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Even though architectural history takes up the monumental buildings as the starting point of criticism and theory, living culture of a society is seen with its purest from in the houses that it lives.

Though it often becomes a current issue, its houses are the least known aspect of Turkish architecture. But the creations in this field are more widespread than monumental architectures. Millions of people [ina large area, the Balkans and most of the Middle East, including also the non-Muslim societies] have lived in the borders of Ottoman empire, have appropriated the living superiority of Turkish house, constructed and used the same kind of houses for centuries.

Turkish house, first reached its own characteristics in Anatolia, and in time, developed and being renovated with various effects, it spread in Rumelia and Anatolia just after the conquests of the Ottomans. The Turkish hose, the best examples of which we see today in Crimea, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece, becamedominant from the XV th and XVI th Centuries in place of the former residence architecture in the regions where people who accepted Turkish domination and Ottoman culture lived. Spreading area of Turkish house can not be surrounded with definite borders. Besides collective spreads, regional effects influenced these and some regions were temporarily or superficially affected by the Turkish house. Meanwhile, improvement of security in daily life and the development of trade with the Ottoman sovereignty increased the rate of urbanizaton and at the end, a dense urban construction activity has started. For this reason, we should say that the development of Turkish house in the cities was far more faster than the villages. Though Turkish house was constructed in every kind of settlement units, it is basically the city house.

Prevalent usage of planning types and general characteristics of Turkish house appears in XVII th and XVIII th Centuries. Characteristics of these houses and the districts made up by these houses and their appropriateness to today's understanding of civil architecture and city planning, are as days go by understood better, and become a common matter of research. Among the appropriateness of the Turkish house to today's architectural understanding are the features such as; being spacious and highly illuminated, having a plan made openly to meet the needs of daily use, especially the ability to from a space of living that organically connected with the garden and nature materialized with being lifted from the ground and seated on columns.

However, not being full of furnitures and having stationary cedars and large cupboards for beddings included in the design meets house understanding of modern arhitecture.

Water closet and bathroom, which were considered a luxury for the old times, taking their places in the house starting from XV th Century, is another superiority of Turkish house in comparison to the modern Western houses. Being constructed low with respect to architectural design and proportion and being wide and with large eaves; provided aesthetics and harmony between these houses and nature, from the point of general fiction. But unfortunately, Turkish house -our houses- can not take their deserved place in modern architecture because of insufficient researches made compared to the longed and subject of dense researches made compared to the longed and subject of dense researches made compared to the longed and subject of dense research the Japonese house which resembles our traditional house.

In general appearances of our cities, religious and civil monumental buildings are seen in fore-plan and in the back plan fascinating and eye-caressing houses appear. Especially this sight of İstanbul affected the artists who visited her and forced them to draw general panorama of the city.

Houses make a wholeness in tissue of the city with their overflowing wide eaves, large silhouettes, bay windows in various directions, tile covered roofs in the same slope, and the harmonious architectural dimensions. There is not any inharmoniousness, measurelessness and inappropriateness in this order. Even though half-timbered wall construction appears as continuation of mud brick construction tradition which existed in these lands for thousands of years, stone and wooden construction system is the main material of residence construction. Walls of these houses which face the streets and squares are plastered, sometimes have pointtings and most of the time are paintrd. Colours, which are living and contrasted and are used as they exist in the nature, adorn the city as a flower field. Colours like tar black, graft red, indigo blue, straw yellow, Ottoman green makes an impressive background for the monumental buildings. Houses are always gardened or situated in a garden, and plane trees around the monumental buildings are seen through these houses, cypress trees of fenced graves in the mosques are the unregardable green areas in panaroma of the city. And in this sight, the windows which are shuttered, pull-down shuttered and wooden window guarded, gypsum plaster framed, are like thousands of eyes that show liveliness. Their dimensions are small or big, but they are all parts of a wholeness. Today, a small number of residences that carries the characteristics of Turkish house and city have remained within the borders of Turkey. Except some towns like Safranbolu, Göynük, Kula, Birgi and villages like Ormana, Darlkale, Adatepe where an intraverted life away from general transportation routes and industrialization activities prevailed, almost all of ourr cities and villages lost their characteristics they carrieduntil the beginning of the century, even until 1950s. Except some long time debated quarters of İstanbul where unfortanutalely only a few of the houses were protected like Zeyrek, Süleymaniye, Kariye and some streets; Soğukçeşme, Kirazlı Mesit, Bozacı there is not a whole-sample quarter.

On the other hand, until the last war, Banya Luka, Mostar, Priştine, Poçitel in Yugoslavia and Üsküp and Ohri which were away from the effects of the war, Melnik Filibe, Avratalan [Koprivştitsa], Gabrovo, Sliven, Gradez, Kotel, Tırnova, Kızanlık, Nessebar in Bulgaria, Yenişehir, Yanya, Kastorya, Kavala in Greece shelter the most beautiful samples of Turkish city and houses as a whole. Because of this insensitiveness, it will be needed to go these cities to see the traditional Turkish house and city, in a near future.

Today, the biggest enemies of our houses and cities are not the fires and catastrophes, but our people and caraftsmen. It is as if the new city plannings, construction plans are made only to destroy and annihilate the old character. relating this situation to the changing life conditions, density of increasing population and problems of transportation means escaping from ourselves. In fact, old delights and understanding are completely changed, our connections with the roots of our culture are completely snapped. There is almost nobody who sees the beauty of our old city and houses and understands, the necessity of neighbourhood relation ships; unappropriated living style of a foreign culture, passion of having a modern house, attraction of city income, cutting connections of nature is gnawed our culture of city, house and living and cuased the negative results of today.
Today, a great number of houses, in which we live and most of us long for, do not carry the character and culture of the Turkish house. We need to accept these as products of a fictitous and tasteless arabesque understanding that we use as temporary houses until the day modern Turkish house is born which we will create by benefitting from the traditional Turkish house culture.

Division, structure and volume of a house are determined with its planning to a certain degree and also the economic and social situation of the house. From this point of view, plan of a house must always be taken up first when doing researches about the residences.

Turkish house is generally constructed as one-floored house in the first ages it is shaped. Although in time with developing architectural understanding, number of the floors are increased; the basic floor is always unique and the upper floor is planned as the basic floor. According to the place i.e. the size of the land, in which the house is situated, bottom of the basic floor is completely or partially emptied. According to the Turkish house tradition, requirement of letting much light, sun and air in the basic floor caused a being lifted up from ground as much as possible. The basic floor is drawn near to the ground in the suburbs or settling areas that has lower population density, because the air and light problem is solved by itself. On the other hand, the basic floor is lifted up as much as possible in the dense settling places, narrow and crowded places and especially in contiguous settlements. A part to live is not considered in the entrance or ground floor situated under the basic floor. This part is mostly consists of the garden walls or construction that carries the house. The sides of the ground floor, which meets the garden, are not covered with walls to take air in the upper floor and protect it from moisture. But in time, these sides are started first partially then completely to be covered with walls. Ground floor is generally used as shed, garage, woodshed and a big part of it is used as stony place the floor of which is covered with threshed and tightened soil or stone.

Especially in the dense settling regions and buildings constructed in narrow areas, a middle floor is existed according to the size of the family. Although the middle floor did not cover all the building area at first, it is seen that this floor became important gradually and also covered all the building area. Though it covers all the construction area and is used as a separate floor, height of the middle floor never reaches the height of the basic floor. Meanwhile, tough middle floor is developed, it is seen that generally it does not cover the stony part of ground floor and thus entrance and stony part is as high as two floors most of the time. In the middle floor always secondary rooms take place; both having a low ceiling, and big smaller and shaped by the unconstructive effects of the ground floor, this floor is mostly used as a winter floor or warehouse. As we tried to determine above, both straightening the ground floor to fit the construction area and being undivided or having less divisions and uncovering the whole building area of the middle floor, when plan of the house is mentioned, always basic floor is understood, and planning is made according to this floor. Because the basic floor is the living floor or, in other words, the honour floor of the house, this floor's plan must be considered for classification and research.

