Istanbul(1940s)/ The construction of Taksim square in relation to the master planning of Henri Prost

Istanbul(1940s)/ The construction of Taksim square in relation to the master planning of Henri Prost
The Taksim Artillery Barracks that are being demolished © 1986 Gulersoy

In the previous entry, I have mentioned about Henri Prost’s approach in preserving historical monuments in the urbanization of Istanbul. His method of doing so was to create large Public Square and Avenues next to this monuments, these give a new perspective axis towards the monuments. The avenues not only connect the public square but also give more freedom to automobiles. When all these come together it gives the monument a decorative nature. In this entry, we will examine this by one of the most important public square in Istanbul – the Taksim square.

 

Taksim square situated at the Istanbul Beyoglu district, which is in the new European part of Istanbul. It was built by Henori Prost in 1940. During the construction of the Taksim square, it involved building of the Gezi Park, which was thought to be the lung of the planned residential area. But here it came to a controversial issue of demolishing the Taksim Artillery Barrack, which was a long historical building built in 1806 to serve the Ottoman Empire. By the beginning of the 19th century it was serving as a first football Stadium in Turkey. In Prost’s eye the Barrack at that time was in a stage of ruin and it didn’t help to give new perspective to the Independence Monument. People started to question his different attitude towards the Barrack and the Independence Monument, in which in the later one Prost has showed a more sensitive and preservative attitude. Another criticism is the demolition of the barracks was in course of World War II, in which the building would have been used for refugees.

The orientalist facade of Taksim Artillery Barracks facing the square  © 1986 Gulersoy
The orientalist facade of Taksim Artillery Barracks facing the square © 1986 Gulersoy
The Taksim Artillery Barracks that are being demolished  © 1986 Gulersoy
The Taksim Artillery Barracks that are being demolished © 1986 Gulersoy

 

Nevertheless, Taksim Square and Genzi Park were built successfully as an attraction point in Beyoglu. Nowadays Taksim Sqaure not only used for commemorate the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, it is also acting as a major tourist and leisure district. It is at the heart of the modern Istanbul and is located at the central station of the Istanbul Metro Network.

photo of Taksim Sqaure nowadays  © 2012 Flickr
photo of Taksim Sqaure nowadays © 2012 Flickr

 

After all these years Henori Prost approach in preserving the monuments was proved to be successful in the case of Taksim Square. Although many criticism were faced at that time, it is understandable of why Prost has to demolish the Barracks in order to build the Gezi Park. I believe this inspire us of a question in urbanization – to sacrifice a less monumental building in order to save the more important one.

 

Reference:

YILDIRIM, B. (2010) Transformation of Public Squares of Istanbul between 1938-1949.

Istanbul: Istanbul Technical University

 

1 Comment on “Istanbul(1940s)/ The construction of Taksim square in relation to the master planning of Henri Prost

  1. The building of Taksim Square has also a significant meaning of transforming the old Ottoman city fabric to a public space which symbolizes the transfer of political power from the imperial monarchy back to people as to mark the beginning of the republican era. Looking at other public squares planned by Prost, we could also see how the intrusion of the new fabric echoes with the Ataturk’s intention to create a secular city by changing a portion of spatial order in the Ottoman Empire.

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