Istanbul / Considering Other Options – Piccinato’s Plan (late 1950s)

Luigi Piccinato, a renowned Italian planner was one of the few planners invited back to Istanbul by Adnan Menderes, the Prime Minister to restructure the legacy plan left by Henri Prost (Fig. 1) under the vision, Reenergising the Imperial City back to its former glory under the Democratic Rule, in 1956. He was part of the second phase of planners after Prost to renovate Istanbul’s plan, alongside. And when finally proposed, the plan was ruthlessly rejected by the Turkish government without a second glance as it was believed to not be in line with the government’s intentions for the city. So where did Piccinato go wrong?

Henri Prost’s European Side Master Plan in 1943, with slight alterations to the road networks. (Document from Académie de
l’Architecture / Archives d’Architecture
du XXe Siècle)


Piccinato’s East-West Axial Plan (1956) outlining the industrial, residential and recreational areas (Document from Archivio Luigi Piccinato (ALP))

Based on the two plans, there is diagrammatic shift from a concentric plan to a linear one, which attempts to connect the European and Asian side of Istanbul together, which has always been a point of concern. The proposal put forward by Piccinato (Fig. 2) was largely ideal but it highlighted the uniqueness in the cultural character of the city. The more human centric approach, meant that the old Istanbul city will be tightly protected and will be reconsidered as the city centre.  While the industrial plants, the economic means of the city, will be decentralised. This is made possible by the axial highways that span across the city and provides settlement opportunities along these transportation routes.

We can say that loss of focus in his plan could have been the demise of his proposal. It almost looks at the city from a long distance such that, it becomes more of a city prototype, a CIAM prototype.



Akpinar, Ipek. The Rebuilding of İstanbul Revisited: Foreign Planners in the Early Republican Years. 2014.

Hofmann, A., Öncü, A., & Bass, C. History takes place: Istanbul : Dynamics of urban change. 2016.


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