The multi-story apartments of Turkish housing design during the modernity process

Karasozen R.

International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, vol.12, no.3, pp.1-16, 2018 (Scopus) identifier


© 2018 The author(s).The earliest apartment buildings in Turkey date back to the nineteenth century in Istanbul with the start of Westernization in the Ottoman Empire. The social groups that preferred apartments included Levantines, non-Muslim Ottoman citizens, bureaucrats, and wealthy Turkish families. These apartment houses had the features of European plan types and architectural styles. The first reinforced concrete buildings of the Empire emerged as the apartment houses at the beginning of the twentieth century. Following the foundation of the Republic in the late 1920s, modern apartment buildings began to be built as a project of modernity. As a reflection of modernity, living in a multi-story apartment was a symbol of status. Until 1965, the whole apartment building used to be owned by only one person who lived in it or rented it to other people. Changing the system, the property law enacted in 1965 marked a turning point, which required a construction agreement between the owner and the contractor, resulting in low-quality building labor and materials. This has led to the creation of terrible urban environments and minimization of the role of the architect, with some exceptions. Multi-story apartment buildings were also preferred both for high- and low-income mass housing projects, including the skyscrapers of the 2000s. In this study, the development and change of multi-story apartment buildings in Turkey during the modernity process is examined to provide a historical review of the changes in society.