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Projects & Buildings

Architect Dr. M. Sinan Genim
Assitants Nesrin Küçükbayrak / Nesrin Taşkın / Belma Barış Kurtel / Özgen Esen / Naime Alaybaşı / Emine Merdim
Employer Sevgi Gönül
Static Attila Çaydamlı
Mechanic Selim Evyapan
Electiricity Hüseyin Öztürk
Purpose Araştırma Enstitüsü
Project Year 2002
Construction Year 2002-2003
Land Area 201.24m²
Construction Area 237.00m²

Restoration of Harvard-Koç University, Sevgi&Doğan Gönül Ottoman Research Institute in Ayvalık

Ayvalık is a district of Balıkseir province. It was settled since the antiquity. The first remains of settlement belong to Aeolians. The name Ayvalık comes from pronouncing the word Kydonea in Turkish. The name of the city of Hanya in Crete is also Kydonia in antiquity due to the intense cydonia trees in the vicinity. Later on, Alexander the Great ruled the region. It was taken over by the Kingdom of Pergamon, the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire respectively. Ayvalık and its vicinity were annexed to the Ottoman Empire in 1430’s. The city lived its golden age in 1820’s. In 1843, it became a borough and connected to the Sancak of Karesi [Balıkesir]. Intense battles occurred in the early 20th century. Invaded in 29 May 1919, the city was rescued from enemy occupation in 15 September 1922, and a large population exchange took place.

According to some sources, the islands in the vicinity of Ayvalık [notably the island of Cunda] were called “Hekatonnesoi” meaning Hundred Islands in Greek. The correct version must be Hekaton Nesoi; islands of Apollo. These islands are called Yunt Adaları in our history.

Although it is widely known that the island of Cunda [Alibey] was settled since the Antiquity, significant building remains are not observable. Generally houses dating back to the 19th century A.D. are common on the island. There are also a few churches and monasteries. A town hall was established at the island of Cunda in 1862. Daire-i Belediye, Cezire-i Cunda. The name Cunda is a Turkish name that comes from the Yunt islands in the book [Kitab-ı Bahriye] of Piri Reis. It is not Greek, albeit so many people think it is. The Greeks called this island “Moshonisi” meaning Odorous Island.

Contrary to Ayvalık, Cunda was subject to the Lieutenant Governorship of Midilli. It was a distinct borough until 1908. After we lost the Aegean islands, it was seriously depopulated due to the decline of trade volume. After the earthquake in 1944, it became a settlement consisting of two neighbourhoods of Ayvalık. Settlement of Cunda was only accessible via sea route before 1960. After the island of Soğan and the mainland were linked, it became also accessible via road.

Almost all the houses of today’s Cunda date to the 19th century. Most probably all the traces of the past were wiped off by the Rums due to the nationalistic movements that developed rapidly in the beginnings of 1800’s. It is impossible not to have built a traditional Turkish House in a sheltered region, of which settlement history dates way back in time. We think serious damage and change of identity took over the region in the 19th century. The two-storied attached or detached houses of masonry, which we see especially in İstanbul and İzmir in the second half of the 19th century in the areas open to settlement, are also common here. The height of the ground floor has been lowered and partially turned into a half basement, thus changing the plan of the traditional Turkish House. The antechamber of the upper floor is an important circulation space especially in detached buildings. The stairs at the entrance, the inner stairs going downstairs and all rooms give access to this antechamber that contains traces of the past. However, this room is no longer a significant living room of the house, but only a passage. In accord with the house that has become smaller, it turned into a narrow and long corridor. The exterior faces of the houses have greatly changed; wide eaves, fine bay windows and lively windows have vanished due to the impossibilities caused by masonry material. A dull appearance imitating the early Greek Architecture is dominant. Triangular pediments are in fashion in almost all of the houses. Because of the lives that change, houses are opened towards outside. The garden walls have become pellucid with balustrades tied to stone bollards, and so the gardens are visible from outside. However, these new features in detached buildings are different in attached buildings. The small gardens at the backyard of the houses are divided by high walls, thus separating the gardens. The traces of the past life and family privacy still continue albeit all the efforts of changing.

Three-storied buildings are very less, while two-storied ones are common. The main entrance opens into an antechamber/corridor. The rooms are accessible through this corridor or one can reach upstairs/downstairs. The house is entered through the ground floor in attached buildings, while in detached buildings it is accessed via the upper floor. The living room is in the ground floor. The kitchen is usually at the ground floor. The toilet is outside, at the garden. Each floor has four rooms in general. The room looking at the backyard is arranged as the kitchen in the ground floor.

The building we possess, which is a cultural asset in need of conservation, is an attached building featuring the same characteristics. It is situated on Hayat street, No.18. The building is entered through the centre of the ground floor. To the right and left are two rooms with two windows each looking at the street. A stairs going up is to the right, and across the stairs is a cupboard. Of the two rooms looking at the backyard, the one to the left is arranged as the kitchen. Just across the entrance is a double-leaf door giving access to the garden. There is a small toilet and a laundry at the garden. Stairs going up the laundry and the round pool at the centre of the garden demonstrate that this place was arranged as a living space in summer time.

There are four rooms at the upper floor. Two of them look at the street, while the other two look at the garden. Of the rooms that look at the garden, a toilet built at a later period is accessible. There is a balcony of iron construction and wooden pavement at the façade. The building has survived to the present without any damage or alteration in its original structure, only the window shutters were changed during a repairment.

The building was used as a continuation of Koç-Harvard University Summer School adjacent to it. It was repaired without changing its original plan. The spaces that were damaged at the garden were rearranged as toilet and laundry. The electricity was renewed. The rotten and damaged wooden pavements and the ceiling coatings were repaired. The kitchen space was preserved in the new usage. The three rooms at the upper floor were changed into bedrooms. A small kitchen and a toilet were made in the room looking at the garden above the kitchen.

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