The long-termed relief works of Sedad Hakkı Eldem, now departed, Provides determination of planning types of Turkish house. This typology, which is an original study, never includes a chronologic, geographic or climatic differeniation, and it is far away from time and place concepts. The only acceptane that causes typecasting is the planning of the basic floor. For this reason, we must know the elements of the plan which shapes a floor of a house as rooms, halls and its additions, passages and ladders.

The numbers and shapes of the rooms are the most important things in the emergence of the plan type. Having more or less rooms causes changes and development of the plan type. For example; for application of the middle hall planning type, there must be at least 4 rooms in a floor. This planning type can not be realized with less number of rooms. The shape and settling in a direction of the rooms also effect the planning type. If rooms are wanted or required to see only one direction and to be opened outside, outer hall planning type must be used. In this way, the rooms are put in the same direction, one after another. In case the rooms are wanted to be in four separate directions, middle hall planning type occures.

It is seen that a room becomes more important than the others in both inner and outer planning types in which the rooms are put one after another, and middle hall planning type in which the rooms are put in different directions. If this room takes place in a string of rooms, ıt is called "Middle room," if it is stood in the corner, it is called "Corner room." But to show their importance, they are both called "Head room." The volume, shaping and the direction of the head room can be indifferent from the other rooms in the plan of the building, but arrangement and decoration of this room makes us to differenciate it from the others when we get into the house.

The rooms alone are the parts of a construction that meets some requirements in the construction. Of course, a service area is needed to arrande the connecyions between these units. The halls, that are the common living area of the rooms, take on this service function. If we assume the rooms are the detached houses ini a city tissue, than we can say that the halls are the squares or streets, which connect these buildings. Just like the squares and streets used as the common living place by townsmen, hall is shaped as the living and circulation area used commonly by the people of the house.

The place of the hall effects directly determining the planning type of the house. Being on a side, between or in the middle of a string of rooms, the hall causes three planning types that we will try to make a detailed explanation.

In the earllier planning types, the hall is opened to outside, it has no outer walls though it is covered with a ceiling. Because the hall is opened to winds, rain and cold, some preventive measurements are taken like placing it to the opposite side of the winds and deafing the sidewalls. For preventing the hall to be seen from the outside, the opened sides are either covered with lattices to a certain height, or the sides that can be seen by the neighbours are covered with walls. Then, especially in cold regions, in paralel to the increased quality of life, these parts are turned into covered halls with display windows first, and then walls with a number of windows thereby the open halls became closed ones. Becouse all these changes do not effect the function of the hall, they do not affect the function of the hall, they do not influence the determination of the planning type either. But, especially in the settlement where houses touch each other, because of the direction of the hall and to fit the building to the ground, closing the long side of the hall and opening the narrow side to outside affect the planning type, and causes preparation of planning types with inner hall and outer hall.

The hall is generally a service and circulation area. But in time, some parts of this that were out of usage got function and started to be used especially as summer residence parts. These areas which stand between the string of the rooms as additions of the hall are arranged as iwans and a part throuh the front side of the hall is arranged like terrace or kiosk. As it can be seen in the planns, the iwan as a residence place which is prevented from outer effects. Terraces or kiosks are the additional parts of the hall of what two or three sides are opened and mostly situated through the spectacle and it is a bit higher than the basic hall ground. Terraces and kiosks are formed as parts overflown the main building and carried by columns and poles. If the terraces and kiosks are surrounded by walls, more windows are opened into these walls and they are even made without glasses though other windows of the house are affixed with glasses and these opened windows are covered with roll-down shutter.

Because of their shapes and numbers, the additional parts of the hall, the side and middle halls and the iwans create some variations in planning types. But this has not an important effect on the main shema of the planning type. Neverthless, as we will see later on, covering the part, which stands between the corner rooms of the hall [iwan], with wall and turning this into a room causes degeneration of middle hall planning type.

The passages, that were functioning only as a doorway between two rooms, which connects them without passing through the hall, are formed to smallen the bedding cupboards of the rooms and to use a part of these rooms as a circulation area. When these kinds of passages become insufficient to meet the needs, corridors took their place. Being narrow and dark in the beginning, the corridors started to get light from the daylight, and they are always used as circulation areas that connects the rooms each other.

