The New Architectural Classicism in Northern Cyprus

Kiessel, Marko
Yücel-Besim, Devrim
Tozan, Asu
In the early 1990s, a Post-Modern architectural classicism emerged in Northern Cyprus, a trend which boomed strongly after 2003, the year of a (failed) peace-plan of the United Nations for the divided island. This trend was influenced by developments in Turkey and arriving late, compared to the international Post-Modern movement. This study aims at a stylistic and semiotic analysis of the Postmoderne in Northern Cyprus. It is based on a comprehensive survey and demonstrates that four international Post-Modern categories, ranging from 'Figurative-', 'Abstract-' and 'Post-Modern-' to 'Ironic-' Classicism, are applicable to Northern Cyprus alike. The majority of local Post-Modern buildings, regardless of to which category they belong, displays a 'non-contextual' Western classicism instead of referring to the Turkish architectural heritage. The new classicism in Northern Cyprus covers residential, commercial and recreational architecture. 'Figurative Classicism', displaying a nearly canonical application of classical detailing, is employed in a few residential and recreational buildings. 'Abstract Classicism', displaying a strongly reduced classical detailing, and 'Post-Modern Classicism', the biggest category and displaying a highly eclectic, 'freestyle' detailing, have been observed in relation to residential, commercial and tourism/recreational architecture. Apart from a few residential buildings 'Ironic/Kitsch Classicism' is related first of all in relation to tourism/recreational architecture. Whereas the Post-Modern architecture of Istanbul has been interpreted having mainly a historicist character, this paper suggests that in the case of Northern Cyprus the recent Western classicism -like in China-communicates codes which reflect a booming culture of consumerism. Thus the Postmoderne serves as a tool for the promotion of sales and as an instrument for the representation of social status.


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Citation Formats
M. Kiessel, D. Yücel-Besim, and A. Tozan, “The New Architectural Classicism in Northern Cyprus,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 167–180, 2011, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: