Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey, and the Modern House 9780822395577

Esra Akcan describes the introduction of modern architecture into Turkey after the Kemalist political elite took power i

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IN TRANSLATION Germany, Turkey, & the Modern House





© 2012 Duke University Press All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper


Designed by Jennifer Hill Typeset in Garamond Premier Pro by Tseng Information Systems, Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data appear on the last printed page of this book. Duke University Press gratefully acknowledges the support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, which provided funds toward the publication of this book.

I MM I Publication of this book has been aided by a grant from the Millard Meiss Publication Fund of the College Art Association.

to my parents, Selma Akcan and Tuncer Akcan

Translation is the most intimate act of reading. GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY SPIVAK,

"The Politics of Translation"




Introduction MODERNITY IN TRANSLATION Translation beyond Language 6 The Theoretical Possibility or Impossibility of Translation 9 Appropriating and Foreignizing Translations 15 The Historical Unevenness of Translation 17 The Ubiquity of Hybrids and the Scarcity of Cosmopolitan Ethics 21 1

MODERNISM FROM ABOVE A Conviction about Its Own Translatability


New City: Traveling Garden City 30 New House: Representative Affinities 52 New Housing: The Ideal Life 76 From Ankara to the Whole Nation: Translatability from Above and Below 93





The Melancholy of istanbul 107 A Journey to the West 119 The Birth of the "Modern Turkish House" 3 SIEDLUNG IN SUBALTERN EXILE



Siedlung and the Metropolis 148 Siedlung and the Generic Rational Dwelling Siedlung and the Subaltern 195



Untranslatable Culture and Translatable Civilization "The Original" 218 Against Translation? The National House and Siedlung 5 TOWARD A COSMOPOLITAN ARCHITECTURE

Ex Oriente Lux 249 Melancholy of the East 252 Weltarchitektur- Translation of a Treatise 263 Toward another Cosmopolitan Ethics in Architecture Epilogue Notes





Sources ofIllustrations


215 215

233 247




or books that take as long to prepare as this one, writing the acknowledgments means going through a labyrinthine memory lane with circuitous routes of research, doubt, writing, erasing, rewriting, editing, and reediting. During the very early stages of conceiving this book I had the opportunity to discuss my ideas with incredibly gifted and helpful people. Among these I would like to start by mentioning my deep gratitude to my doctoral advisors at Columbia University, Kenneth Frampton, Andreas Huyssen, and Mary McLeod. If it were not for Ken's curiosity and love for architecture, Andreas's commitment to theory, and Mary's scholarly rigor, this book would not have taken its current form. Before arriving in the United States, my professors at Middle East Technical University, Emel Akozer, Kemal Aran, Ali Cengizkan, Unal Nalbantoglu, and Haluk Pamir, were inspiring in shaping my initial interest in Turkish modernization. During my studies at Columbia I was exceptionally fortunate to discuss parts of this work with Joan Ockman, Edward Said, and Gwendolyn Wright, as well as Jonathan Crary, David Eng, Reinhold Martin, Grahame Shane, and



Mark Wigley. Careful reading and suggestions from the members of my dissertation committee, Barry Bergdoll, Sibel Bozdogan, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, guided the rewriting of the book version. Sibel later became a co-author, close colleague, and friend, and I am delighted to have met her. I also thank Dean Bernard Tschumi and David Hinkle for their persistent commitment to launching and maintaining the Ph.D. program in architecture at Columbia, in addition to its other graduate programs. As an architect pursuing scholarly research, I benefited tremendously from what I considered one of the liveliest architectural centers of the world, and I thank the whole faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for contributing to the making of this environment. Needless to say, my fellow doctoral students were constant inspiration: Dear Cesare Birignani, Shan tel Blakely, Lucy Creagh, Kimberly Elman, Jennifer Louise Gray, Hyun Tae Jung, Eeva Pelkonen, David Rifkind, loanna Theocharopoulou, Sjoukje van der Meulen, Nader Voussoughian - I know I will be following your work for many years to come. The architecture studio faculty and the graduate students who took my architecture classes at Columbia, Parsons the New School for Design, and Pratt Institute were perpetual mirrors for self-checking. Additionally, Philip Kitcher trusted me in teaching political philosophy and ethics at the Core Program of Columbia, which undoubtedly broadened my knowledge and perspective. Looking back, I see once again how much all of the scholars, architects, and students at Columbia, as well as the intellectuallife in New York, influenced my work in more ways than any of us might have anticipated. The archival research for this book took place in thirteen cities in Turkey, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. I owe tremendous debts to the staff members of archives and libraries, including Avery Library (New York), the Akademie der Kunste (Berlin), the Kunstbibliothek (Berlin), the Turkish Chamber of Architects Archive (Ankara), Ankara Belediyesi Aqivi (Ankara), Milli Saraylar Aqivi (Istanbul), Stuttgart University Archives (Stuttgart), Special Collections at ETH Library (Zurich), Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universitat (Munich), the Bauhausarchiv (Berlin), Universitat fur Angewandte Kunst Bibliothek (Vienna), Graphische Sammlung Albertina (Vienna), Plansammlung der technischen Universitat (Berlin), Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nurnberg), Stadtarchiv (Frankfurt), Landesarchiv (Berlin), Universitat fur angewandte Kunst Sammlung (Vienna), T. C. Ba§bakanhk Cumhuriyet Ar§ivleri (Ankara), the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), and the Canadian Center for Architecture (Montreal). In addi-


