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The Notion of Type as “Conventionalization” in Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s Architecture [Megaron]
Megaron. 2021; 16(3): 418-429 | DOI: 10.14744/megaron.2021.78055  

The Notion of Type as “Conventionalization” in Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s Architecture

Bilgen Dündar
Beykent University, Department of Architecture, Istanbul / TURKEY

Sedad Hakkı Eldem is an architect who has an important place in the history of Turkish architecture. The purpose of this paper is to contribute an inclusive insight into Eldem’s notion of type. Sibel Bozdoğan defines Eldem’s understanding of type as a classic attitude due to his desire to gain authority from past examples and to pass this authoritarianism on to future generations. Similarly, Bülent Tanju reads Eldem’s approach as a classical attitude, as his texts have a singular meaning in contrast to his work of architecture. Although this study accepts Eldem’s classical attitude, it aims to show that the methods used to revitalize visual integrity include a notion of modernity as they encompass control mechanisms. The study aims to articulate Bozdoğan’s understanding of Eldem’s architecture in the context of Western architecture. While Bozdoğan reads Eldem’s concept of type through the architects who were the predecessors of this concept in the West, this study aims to read it through the discussions of type and individuality that emerged within the Deutscher Werkbund. Eldem’s understanding of type coincides with the concept of typisierung of Herman Muthesius and his supporters. There are similarities in the methods and concepts they propose to implement in order to provide visual unity and revitalize the culture. In addition to concepts such as norm, organization, system, exclusion mechanisms, the expressions that refer to cultural unity such as harmony, reconciliation, and anonymity are the concepts that are sought in this study. Stanford Anderson reads Muthesius’s Notion of typisierung, which has a cultural meaning outside of standardization, as “conventionalization.” Eldem’s understanding of type is read in this study based on Anderson’s concept of conventionalization. Apart from treating the concept of type as only a physical and formal reality, a result of industrialization, this concept, which allows us to read in a wider context, has been followed in Eldem’s texts. The methodology of this study involves a discursive analysis based on the texts that Eldem produced between 1929 and 1942. We can place Eldem’s buildings and texts at opposite poles of the debate on type and individuality in the Werkbund. While Eldem’s buildings represent the individuality camp because they are unique, his texts are included in the type camp due to the desire to create the convention. The study leaves the reading of Eldem’s buildings in this context to future research and looks at only Eldem’s texts and the National Architecture Seminar work as a general framework. The study concludes that the construction of a system and control mechanisms in Eldem’s discourse appear at different levels. First of all, in the analyzes he has made in the National Architecture Seminar, he reveals the types that will set the norm for later studies (at the level of details, at the level of plan type, etc.). In this process, he rationalizes, classifies, and organizes the construction forms of the tradition, representing them in a different way than they existed. Actually, the existing architectural product is carried to another context, objectified, and in a sense uses for its own purpose. He makes these to find out the common value, the essence, as Bozdoğan said. The important point for us is that he sees these types as tools to provide visual unity to be used in the production of the new architecture. The program proposed for the sake of achieving this visual unity and will be realized with the support of the state is a program based entirely on controlling the architectural practice. This is the other level where it uses control mechanisms to set up a system. Here, there is not only to prevent the individual tendencies of the architect but also the desire to control the whole process from material production to training of the builders. This is a control situation that should be done to avoid the slightest error in the system and an abnormal situation. That is why the power of the state should step in. Eldem’s thoughts include establishing a system and the mechanism that will realize this system through norms and an organization. These control mechanisms and the will to revitalize tradition and recreate visual unity form the basis of the concept of typisierung. The study reveals the similarities of these two different types of understanding in this respect.

Keywords: Conventionalization, Deutscher Werkbund, Sedad Hakkı Eldem; the debate of typisierung and individuality; type.


Sedad Hakkı Eldem’in Mimarlığında “Uzlaşım” (Conventionalization) Olarak Tip Kavramı

Bilgen Dündar
Beykent Üniversitesi Mühendislik-Mimarlık Fakültesi, Mimarlık Bölümü, İstanbul

Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Türk mimarlık tarihinde önemli bir yere sahip, uluslararası mimarlık ortamında da ismi bilinen bir mimardır. Bu çalışma, Eldem’in tip anlayışı üzerine bir okuma yapmayı amaçlar. Sibel Bozdoğan’ın tip kavramı açısından, Bülent Tanju’nun ise metinlerinin tekil anlamı sebebiyle Eldem’in tavrının klasik olduğu yorumlarını kabul etmekle beraber; çalışma Eldem’in görsel bütünlüğe yeniden ulaşma konusunda kullandığı metotların, kontrol mekanizmalarını içermesi sebebiyle modern bir anlayışı da barındırdığını göstermeyi amaçlar. Diğer bir yandan metin, Bozdoğan’ın Eldem’in mimarlığını Batı mimarlığı bağlamında okuması anlayışına eklemlenir. Bozdoğan Eldem’in tip kavramını Batı’da bu kavramın öncülleri olan mimarlar üzerinden okurken, bu çalışma Eldem’in tip anlayışını Almanya’da yüzyıl başında kurulan Deutscher Werkbund’un bünyesinde ortaya çıkan tip ve bireysellik tartışmaları üzerinden okur. Stanford Anderson standartlaşmanın dışında kültürel anlama sahip olan tip anlayışını Muthesius’un typisierung kavramı bağlamında uzlaşım “conventionalization” olarak değerlendirir. Eldem’in tip anlayışı bu metinde Anderson’ın uzlaşım kavramına dayanarak okunmaktadır. Tip kavramını sadece fiziksel ve formal bir gerçeklik, endüstrileşmenin bir sonucu ve seri üretime olanak sağlayan bir yöntem olarak ele almanın dışında, daha geniş bir bağlamda okumamıza olanak sağlayan bu kavram Eldem’in metinlerinde alt açılımlarıyla beraber takip edilmiştir. Söylem analizi olarak kabul edebileceğimiz çalışma Eldem’in 1929-1942 yılları arasında üretmiş olduğu metinlere dayanır. Çalışma, Eldem’in bahsedilen üretimlerinde sistem kurma ve kontrol mekanizmalarının farklı düzlemlerde ortaya çıktığı sonucuna varır. Bu kontrol mekanizmaları ve geleneği canlandırıp görsel birliği yeniden yaratma istenci typisierung kavramının da temelini oluşturmaktadır. Metin bu iki farklı tip anlayışının bu yöndeki benzerliklerini ortaya koyar.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Deutscher Werkbund, Sedad Hakkı Eldem, tip; tip ve bireysellik tartışması; uzlaşım.


Bilgen Dündar. The Notion of Type as “Conventionalization” in Sedad Hakkı Eldem’s Architecture. Megaron. 2021; 16(3): 418-429

Corresponding Author: Bilgen Dündar, Türkiye


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