A Critical look at the Facades of Contemporary Apartment Blocks: The Case of Ever- construction in Ankara

2006-11-26
Highly populated cities of Turkey are ever under-construction due to the never ending market demand for especially apartment blocks. In the case of Ankara, capital city of Turkey, being one of the planned cities of the modern era, a construction haze trying to keep up with this market demand is evident, somehow threatening the control over the city plan. The haze in constructing the apartment blocks leads to the fast generation of buildings, the speed of which the environment cannot keep up with. Hence, the buildings become detached from both their immediate surroundings, and similarly from the urban setting. This paper, looks at the built environment not from the point of view of users, but it rather regards the apartment blocks as an indispensable part of the urban fabric and discusses the quality of physical environment in terms of the facades of these apartmet blocks. One of the most effective and important faces/representatives that reflect the tastes of a period are the facades. The facades of contemporary apartment blocks in Ankara display tastes ranging from pure modern to high kitsch. This may be regarded as an asset in terms of creating a rich and polyphonic architectural scenery, yet the problem arises when the number of kitschy examples becomes overwhelming in this scenery. This paper asserts that the kitsch traced on the facades may be explained by the wish to become distinguished within the so-called pile of apartment blocks. The element of distinction is often formed by twisting some cultural references, inspired by traditional motives or by scenographic ornamentation. Such facades attempt to mark/distinguish the ostensible status of the owner and announce it to the passerby. Within this framework, this paper indicates the cultural twists turning into architectural bodies, and traces their roots to the desire of becoming part of the whole with a unique pompous identity. Parallel to this, the paper argues that in the case of Ankara, the phenomenon of everconstruction generates sustainability, yet unfortunately of cultural twists. However, the situation cannot be simplified to a cause-and-effect relationship. It should be noted that the relationship between the phenomenon of ever-construction and cultural change is reciprocal. This paper indicates that when either one goes haywire due to an uncontrollable speed, then it drags the other one along and both end up deformed.

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Citation Formats
İ. Basa, “A Critical look at the Facades of Contemporary Apartment Blocks: The Case of Ever- construction in Ankara,” 2006, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB4377.pdf.