Accessed 2 February 2021.

    Flierl, Thomas. “Mit einem Karton voller Briefe auf Zeitreise.” Schütte-Lihotzky, Margarete, and Wilhelm Schütte. “Mach den Weg um Prinkipo, meine Gedanken werden Dich dabei begleiten!” Der Gefängnis-Briefwechsel 1941–1945, edited by Thomas Flierl, Lukas Verlag, 2021, pp. 409–576.

    Herbert Eichholzer 1903–1943. Architektur und Widerstand, edited by Heimo Halbrainer, exh. cat. Clio, Graz, 1998.

    Holzmeister, Clemens. Architekt in der Zeitenwende. Selbstbiographie, Werkverzeichnis. Das Bergland-Buch, 1976.

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

    Nicolai, Bernd. “‘Zeichen geordneter Macht’ – Clemens Holzmeister und die Türkei.” Clemens Holzmeister, edited by Georg Rigele and Georg Loewit, exh. cat. RLB Kunstbrücke, Raiffeisen-Landesbank Tirol, Innsbruck, 2000, pp. 116–135.

    Schmid, Lothar, and Bernhard Schmid, editors. In fernen Zonen – Karl Mays Weltreisen (Karl May’s gesammelte Werke, vol. 82), Karl-May-Verlag, 1999.

    Yakartepe, Elif Çelebi, and Can Binan. “Istanbul’un Modernleşme Dönemi Otelleri (1840–1914).” Megaron, vol. 6, no. 2, 2011, pp. 79–94, Accessed 4 February 2021.

    Word Count: 264

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • 1938
  • 1947
  • Istanbul
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Studio Clemens Holzmeister." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 20-06-2021.
  • Eckert-Rifki Villa

    The architect Clemens Holzmeister designed the Eckert-Rifki Villa in Baltalimanı on the shores of the Bosporus in 1943/44. The residence has a tiled roof, bay windows and a stone base.

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    Pera Palace Hotel

    The Pera Palace was the gem of Pera district where people gathered to wine and dine and be entertained, as well as to discuss the issues of the day.

    Word Count: 29

    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

    Festive architecture for the 15th anniversary of the Turkish Republic
    Temporary street architecture

    One of the first commissions of the architects Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and Wilhelm Schütte, who emigrated to Istanbul in 1938, was a street architecture for the anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

    Word Count: 31

    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