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Learning from Swindon Railway Town: A Comparative Study with Alsancak Railway Campus [Megaron]
Megaron. 2024; 19(2): 161-183 | DOI: 10.14744/megaron.2024.21208  

Learning from Swindon Railway Town: A Comparative Study with Alsancak Railway Campus

Şeyma Seyrek1, Elvan Ebru Omay Polat2
1Architectural Restoration Programme, Hitit University, Çorum, Türkiye
2Department of Architecture, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Türkiye

The railway system, considered an industrial heritage today, emerged in England as a means of transportation and spread rapidly worldwide in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. As in other industrial building types, the advancement of technology and the emergence of new systems for railway structures have been a threat; since the twentieth century's latter half, many railways in the industrial and mining areas have been closed, and the disused buildings have faced the risk of rapid extinction. The deliberate destruction of railway structures in the 1960s, symbolized by the demolition of the Euston Arch in England, started the debate on railway heritage, first in England and then in the world. This study focuses on Swindon Railway Town, a highly significant industrial settlement of its era in England, as an exemplar of railway heritage conservation due to preservation efforts since the 1980s, including various restoration and reused railway buildings. It is an early and important example of both railway construction and conservation practice. This article aims to investigate Swindon as a potential conservation model for the Alsancak Railway Campus, considering their shared similarities in era, scale, and style, through a comparative study focusing on cultural significance and conservation status. These two railway areas were selected as case studies because they
showcase the architectural diversity of railway buildings, sharing similar architectural features. Both railway campuses were built by the British as the first and early examples of railways in their countries. They were encountering similar problems such as becoming dysfunctional due to developments and changes in railway technology. The research methodology employed in this study comprises archival research and on-site visits to the railway town of Swindon and
the Alsancak Railway Campus. Beginning with the history and significance of Swindon railway town, the study systematically examines the buildings that formed a planned railway town. Secondly, an overview of the railway heritage conservation process in Swindon is provided by highlighting the conservation area status, its management plan, and systematically analyzing the conservation status and transformation process of the historical railway structures. It is followed by a comparative analysis between Swindon Railway Town and Alsancak Railway Campus. Overall, this study presents an evaluation and potential for the conservation of railway heritage areas through a comparative analysis.

Keywords: Adaptive reuse, Alsancak railway campus, conservation, railway heritage; Swindon railway town.

Şeyma Seyrek, Elvan Ebru Omay Polat. Learning from Swindon Railway Town: A Comparative Study with Alsancak Railway Campus. Megaron. 2024; 19(2): 161-183

Corresponding Author: Şeyma Seyrek, Türkiye

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