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Ulusal Apartment Building

Istanbul, Turkey
general view.jpg
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depicted item: General view. source: Adil, H. (1935). “Kira Evi”, Arkitekt, No. 6, pp.157-158. URL:

Ulusal Apartment Building in Ayaspaşa is another conspicuous structure facing Taksim square. The building is located in a residential area on the avenue with various types of apartment buildings from the beginning of the century to the 1940s. Built on a narrow and very deep plot on the road bend leading from Taksim to Ayaspaşa, the building consists of a ground floor and five storeys. On each storey, there are two flats; one facing the front facade and the other facing the rear direction. And every flat has four rooms.

The building has a reinforced concrete structural system. The ground floor, which is covered with marble, is distinguished by a raised entrance space that recedes back from the facade alignment and with a curved corner. Horizontal bands on the façade balance the narrow and high mass with projections while the back façade reflects a different character with wide openings.

This design is a total non-personification of the solution and its designer by making use of only typical mainstream forms.

In the introductory text published in Arkitekt magazine, Ulusal Apartment Building is being referred to as “rental house” (“Kira evi” in Turkish).[1] The apartment buildings became the symbol of luxury life as a residence of the upper class from the 1930s to the 1950s, and in time it became the dominant housing type in Turkey. Back then, the ownership of a building constructed on a plot within the city could not be divided due to the lack of a legal framework. Since apartment buildings could not be built by joint investments, those who had accumulated significant amounts of savings and who preferred to invest their capital in the construction were building multi-storey residential buildings. As this practice was seen as an investment tool, the term "rental house" emerged to define these apartment buildings. These apartments were rented by the upper and middle classes who want to participate in the modern life symbolized by the apartment buildings, but do not have the financial means to build an apartment building or do not want to own one. As a response to the increasing population in the city center, family apartments or rental apartments started dominating the neighborhoods such as Nişantaşı and surrounding Taksim, Harbiye, Teşvikiye, Osmanbey, and Şişli.[2]


As an earlier example of the Modern Movement in Turkey, the building perhaps reflects a canonisation of these forms by a known and established designer. But at the same time, this was to be the initial step in the popularisation of the style to the point, after which the same forms would be repeated over and over again without any ideological content and by unnamed designers.

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