The Hungarian Cultural
Centre in Istanbul is hosting a new exhibition titled “Hungarian Design in
Turkey: Unrealized Hungarian Architecture from the Late Ottoman and Early
Modern Republican Periods.” The exhibition acts as a witness on behalf of
Turkey to an important shift in country’s architectural environment over the
course of the final period of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century alongside
the first half of the 20th century. Brought to life by scholars and researchers
from Hungary and Turkey alike, the exhibit builds a profile of the masterminds
behind Turkey’s modernist movement (particularly the construction of the
nation’s new capital of Ankara), evoking visitors to think about the period
under a different light.
The influence of the work of many a well-known German, French and Austrian architect as well as Hungarian scientist and professional could be felt throughout the first years of the Turkish Republic. For the first time ever anywhere, the exhibition brings together the unrealized building plans and projects of famous Hungarian architects envisioned for the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic, and puts them in dialogue with one another. Another of the exhibit’s aims is to compare the projects presented with Turco-German architectural relations of the period within a historical framework. Visitors can look at the sketches of potential important Istanbul and Ankara landmark projects, and imagine how they might have looked like had they been realized. Thanks to the support of the Gül Baba Tomb Heritage Preservation Foundation, the exhibit also features a video prepared to animate the proposed projects. Visitors likewise get to play the role of architectural jury, and will be able to vote via a poll for the building they’d wish to see built. Also featured are projects by prominent Turkish architects of the period, including Kemaleddin Bey, Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Züt Başar, and Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi. The exhibit is the result of meticulous archival research completed in Turkey, Hungary, Italy and Germany. Representing Budapest University of Technology and Economics’ Department of Architectural History and Historical Artefact Conservation, the Istanbul Hungarian Cultural Centre, Yildiz Technical University, and the Turkish Architectural Research Centre include Dr. Gergő Máté Kovács, Dr. Gábor Fodor, Prof. Dr. Nur Urfalıoğlu, Asst. Prof. Dr. Zafer Sağdıç, Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, Orkun Dayıoğlu, and Dr. Péter Rabb—all of whom have made many a major contribution to the field.
Among the actual projects featured include the Soli Deo Gloria church in Beyoğlu, Istanbul by Imre Henszlmann, commemorating fallen British soldiers of the Crimean War; the project was submitted to a contest in 1856. Others included are József Vágó’s proposed design for the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (dated 1937), alongside Alfréd Bardon and Károly Dávid’s “Yelken” projects, also submitted in 1937 for the International Harbour Visitor Hall Design Competition in Karaköy. Viewers can also see draft sketch produced by Ferenc Hillinger in 1938 for a house on the Istanbul Bosphorus, The Fenerbahçe Kavala Hotel project, designed by LAKÓTERV (István Janáky, József Körner, Péter Molnár, Antal Vass, and István Zilahy) in 1956, and “Workhouse” again designed by the same team for the district of Ulus in 1957, albeit listed as an apartment and office complex. The brainchild of Hungarian and Turkish researchers, the exhibition will be open for public viewing until January 31, 2020. All health precautions considered.
With over twenty-six different venues in twenty-four different countries, the Hungarian Culture Centre aims to spread the outstanding achievements of Hungarian culture, enlightenment, and science around the world. This international network of culture aims to nurture and build upon the cultural values and relations fostered by Hungary and the Hungarian diaspora. The first state institution abroad to sponsor Hungarian cultural activities was the Hungarian Science Institute in Istanbul, the then Ottoman capital. Driven by common historical and archaeological research between the two nations, the Institute had held its first eve meeting on November 21, 1916. Today, many consider this date is to be the birthday of institutionalized Hungarian cultural diplomacy.
For more information: www.macarkulturmerkezi.com