Prefabs, Chalets, and Home Making in 19th-Century Istanbul | Deniz Türker Wed, 2017-02-15 12:53

E298 | A handful of obscure archival fragments from Sultan Abdülhamid II’s imperial library in Yıldız have revealed a curious architectural practice that took place in the urban gardens of members and officials of the Ottoman court: they had a penchant for imported chalets. In this episode, Deniz Türker discusses her research on how this relatively niche fad for importation quickly shifted to widespread local prefabrication in the last decades of the nineteenth century. With the entrepreneurial oversight of production facilities in Istanbul, a larger swath of the capital’s population began to find ways to express their domestic tastes in an extremely competitive spirit on Istanbul’s expanding suburbs. In tracing these practices through state archives, newspapers, novel, and photographs, Türker also proposes some preliminary answers to the scarcity of original architectural drawings in the Ottoman archives.

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Deniz Türker is the Fari Sayeed Fellow in Islamic Art at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She has received her PhD in History of Art and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, where she completed a dissertation on Yıldız, the Ottoman Empire’s last palace. Her current research follows two separate threads, one is to understand the patronage and public role of the Queen Mothers of the Tanzimat, and the other is to trace the life and work of two prolific imperial photographers, Kevork Abdullah, and Bahaeddin Bediz.

Taylan Güngör is a doctoral candidate at SOAS in London. His interests are in Medieval and Pre-Modern Eastern Mediterranean trading circles and his research is on trade in Istanbul after 1453.


Episode No. 298
Release Date: 12 February 2017
Recording Location: SOAS, London
Recorded at SOAS Radio studios. SOAS Radio is an outlet for creative media and talent housed by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Run by alumni, current students and staff at the School, including volunteers from like-minded communities, SOAS Radio is dedicated to varied and original programming on world music, culture and current affairs.
Audio editing by Taylan Güngör
Music: Muzaffer Akgun – Ha Bu Diyar
Images and bibliography courtesy of Deniz Türker