The Actual Architecture: Mimarlık and redefining region in Turkey, 1963-1972

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In 1970, the Turkish architectural journal Mimarlık published a survey called “Our Architecture in 1970,” which consisted of transcriptions of two panels and written answers from various scholars and architects. The survey editor Bülent Özer pointed out that the main idea was to understand how architects formulate a particular architectural problem and assess their environment to meet the requirements of that problem. Although the survey revealed a multiplicity of architectural approaches that tackled urban, social, and economic issues and included notable projects that responded to acute problems as housing, in a different article written in 1971, Özer claimed that Turkey was still suffering a disconnection between parameters of design and form. Instead of searching for a stylistic appropriation between the two poles of regionalism and universalism, Özer offered a third way, a cultural and formal synthesis, based on what he defined as aktüelite, or actuality. His approach of actual architecture sought compatibility between the actual needs of a particular society and the actual possibilities they have. In the case of Turkey, this translated into a specific urban development policy defined by the Five Year Development Plan, which was installed first in 1960 to encourage planned growth and welfare. The professional regulatory body, the Chamber of Architects, and its in-house publication Mimarlık were forefronts of promoting the Five-Year Development Plan in the architecture community, and Özer’s redefinition of regional architecture was instrumental in this process. This paper critically examines the concept of regional by unpacking Özer’s definition based on his book An Essay on Regionalism, Universalism, and our Contemporary Architecture (1964). It studies the term in relation to welfare state politics by locating Mimarlık and the first two Five-Year Development Plans at its center, and it traces how the regional approach transformed and mediated between architectural design and urban policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021
Event18th Annual International AHRA Conference: Region - University of Loughborough, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Nov 202113 Nov 2021


Conference18th Annual International AHRA Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Turkish architecture
  • Architectural journalism


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