tion to the staff members in these institutions, I thank those who generously opened their personal collections for my research, including Kemal Ahmet Aru, Edhem EIdem, N qe Ergin, and Melih ~alh in Istanbul; Peter Diibers in Stuttgart; Thomas Elsaesser in Munich; Manfred Speidel in Aachen; and Bernd Nicolai (then) in Trier. lowe special thanks to Speidel and Nicolai for their incredibly helpful guidance during my research in Germany. While the early version of this book was written in New York, Berlin, and Istanbul, my carreer took me to new cities during the rewriting process. As an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, I had the endless support of my dear colleagues, Ellen Baird, Catherine Becker, Bob Bruegmann, Nina Dubin, Heather Grossman, Peter Hales, Hannah Higgins, Dean Judith Kirshner, Victor Margolin, Jonathan Mekinda, Virginia Miller, Bob Munman, Annie Pedret, Martha Pollak, and David Sokol. As an architect and scholar, I appreciated being able to participate in discussions at the architecture studios and receiving suggestions from both architecture and art history students. Most importantly, this book would not have been possible if the Art History Department at ur c had not been so strongly committed to the advancement of architectural scholarship, and had not allowed me to take educational leaves to accept fellowships at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, and Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, where parts of this book were written and edited. I think I speak on behalf of all scholars that our debt to research institutes such as Clark, CCA, and Getty is immeasurable. There are so few institutions that support scholarly research and writing in the humanities in general and architecture in particular that I cannot express enough my gratitude for their financial and intellectual support. Thank you to Thomas Geahtgens and Wim de Wit at the Getty Research Institute, Phyllis Lambert and Alexis Sornin at the Canadian Center for Architecture, and Michael Ann Holly and Aruna D'Souza at the Clark Institute, to mention just a few directors at these institutions. Above all, I was extremely fortunate during my years as a visiting scholar at these institutions to work with other fellows. Scholarly deliberations with Thierry de Duve, Rob Linrothe, Mary Roberts, and Avinoam Shalem, as well as Drew Armstrong, Susan Babaie, Ali Behdad, Carolin Behrmann, Jean-Louis Cohen, Tony Cokes, Jorge Coronado, Hartmut Dorgerloh, Hannah Feldman, Claire Fox, Alessia Frassani, Talinn Grigor, Courtney Martin, Sina Najafi, John Onians, Jennifer Purtle, Andrew Schulz, Peter-Klaus Schuster, Volker Welter, and Lisa Young, helped me both for this book and for




future projects. Something very special happened at the Getty Research Institute, where those of us working on different periods and places shared an interest in the remaking of art and architecture history as a discipline better equipped for a global future. I met not only colleagues whom I deeply respect but also lifetime friends at these research institutes. This book was financially supported by many institutions. During the research and early writing stages, I received grants from Columbia University, the Graham Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Kinne, and KRESS/ ARIT. For rewriting and publication, I received support from Columbia University, the Getty Research Institute, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the College Art Association, and the Graham Foundation. Needless to say, the book would not have existed without their generous financial support. Journal and book editors including Ali Cengizkan, Andreas Huyssen, Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachman, Jilly Traganou and Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Efe C;:akmak and ~eyda Oztiirk, Dora Wiebenson, and Jean Fran