When the ladders take place in the hall, they are not that effective on the planningtype. But when they are taken to a specific place outside the hall, they affect the planning type. The ladders importance stars with being situated between the rooms [instead of the hall] and taken in the ladder hall. In outer hall planning type, the ladder is in an unimportant side of the room. But in middle and inner hall planning types a special place is set for the ladder. Towards the end of XIX th Century, a special "ladder house" or "ladder hall" which takes light from ceiling and surrounded by gallaries occurs at the end of the effects of westernization.

Turkish house planning types contain four main planning types though they have changed in various ways and lost their qualifications they have in the beginning, because of the unevenness of the land that it spreads, climate, density of the city and easily damaged due to fires, earthquakes and needed to be rebuilt in a short notice.

We see these schemes as planning type without hall, planning type with outer hall, planning type with inner hall and mid-hall planning type with mid-hall.

Planning type without hall is seen in South and South Eastern Anatolia as a sample of the common Culture with Syria and generally found in stone house architecture and it is the most primitive planning type. A pavement or a court meets the service area function of the house, which consists of the rooms put one after another. In case the rooms are higher than the ground, a balcony with open ceiling and sides, connected to the ground with a ladder or terrace acts as the service area.

This planning type is used frequently in the regions where climate is warm and it is found useless in cold and rainy regions. Planning type without hall is turned into outer hall planning type while getting towards the North.

In the development of Turkish house planning types, we meet planning type with outer hall after planning type without hall. In the ideal scheme of the planning type with outer hall, the rooms that see the same directions are connected aech otherwith a hall, which acts as a service area. This planning type is applied successfully in the residence built by every kind of material [wood, wood+brick, timber, sun-dried brick, brick] and it is used widely in Ottoman empire.

In time, we see outer hall, which is constructed as a rectangle and its longer side is opened to outside, is turned into "L" shape first, by adding service parts to its end, then into "U" shape with an additional room or kiosk to the opposite end of the service part. With these arrangements, outer hall is protected from outer effects. On the other hand, situating a head room with a service part, we see the outer hall is used as either harem or selamlık. Standing between the strings of rooms, sometimes hall is turned into an iwan in the developing planning type with outer hall.

Planning type with inner hall, that accurs at the end of a more developped architectural concept and planning than planning type with outer hall, is used widely in big settlement areas because of the easiness in planning of the houses built in narrow areas and touches to the next house with one side or two. Though it provides easiness in planning, different variations of planning type with inner hall are applies sacrificing the ideal schema in case the hall does not see the spectacle and fit to the ground. In time, planning type with inner hall that acts a service area funcion between the reciprocal two strings of rooms, is turned into a larger and comforted service area with the additions like iwan and ladder hall.

The ladder does not have a specific place in the ideal planning type with inner hall. Then, especially in the XIX th Century, because of the use of larger and illuminated ladder rooms, the ladder is situated between the strings of the rooms and becoming more important, it covered this part completely and turned into a three armed ladder.

The planning type with inner hall, which is used in cold and rainy climates, is also economic because of the usage of its walls. With inner hall, circulation between the rooms gets easier, but on the other side the hall and the garden -the nature- are seperated from each other. Using this planning type in cities and tending to be seperated gradually from the nature causes the inner hall planning type to get a city house character.

The inner hall planning type seems like middle hall planning type, because of the bewelled room doors and iwans that take place between string of rooms though it has a rarely seen extended out kiosks and patterns that includes properties of outer planning type.

Middle hall planning type, which is made by situating the hall among the rooms as an iwan for getting the light in, is used widely in our cities because of being protected from outer effects, shrinking the circulation area between the rooms and having less effect on the topography of the building area and the land.

In middle hall planning type, the iwans are always situated on the central axes of the hall, thus the hall is provided to make an unit with the iwan. In the samples of this type, in which two iwans face one another, the iwans and the hall are seen to make a units and traverse the house plan from end to end, as it does in the inner hall planning type. Increasing the number of the iwans to four causes this planning type to create various compositions. So, middle hall planning type finds a wide application field in larger and economically stronger residence.

