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Projects & Buildings

Architect Dr. M. Sinan Genim
Assistants Nesrin Küçükbayrak / Nesrin Taşkın / Belma Barış Kurtel / Özkan Bulgan
Employer İş Dünyası Vakfı
Static Attila Çaydamlı
Purpose Vakıf Yönetim Binası
Project Year 1993
Construction Year 2000
Land Area 151.16m²
Construction Area 577.55 m²

Restoration of Business World Foundation in Eyüp

Right after the conquest of İstanbul, Eyüp developed as a muslim district in a short time with the construction of the building complex consisting of a türbe, mosque and related buildings by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, where Ebu Eyyub el-Ensari was martyrized. The religious centre role of Eyüp that began during this period still continue in the present. Tulip era. Developing from the 15th century A.D. Eyüp lived its golden age during the Tulip era. We know the two palaces built by Sinan the Architect in the 16th century as examples of profound civil architecture especially at the coastal side.

After the fires that caused great damage inside the fortification walls in the 18th century, some of the population moved to Eyüp and the district became populated and the number of buildings increased. In 1835 the first factory, known as Feshane, was built. Later on, shores of Haliç became industrialized especially with the Prost Plan that began in 1939, thus changing the traditional settlement of Eyüp on a large scale. Immigrants from abroad, especially from the Balkan countries after 1950, were settled in Taşlıtarla and Gaziosmanpaşa, which expanded the settlement of Eyüp to the hillsides and valleys.

In the present it is not possible to find any civil architecture sample that reflects the old Eyüp besides the area where Pierre Loti is situated and a few buildings from the late 19th-early 20th century around the dock.

In 22 Eptember 1992, I and my fellow friend Gündağ Kayaoğlu bought the building situated at the corner where Feshane avenue and Değirmen street meet approximately 100 m away from the dock.

Our goal was to restore the building in a short time and use it as an institute-library. Lecturer Orhan Şaik Gökyay wanted us to utilize his archive and library. It was our task to establish a research institute to honour his name. We both wanted to make a contribution to the city that we were born, grew up and lived. In addition, we wanted to fulfil our wishes which we could not carry out due to hardworking. The ownership of the building was given through inheritance, so no one looked after the building and watched it die away.

Situated at the corner where two streets meet, the building had flat lines at the ground floor, while the upper floor looked aesthetic with projections in various sizes. Although the building, which was a late sample of Traditional Turkish Architecture, was made in attached building style, it also reflected the architectural features of the past centuries with its projections. The raising of the level of the road effected the building in proportion as clearly observable at the old photographs. However, for an attached building in such dimensions, it displayed a magnificent view and gave a plastic effect.

As the municipalities began to use asphalt to cover the roads, our cities began to rise and as a result, the buildings sank into the ground. On top of that, the raising of the sidewalks and the roads during every electoral period encourage this negative activity. Meanwhile, I would like to thank to my friend Ahmet Genç, the mayor of Eyüp, who realized the terrible results of raising sidewalks. He put an end to these negative activities with logical solutions in the territory of the municipality. It is our hope that his attempts will be a lesson to the other mayors. There is an expression in city planing: “The height of the sidewalks of a country is inversely proportional to the height of its culture.”

The purchase of the building took very long and very difficult due to the problems caused by the distribution of the inheritance. Afterwards, we prepared the building survey and restoration projects and applied to İstanbul Conservation Board in 22 April 1993. Bureaucracy had begun. We started with rules of good intention and a limited budget, and arrived at the wall of bureaucracy. We pushed the wall. The news of the decision came in 16 June 1993: “We approved the building survey, but application project should come via the municipality.” All kinds of construction and physical interference authorization regarding the cultural assets needed to be protected was to be made according to the Conservation Board, what was the municipality going to say? We did not desire a change in construction plan such as an additional floor or expansion of the outline. We consulted the municipality to find out the problem: The street and its vicinity were planned as a touristic area and we could only use the building as a pension. It is hard not to get upset after all these efforts and knowledge, maybe we should quit being an architect and start a career in pension business. We thought this task is not for a wise man, and we kept insisting. We explained that our aim was different, and that we had bought the building in the aim that we hade presented tot he municipality. We convinced Lecturer Semavi Bey and Turgut Övünç, and after a while our project was approved in 3 November 1993. It was approved but what happened next, ask us... The municipality of İstanbul had a democratic understanding those times. After long efforts and meetings, the help of my friend, Prof. Dr. Mete Tapan were not enough to convince the İstanbul Municipality and thus the municipality of Eyüp. After the elections in 1994 Dear Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ahmet Genç supported us. However, our honorable lecturer Orhan Şaik Gökyay had passed away. On top of that the crisis in 1994 effected all of us in a negative way. Not only that, our excitement and entrepreneurial spirit had vanished.

After a long time the building collapsed and we watched. Various candidates wanted to buy the building. However, we were not convinced that any of them was going to restore the building the way we wanted. We had tied to this building by heart. We did not want to disgrace it. In 1998, Şerafettin Yılmaz told me that World Business Foundation desired to buy the building. They were going to restore it the way we wanted and seeked our help. So, seven years later we sold the building less than we had paid before. The building survey and restoration projects that we had prepared and got approved after long and difficult efforts were also sold together with the building.

Meanwhile, I made the projects of the buildings of Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilizations for Suna and İnan Kıraç in Antalya and built them. We had such a chance. Although there was a limited budget, we had wished to build such a building based on our knowledge and ideas, and accomplish a restoration that could be an example. We wanted to embarrass those who kept giving the bad examples. We could not carry out our ideas and wishes, and we are very sorry.

Today we feel bittersweet joy, becasue World Business Foundation saved this building and is giving every effort with good intentions for our people to make use of it. They are doing the right thing with a small budget and I believe that they are going to set a good example and be proud of it. I congratulate them.

I hope, the most beautiful civil architectural example of Eyüp will gain its new life and eternal utilization that it deserved for so long, and that it will give the joy of living and culture to its vicinity.

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