Istanbul / Comparative Analysis of the Menderes and Piccinato Plan

As a point of argument, we wanted to comparatively analysis the strengths and weaknesses of both plans to understand the contributions they had made to the plan of Istanbul.

Firstly, PM Menderes looks at Istanbul as a place of renovation rather than revitalisation, therefore his approach is heavily determined by technicality. He had prioritised traffic optimisation without considering much else under the pretence that the automobile was a symbol of modernity (Le Corbusier). This led to what was considered Istanbul’s most devastating mass destructions to vernacular and smaller historical sites. This largely catered to tourism, as they were able to simply dress up parts of the city by calling it “beautification” and “glorification”. His motivations stemmed from Prost’s idea that the roads would create the city and the city should be rebuilt around them.

On the other hand, Luigi Piccinato took a humanitarian approach and idealistic in concept as he proposed that by using the Functional Zoning System, it would reduce Istanbul’s planning problems significantly. He also considered the future of the city, both spatially and functionally. Spatially, he introduced a spanning linear model which was a concept that was alien to the Eastern Europeans and has the most potential of urban growth. And functionally, his plans provocatively shift the status quo from a bustling industrial hub into a bustling cultural hub.

These comparisons do come with some bias as Menderes was pressured by the magnifying glass put on him by USA  when receiving the Marshall Aid and Piccinato pressured by his contemporaries, CIAM and the International Style of Planning. We, as history students, can not say one was better than the other in any way since Menderes’ actions shaped the way Istanbul was brought into modernity because change always has casualties and in this case architecture was one.


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

3 Comments on “Istanbul / Comparative Analysis of the Menderes and Piccinato Plan

  1. A good interpretation of the relationship between CIAM’s ideal urban planning concepts and Piccinato’s scheme, the difference between Mendere’s decision-making (Prost’s scheme) and Piccinato’s scheme, reasons behind this commonalities and differences as well as the socio-political context of the Istanbul and even Turkey at the time. However, from your narratives, it seems that both schemes borrowed different ideas of CIAM’s functionalism with different emphasizing points and both of them had some commonalities as they were all influenced by the modern urban planning concepts from the West.

    Could you please add some citations as evidence to support your option?

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