Quotidian Architecture of Istanbul

Quotidian Architecture of Istanbul
Three examples of electrical transformers painted as Ottoman houses

The architectures that we pass every day, without even noticing, on our way to our busy lives, shape the corners of our cities. They are so embedded in our urban landscape, and the monotony of our daily routine, that we usually neglect them. We barely pay attention to them as we cross the street. Blink and you’ll miss them. These are the quotidian architectures of the cities.

Istanbul is a megalopolis, with a population slightly over 14 million people, that has become a large construction site in recent years. With massive projects in progress – a third bridge over the Bosporus, a third airport set to become the world’s largest and an artificial sea-level waterway, none of them free from controversy – Istanbul seems to be in a rush to construct megastructures that draw attention to themselves. And in this context, but on the other end of the spectrum, we find a series of ordinary architectures – sometimes mundane, sometimes brilliant – that inadvertently contributes to the solidity of the urban network. Are we, citizens, just apathetic to them? Should citizens dismiss them or embrace them?

Sometimes good architecture is not noticeable at first sight. The following are 3 examples of designs that could fall into this category and are found in present-day Istanbul. And precisely because they are half hidden and quotidian, they may deserve to be acknowledged, recognised and, just maybe, celebrated. []


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