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Çengelköy has been used as a settlement from time immemorial. It is believed to be the Sophianai Port during the Roman period. The area is reportedly named after a palace commissioned to be built here by Emperor Justinian II [565-578] for his wife Sophia. Rumor has it that Çengelköy [lit. trans. Hook Village] was named after a large ship anchor found by Sultan Mehmet II [the Conqueror] here. And according to the Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi, Çengelköy took its name after the hooks here, although this information has yet to be confirmed to date. Winiculture and truck farming were the main sources of income of the predominantly Greek residents of the settlement in the past. It hosts three mosques including Kerîme Hatun Mosque, which was built in 1658, Hacı Ömer Efendi Mosque with its brick minaret, which was provided with a pulpit during the time of Sultan Mahmut I, and of which date of construction is unknown, and the İskele Mosque, which was commissioned by the Chief Admiral Abdullah Pasha in 1835, and the Hagia Pandeimon Greek-Orthodox Church.


Facıng the Üzümözü Street, which forms a small square in central Çengelköy, Yenilem Proje Danışmanlık Ticaret A.Ş. moved into its new home in 2006 after the restoration of a building on a 54 square meter land. The building on block no. 834, lot no. 4 in Çengelköy district was later enlarged with the addition of a small structure on lot no. 3. The upper floor of the building on lot no. 8 was added to the office in 2008. Top two floors of the four-storey building are used as architecture studio and library. The ground floor features the entrance, secretariat, a small kitchen, rest room and the boiler room. Basement floor includes a meeting room and an archive. Built in the past century in central Çengelköy, the structure was part stone, part wooden. It had undergone significant modifications over time and turned into a house rented floor by floor. The building, which had lost its original architecture, was deconstructed and rebuilt based on the surrounding structures. It was rebuilt using ferroconcrete and restored in accordance with today’s standards of comfort.


Poetry is despair.
It certainly is.
And why?
No one who is not desperate can write poetry.
No one who is not desperate can paint, become an architect.
He cannot be creative.
This what I said is certainly a statement about this world that we live in.
For paper is desperation.
An empty paper…
Bricks, briquettes, cements, are all despair.
Even iron bars are despair.
Poetry is finding hope in those.
And I am writing to find it…


These verses of Can Yücel are probably the words that best reflect the desperation of an architect. For as long as I have known myself, buildings aroused my interest. When I was a child, I would read architecture books -even if I didn’t understand them- examine drawings, and look at photographs in awe. I spent a year at the Mekteb-i Mülkiye [Civil Service School] due to childhood dreams and the shortcomings of our education system. I was named by my grandfather architect Kenan Mermer who hoped that I would become an architect as well… After spending a year in Ankara, I decided to study architecture.


I graduated in 1969. During my first decade, I was busy reading, studying, discovering this beautiful city that I live in. In the meantime, I worked at various offices. Lemi Şevket Merey, Hüsrev Tayla, İlban Öz, Yılmaz Sanlı, Ertur Yener, Alparslan Figen, Tamay Sütmen have been extremely supportive of me. However, those who helped me determine my path were my professors that I found the opportunity to work with including Behçet Ünsal, Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Orhan Şaik Gökyay, Hayrullah Örs, Oktay Aslanapa, Orhan Alsaç, and Nurhan Atasoy as well as others whose are too many to mention here. I learned a lot from them who helped me grasp the importance of drawing, seeing, reading and writing. I believe that it was thanks to them that I realized that architecture is not about drawing projects but about building structures. I wish my professors who are still alive a long life and that may God rest the souls of those who have departed.


Now and then, I come to think about the validity of the praise an architect receives during his lifetime. Will we be remembered for what we did and wrote a century later? Will our structures stand the test of time and present a happy and merry life for the future generations? In my opinion, it is only when this happens that we deserve the title of architect. Yenilem Proje Danışmanlık Ticaret A.Ş., which we established in 1980, operated in rented offices for a period before it came to possess its own place in Balmumcu in 1983. And in 2006, we moved into our present studio. We are now residents of Çengelköy; it wasn’t the beautiful Kuzguncuk where I was born and raised, but we console ourselves with being very close.


Architectslead a hard life; it is even harder for those who live with them. They keep their shoulder to the wheel; their minds always preoccupied with their buildings. I’ve never forgotten what I was told in my university years by my classmate Dilara Önal, who was also the daughter of my professor Maruf Önal: “We can never get a response from my father unless we say something to him three times.” So have I been for a very long time. My dear wife Renan and my daughters Esrâ and Azrâ have long been complaining that I have no time for them. I will always remember their occasional pleas: “Dad, just listen to us for once.” I owe them a life that is lived to the full; I don’t know how to express my gratitude to them.


Through out my years in professional life, my esteemed colleagues that I have worked together made invaluable contributions in our projects. But before anything else, I don’t know how I could pay my debt to our chief architect Belma Barış Kurtel. She has always urged me to study, to work harder on the projects we work on. She ensured the reconciliation of each project with statics, installations, electricity and other projects with a never-ending energy. She read, corrected my articles, kept our archive in order and made sure that I could find what I was looking for. All statics projects of the structures we have ever built were prepared by Attila Çaydamlı; he studied some projects tens of times, and tolerated our endless modification requests. He has contributed greatly in all our work. We are happy to work and produce in our Çengelköy office. If you happen to be in Çengelköy, just drop in; we will be delighted to host you.

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