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Florya Atatürk Residence

Istanbul, Turkey
Bld in 1930s.jpg
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Building in 1930s (docomomo Turkey)

The residence was designed by architect Seyfi Arkan with the request of the first president of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The complex was designed on the shore of Florya, a summer recreational zone on the outskirts of İstanbul that grew around Yeşilköy in the 20th century. The presidential building is located next to the former public beach. In addition to the main residential section located on a pier on the sea, the complex also includes a number of auxiliary service and office spaces and residences for Atatürk's escort located on land. The purpose for the design of the project was to create a space where the president can be together with the public during his time of recreation.The complex was used by Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, as a summer residence and a place to hold government affairs. After Atatürk’s passing, the complex became the Turkish presidential summer residence. In 1988 the property was passed onto the Directorate of National Palaces and went through an extensive restoration. Since 1993, the complex serves as Atatürk Museum.


This building is a small but important example of the modernist-rationalist style, designed by one of the most important representatives of this style in Turkey, whose ideas and architecture accompanied the modernisation ideals of the young Turkish republic. Despite its small size, the degree of detailing, the completeness of interior and architectural design reflect the tendencies of its period. It was especially designed for the needs of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the last few years of his life and the architect Seyfi Arkan was personally chosen by Atatürk as result of his work on the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Residence in Ankara.The initial design of the complex consisted of the Summer Residence, General Secretariat, Presidential Aide Residence with the White, Red and Blue Mansion buildings. In the later years, a beach, commercial shops and road system were added to the complex.

Buildings & Plan Scheme

The main residential unit is a single storey structure located on piles on the sea and joined to the shore with a 90m long bridge. It is formed by the L-shaped intersection of two rectangular wings. The wing perpendicular to the shore-line houses the service spaces while the other one parallel to the shore-line houses Atatürk’s private apartment, the reception hall, the study and guest rooms with large terraces in front; the terrace in front of the reception hall adjoins the pier extending towards the sea.Some of the architectural characteristics influenced by modernist tendencies reflected in this building include flat roofed prismatic masses, flat surfaces, horizontal rows of windows, the functional separation of the plan and the overriding simplicity and geometry of design. In addition to the modernist elements in the structures, the main design also has inspiration from former beaches and Ottoman sea hammams; elevated wall structures with an open top that were created to provide privacy for people to enjoy the swimming and the sea.

Later Alterations

Currently the building is used as Atatürk Museum. Some of the buildings from the complex were lost and new additions were made throughout the course of the 20th century. The Red Mansion was demolished in 1973 and in 1980 an administration building was built in its place. The White and Blue Mansions were demolished during later road constructions. After the musealisation of the complex, the General Secretariat and the Presidential Aide Residences were converted into a guest residence for the Turkish Parliament. In 1994, a social facility building was erected in the complex. At one point, a pool was added to the complex, but it did not reach today. The surrounding beach facilities and shops were demolished in 2008. The original interior decoration has been partially changed in the main building. On the exterior, there have been later additions of new elements such as the glazing of the exterior terraces and sun shields for the windows.The building is in good condition and comparatively well-maintained.

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