Istanbul (1936-1951) / Henri Prost and the Master Plan of Istanbul, ‘Plan de Concentration’
In the last narrative, an urban competition was launched to invite leading urban planners and architects in Europe in expressing their vision on how to transform and modernize Istanbul. At the end, most of the proposals were remained on paper. In 1934, Henri Prost was re-invited by the President Ataturk to plan the two settlements, Yalova and Florya. After that, he was invited as a consultant in the Municipality’s Directory of Urban Development from 1936 to 1951 to conduct the master plan of Istanbul.
Henri Prost’s ‘Plan de Concentration’
In 1930s, Istanbul faced a serve transportation problem from the city center to the new extension areas in the peripheral. Also, large areas in the Old Istanbul were destroyed by fires in wartime. According to the ‘Plan de Concentration’ proposed by Henri Prost, his idea was to set the historical old city as the centre of the agglomeration in the future. He also emphasizes on the importance of mobile circulation in different zone of the city. Prost’s idea of transformation of Istanbul was based on two strategic urban interventions aiming to address three fundamental issue, transportation, hygiene and aesthetics of the urban pattern. Firstly, he formulized a systematic transportation infrastructure network as a structural transformation of the existing urban fabric. Secondly, he introduced a system of green space, public square and boulevard.
From the master plan diagram of the Old Istanbul, we could see the existing street pattern is largely preserved as a relatively dense and grid-like arrangement. The new development area is expanded radially towards the outskirt of the city with a slightly larger grid size and more open space. Moving to the diagram of the Master Plan for the European Side of Istanbul, the arrangement was slightly different and the new urban settlement was stretched horizontally segregating around the coastline. The new developed area also acted as a connector between the north of the old city and the central business district.
research paper reference: Cana BILSEL (2010), “Les Transformations d’Istanbul”: Henri Prost’s planning of Istanbul (1936-1951), Ankara: Middle East Technical University Development of Architecture (ITU vol. 8, No. 1)