The Issue of “Horizontal Architecture” in Turkey from the Perspective of Turgut Cansever, the Wise ArchitectDoğan Bıçkı, Merve Kırkan
After debates about whether or not multistory buildings damaged the historical silhouette of İstanbul, the horizontal architectural discourse was established as an important element of the government’s urban policy. It has been argued that horizontal architecture will strengthen neighborly relations by rebuilding neighborhood culture and reducing building damage after natural disasters, in addition to contributing to the appearance of cities. Based on these considerations, the Planned Areas Zoning Regulation, which came into effect in 2017, reflects the horizontal architecture discourse in the legislation. The Eleventh Development Plan, election manifestos, and regulations limiting floor heights all reflect the horizontal architecture discourse. However, the applicability of horizontal architecture as well as the pertinence of regulations and projects purportedly created for horizontal architecture have sparked a new debate topic. In this paper, the horizontal architectural discourse and practices of the government are analyzed from the perspective of architect Turgut Cansever, a pioneer of horizontal architecture. Cansever’s “horizon condominium,” which was called horizon (horizontal) urbanism by his follower H. Ibrahim Düzenli, reflects a completely different type of urbanization from today’s construction system, which consists of 1–2 story detached houses with gardens and was inspired by the Ottoman city system. In this context, it is impossible to state that the applications made after the horizontal architectural discourse in our country have resulted in a significant improvement compared to the past. Thus, it is evident that the objectives of the horizontal architectural discourse and the existing construction practices are incompatible.
Bilge Mimar Turgut Cansever’in Perspektifinden Türkiye’de “Yatay Mimari” MeselesiDoğan Bıçkı, Merve Kırkan
Yatay mimari söylemi, çok katlı yapıların İstanbul’un tarihi siluetine zarar verdiği yönündeki tartışmaların ardından, hükümetin şehircilik politikasının önemli bir unsuru olarak takdim edilmiştir. Şehirlerin görünümüne yapacağı katkıların yanı sıra, yatay mimarinin mahalle kültürünü yeniden inşa ederek komşuluk ilişkilerini güçlendireceği, doğal afetlerden sonra oluşacak yapı hasarlarını azaltacağı ileri sürülmüştür. Bu düşünceler eşliğinde yatay mimari anlayışının mevzuata yansıması 2017 yılında yürürlüğe giren Planlı Alanlar İmar Yönetmeliği ile olmuştur. Yatay mimari söylemi, kat yüksekliklerini sınırlandıran düzenlemelerin yanı sıra 11. Kalkınma Planına ve seçim manifestolarına da yansımıştır. Ancak yatay mimari adına yapıldığı söylenen yasal düzenlemelerin ve projelerin yerindeliği yeni bir tartışma alanı ortaya çıkarmıştır. Bu çalışmada, hükümetin yatay mimari söylem ve uygulamaları, bu anlayışın öncüsü olan mimar Turgut Cansever’in perspektifinden analiz edilmiştir. Cansever’in ufki kat mülkiyeti, ondan mülhem olarak izleyicisi H. İbrahim Düzenli’nin ufki(yatay) şehircilik olarak isimlendirdiği anlayış, 1-2 katlı müstakil bahçeli konutlardan oluşan, Osmanlı kent sisteminden ilham alan ve bugünün yapılaşma sisteminden tamamen farklı bir şehirleşme anlayışını yansıtmaktadır. Bu bağlamda, ülkemizde yatay mimari söylemi sonrasında yapılan uygulamalara bakıldığında, eskisine göre önemli bir kazanımın elde edildiğini söylemek mümkün değildir. Sonuç itibariyle, hükümetin yatay mimari söyleminde dile getirilen hedefler ile mevcut yapılaşma pratiklerinin birbirleriyle uyumlu olmadığı görülmektedir.
Although the concept of horizontal architecture recently became a topic of discussion in Turkey, discussions about how cities should be built date back much further. The question, “How should an ideal city be?” has prompted nineteenth- and twentieth-century urban designers to consider vertical and horizontal constructions. For example, Le Corbusier, a pioneer of the modern architectural movement who prefers high buildings in city plans, promotes vertical construction because it saves land and allows for more green areas in the city. Unlike Le Corbusier, Ebenezer Howard, Frank L. Wright, and Catherine Bauer advocate for horizontal construction because it is a more integrated and humane type of settlement that combines the advantages of both the countryside and the city.
Those who advocate for both vertical structuring and horizontal structuring have arguments that support their claims. Arguments that support horizontal structuring are as follows: (1) it improves people’s exposure to nature, (2) it creates a more peaceful environment, (3) it improves neighborhood relations, (4) it reduces the risk of geological disaster, (5) it is specific to the individual and can be designed according to their needs, (6) it preserves the historical texture, (7) it creates a private space, and (8) it provides light to the house.
The arguments that find horizontal structuring disadvantageous are as follows: (1) large areas are required for the implementation of the horizontal architecture, and it is difficult to meet this demand in cities with high populations; (2) land, construction, and labor costs required for horizontal architecture are high; (3) losses occur in agricultural areas and other green areas when houses are spread over a large area of the city with horizontal architecture; and (4) since horizontal architecture allows the city to spread out across a wide area, the distance between urban areas expands.
Turgut Cansever, the wise architect, is the intellectual pioneer of the horizontal architecture idea in Turkey. According to him, horizontal architecture is a type of detached house with 1–2 floors, and each family lives in their own house close to the ground. Cansever argued that structures should expand horizontally rather than vertically. He proposes that houses with gardens should be built, preferably with one, two, or three floors. He suggested that horizontal settlement would increase neighborly relations and strengthen assistance and solidarity networks. Although Cansever views horizontal architecture as a detached structure with one, two, or three floors for family-specific use, the government that promoted the horizontal architectural discourse describes horizontal architecture as residences limited to 4–5 floors, which does not reveal a different perspective from the existing apartment-type housing.
Therefore, although Cansever’s horizontal architecture goals align with the government’s discourse expectations (such as creating a neighborhood culture), the horizontal architectural form that emerges from power practices is considerably beyond what Cansever proposes.
One of the biggest events that sparked horizontal architecture debates in Turkey is the 16/9 skyscrapers that were built in Istanbul in 2011. These skyscrapers, which are three in total, have been heavily criticized by both the opposition and the ruling party for distorting the historical silhouette of Istanbul. Following these criticisms, President Erdoğan delivered a self-criticism, stating that high-rise construction had betrayed Istanbul and that he was also responsible for this situation. Later, government spokespersons claimed that the houses would be built with a horizontal architectural approach, with no more than 4–5 stories. This discourse has also been supported by some legislation. However, it is evident that the new legislation does not affect the existing multistory buildings and impose a ban on the new skyscrapers and that the projects carried out by TOKİ, which are claimed to be built with a horizontal architectural approach, do not reflect a horizontal structuring in terms of the number of floors and household density.
Based on these findings, the following assumptions (or arguments) are asserted in this study: the current legal arrangements are insufficient for the formation of a horizontal city, the current state of legislation increases construction areas and leaves less green space (such as playgrounds and arbors) for residents, horizontal construction has no content that supports the claim of creating a neighborhood culture, and legal regulations limiting floor heights force large cities in need of housing to expand toward the periphery of the city.