Sedad Hakkı Eldem

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Sedad Hakkı Eldem
Photograph of Sedad Hakkı Eldem.jpg
Portrait of Sedad Hakkı Eldem
Born Ömer Sedad Hakkı Eldem
(1908-12-20)December 20, 1908
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died September 7, 1988(1988-09-07) (aged 79)
İstanbul, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Occupation Architect
Awards Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1986)
National Architecture Awards (in Turkey) (Big Award) (1988)

Sedad Hakkı Eldem (1908 in Constantinople – 7 September 1988, in İstanbul), was a Turkish architect and one of the pioneers of nationalized modern architecture in Turkey.

His Life[edit]

He was born in Constantinople (1908). He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts (department of Architecture). Between 1931 and 1932 he travelled to France, England and Germany with a scholarship of the academy. In 1932 he opened his own office, also started teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts and continued until retirement in 1978. In 1934 he worked for the National Architecture Seminar in Turkey which was a complete disaster for him because of the discussions between modern architecture and traditional architecture. In 1938 he designed the Turkish Pavilion in New York Exhibition. Sedad Hakkı Eldem represented Turkish Republic at International Union of Architects in Lozan (1948) after Second World War. Also in the same year Sedad Hakkı worked with his colleague Emin Onat on the project of İstanbul Palace of Justice. He worked on proportions and architectural organizations of Ottoman domestic houses, 18th and 19th century palaces and mansions. He was known as a role model and pioneer to reinterpret the Classical Ottoman Patterns in modern architecture. He was a part of Former Artifacts Maintain Council (Eski Eserleri Muhafaza Encümeni) between 1941 and 1945 and also a part of Supreme Council of Antiquities and Monument Real Estate (Gayrimenkul Eski Eserler ve Anıtlar Yüksek Kurulu) between 1962 and 1978.

His thought was about nationalizing the Modern Architecture. He basically thought that International Style in architecture should not applied everywhere. Some things should be changed in the design by considering the national and domestic texture.

He has won the international Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1986 with the project of Zeyrek Social Security Facilities.

He died on 7 September 1988 in İstanbul.

His Architecture[edit]

Sedad Hakkı Eldem's architecture has basically 4 main periods. The first of them, between 1928 and 1934, is known by the instability of his work. After that, the second period is popular with modern trials on Ottoman architectural organization. The time frame of this period spans from 1934 until 1952. The third period of his architecture has lost its Ottoman influence, it looks more modernized between 1952 and 1962. The last part of Eldem's Architecture known for his double approach on projects.This final period started in 1962, and lasted until his death in 1988.

  • The years between 1928 and 1934 are defined as preparation years for Sedad Hakkı Eldem. During these years the architect worked in İstanbul, Paris and Berlin but there is no remaining architecture. The only structure that has been built in that period is a temporary Turkish pavilion in Budapest Exhibition in 1931. This structure gives us few clues about his searching in architecture. While Sedad Hakki had tried almost every approach popular in these years, he also tried to combine them even if they all contradicted. He even give parts to different architectural elements in one design. For example, one of his trials in Paris, embassy project has Auguste Perret impressions in details, its planimetry has traditional middle "sofa" and "Eyvan" types of components that usually belong to Turkish Architecture. Also the architect inspired by a sheme that peculiar to Iran-Middle East, named "Cihar-bağ". At the same time he examined the style of Art Deco, Le Corbusier, Hoffmann, Olbrich, Tessenow and Webb. Despite all of these and his instability of style, he never abandon his researches about traditional and domestic Ottoman civil architecture. He made use of all styles as much as they compromise with traditional architecture. The styles that do not overlap with domestic architecture, are disappeared.
  • The instability period of the architect ends with Yalova Thermal Hotel (1934-1937) and Ağaoğlu House (1936-1937) projects. Also these projects starts a new era for Sedad Hakkı Eldem's architecture. He started to well known in Turkey with his architecture and approach to Modern Architecture. Yalova Thermal Hotel was the first nationalized modern work of Turkey. At these years, there was that discussion about interpreting in Modern Architecture. Sedad Hakkı was one of the pioneers of defending the idea of nationalized modern architecture.
    • From 1934 to 1952 Sedad Hakkı worked on some trials on traditional Ottoman houses' plan organizations and exterior elements in more modernized ways. These works are connected with his historiyografic researches. Eventually he tried to "invent the tradition" in modern aspects of his time. For example, Ağaoğlu House designed with elliptical type of "sofa", Safyurtlu House (1942) with middle type of "sofa" and Ayaşlı Mansion (1938) designed with "karnıyarık" type of "sofa" (that means split out from middle.). Some of his projects had have strong connections between international style and domestic tradition, in the other hand, traditional Turkish elements stay in the background just for being a little touches. For example, Taşlık Coffee House (1947 - 1948) designed with T type of plan which is a traditional scheme, and international view kept in minimum. However, Admiral Bristol Hospital and Nursing House (1943) is just looks national from outside. Whereas the faculty buildings of Ankara University (1943-1945) and İstanbul University (1942-1947) inspired from Nazi Germany. The Turkish part in these mass buildings just hiding in the details.
  • Between 1952 and 1962 Eldem's architecture keeps Ottoman civil architectural characteristic at minimum. Florya Facilities (1955-1959) and RIza Derviş House (1956-1957) built with more likely rationalized modernist style. Also that impact known by the name of "california modern". Hilton Hotel's (1952-1955) design shows us almost nothing about Sedad Hakkı Eldem's architecture. In that process the hotel owes its standard American view to SOM despite of Eldem. Second Safyurtlu House (1952) is a successful example of American flort.
  • The years after 1960 known as being Eldem's and Republic of Turkey's leapig and changing years. The architect has two different approaches in these years. First of them is heroic and monumental, away from traditional and domestic perspective, like Akbank Administration Building and Ayazağa Office Buildings. Other approach looks more like Sedad Hakkı Eldem's. Eclectic and different trials on Ottoman civil architecture give their places to a vocabulary that Eldem's own. For Example horizontal roof line, wide canopies, well proportioned windows and cantilevers. These features used in the designs of Zeyrek Social Security Facilities (1962-1964), India Embassy Residence (1965-1968), Kıraç Mansion (1965), Sirer Mansion (1966-1967) etc.

List of Significant Works[edit]


  • Edhem Eldem, Uğur Tanyeli, Bülent Tanju, (2008), Sedad Hakkı Eldem I: Gençlik Yılları, Osmanlı Bankası Arşiv ve Araştırma Merkezi, ISBN 9789944731058
  • Uğur Tanyeli, Bülent Tanju, (2009), Sedad Hakkı Eldem II: Retrospektif, Osmanlı Bankası Arşiv ve Araştırma Merkezi, ISBN 9789944731126
  • Uğur Tanyeli, (2007), Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Boyut Press Group, ISBN 9789755214559
  • TIMMOB Chamber of Architects, (2010), 100 Yıl'da İki Mimar, ISBN 9789944898881