It is never met that the halls are surrounded completely with rooms and left airless and without light. We see that from the ladder room or ladder hall light is taken in even in most unsuitable conditions. In the early samples central part of the hall, which is square or rectangle, is turned into an octagon that has unequal edges because the room doors are bewelled and this extension causes the hall become active architecturally. The change in the form, brought by bewelling of the room doors, causes the central hall takes elliptic or circular shape.

In middle hall planning type, the ladder has a specific room. One of the four iwans of the hall is first partially, then completely set aside for the ladder and with the use of three-armed ladder, so a ladder room or ladder hall is occured. In big residences a service ladder is also used in addition of the main ladder, but this second ladder is situated in a suitable place according to the building area and land's topography.

In middle hall planning type, all of the iwans, except ladder hall, are seperated from the service field and set aside for living. As a result of this, even in some buildings these iwans are turned into rooms in latter times, general characteristics of the plan is not damaged. Losing its purity in the end, the hall continues its characteristics being a little bit darker service area. In big constructions, adding side halls, passages and other parts to the iwans, this planning type is used seccessfully almost in every king of building and always protects its main shape.

Planning type of Turkish house, reaches the best level in XVIII th Century, but starts to be generated from beginning of the second half of XIX th Century, and each floor of the house is turned into floors that has the same properties. It is a pity that development of house architecture, which reached to the top in XVIII th Century does not continue in a constructive way. Outer effects that occur in different parts of the daily life, become components which can not be given up and this chain effected the life on a large scale. Of course, this effect is felt densely in the residences that meet the biggest need of daily life, however fundamental they are. The change, which starts with decorative elements first, caused a complexity in planning the house with increasing variety of living functions [separate bedrooms, a dining room or corner with use of table instead of floor dining table], and the areas used as halls before, are surrounded and turned into the rooms to meet new various needs.

Disappearance of the hall, which is the most important element of traditional Turkish house architecture, annihilates the planning schemes used in the house architecture. Having no main element like this in the architecture style, causes the making of independent plans. At the end of this degeneration, ground floor is turned into the living floor, organic connection of the traditional Turkish house is snapped from the nature, bulks met some functions of the house are disappeared but this time cellars are appeared. The light and air which is needed in the ground floor before, is needed for the cellar this time and cellar is taken up to the ground to a certain level. This progress causes the ground floor's connection with ground is cut and raised as high as the water level.

Must this progress be considered as disappearance of the ground floor or appearance of a new floor called cellar? From our point of view, this progressis ground floor's burial and transformation of the middle floor into the ground floor with the effect of Westernization. Thus, increasing the inner height and attaching importance to the decoration inside, Turkish house which is snapped from the nature, is tried to be adapted to our traditional life, but this attitude is ended with the apartment architecture, which is changed into unique floors today.

Partially protecting the monumental buildings and settlement tissue, trying to save the city from oriental city construction [alleyways, curved and changing perspectives] and arranging it with western concept [intersecting streets, wide and circular Roads] could not be succeeded though some planning enterprises done after the second half of XVIII th Century, and planning integrations increse the problems also todays.

Passion of modern life, obligation of meeting the increasing residence need, disability in filling the place of traditional house planning has created the situation that we all complain about today. Now the biggest enemy of our cities and houses is not the catastrophes and fires but the craftsmen who lack culture and opinion. The new city arrangements, construction plans are as if made to damage and demonstrate the old character, tissue and silhouettes of city which has been occurred in hundereds of years. There is no one left to understand the beauty and humanity of our old city and houses, necessity of the neighbouhood relationships; effects like life style of a forgein culture of what we can not realize the details and finenesses, passion of modern houses, snapping from nature gnaw our life and house culture like cancer and causes today's the negative results. What kind of properties the new Turkish house architecture must have, is a long-time discussed and unsolved subject. According to a widely accepted opininion, a national architecture seperated from the universal architecture, which will meet the needs of modern life, can not be created.

Yet the modernity and universality of Turkish house can not be discussed, so we need to know our old culture and own resources, and search for development of our cities and house types and adopt this aggregation to modern life and technology. The only solution of this nightmare that we live in is to create new thoughts and opinions with aggregation fed with our own sources and modern possibilities, not complaining.