Architecture education before ITU Faculty of Architecture: Actors shaping the architecture education in Yüksek Mühendis Mektebi Mimari/İnşaat Şubesi and their impact (1928-1941)

Özcan Ö., Kuban Tokgöz Z.

A/Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, vol.20, no.1, pp.85-100, 2023 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/itujfa.2022.30906
  • Journal Name: A/Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.85-100
  • Keywords: Architecture education, Emin Onat, ITU Faculty of Architecture, Monsieur Debés, Yüksek Mühendis Mektebi
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Faculty of Architecture has been one of the pioneering architecture schools for architecture education in Turkey since the 1940s. Learning about the period leading to the establishment of the faculty is essential in understanding the institutionalization of architecture education in Turkey. Having transformed into ITU in 1944, Yüksek Mühendis Mektebi (YMM) Mimari Şubesi (Architecture Branch) became the ITU Faculty of Architecture. Having functioned as ITU Faculty of Architecture’s core, YMM Mimari Şubesi is still very little-known today. The usually told tale has been about the İnşaat Şubesi (Building Branch) being under Monsieur Dèbes’ directorship that it was transformed into the Mimari Şubesi thanks to Emin Onat’s efforts and struggle against Monsieur Dèbes. Mostly comprised of engineering classes, İnşaat Şubesi was considered to be reshaped through Onat’s perspective on architecture and education as an actor regarded as the faculty’s founder. Positioning Onat in the center, this establishment narrative conceals the other actors shaping architecture education in YMM, their objectives and reflections in the education. In this study, the history of YMM Mimari/İnşaat Şubesi is being built through archived documents and narratives of individuals who bore witness to the period. This endeavor not only helps correct the information considered as known facts regarding the renowned actors like Dèbes and Onat but also unveils those other fundamental actors of architecture education and their influence. Discussing the period behind ITU Faculty of Architecture’s establishment with all of its actors provides new ways to understand the institutionalization of Turkey’s architecture education.