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Architectural Model Making In Turkey

Studio-X Istanbul
Nov 17, 2017 - Jan 19, 2018

A Tool for Thinking and Visualization

Model making has always been an inseparable aspect of architectural production, since it is a tool for testing, representing, and, at times, documenting the architectural idea. Architectural models vary from the simplest working models, made of materials and methods available in the office, to presentation models produced by professional model makers using sophisticated materials and methods. Most of the working models last until the completion of projects in offices, gather dust, get deformed and disappear in the end. Professional presentation models, in contrast, do not reside in architecture offices, they travel through the courses set according to their purpose; but they get lost in the end, too. What often remain are the photographs of the models. Thus, the three-dimensional architectural expression becomes two-dimensional again. Most of the model photographs we can find in the archives and in the pages of architectural publications do not have any informational records. Mostly, it cannot be identified who the producer of the model was, what the material, technique, and scale were, and by whom the photograph of the model was taken.

The exhibition “Architectural Model Making in Turkey” is a phase of a long-term work in progress, which focuses on the actors well-known to the architecture circles, and their production, and which aims at making their collaboration more visible. The compilation of models in this exhibition represents the modern architectural production in Turkey in the 20th century, and includes the works of five model makers of five generations: The materials from the archives of Yusuf Z. Ergüleç, Selahattin Yazıcı, Mehmet Şener (Atölye 77), Varjan Yurtgülü (Min Tasarım) and Murat Küçük (Atölye K) are accompanied by the analysis of contents about architectural models in the journals Mimar / Arkitekt from 1931 to 1980.

The exhibition looks into the technicalities and meanings of model making, focusing on materials, techniques, methods, expressions, representations, milieus and networks of relations. It also pioneers the archival process recording the related information for the first time.

The archives of Yusuf Z. Ergüleç –with the support of Studio-X Istanbul– and Selahattin Yazıcı –with the support of METU Faculty of Architecture– are currently being digitized and catalogued. This effort was led under the mentorship of SALT Research Architecture and Design Archive which will host and provide online access to these archives once the cataloguing process is complete.