The Original Synthesis of New Construction Technologies in the Beginnings of 20th Century: Architect Kemaleddin's Vakif Han I and Hennebique System

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Dabanli Ö.

MEGARON, vol.16, no.3, pp.402-417, 2021 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.14744/megaron.2021.66742
  • Journal Name: MEGARON
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.402-417
  • Keywords: 20. century Ottoman architecture, Architect Kemaleddin, early reinforced concrete, Hennebique, REINFORCED-CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


During the second half of the 19th century in Europe, to take effect in the Ottoman capital, Istanbul, it was necessary to wait for the beginning of the 20th century for the important developments in construction technology. Architect Kemaleddin, one of the important names of those years, which can be described as a transition period in terms of construction technology, skillfully benefited from the developing construction technologies in the buildings he designed, built, and produced original works in terms of construction technique as well as in the architectural style. As the first of the series of foundation inns, Vakif Han I is an attractive work that synthesizes all available building materials and construction techniques of the period with its masonry, early reinforced concrete (Hennebique System), and steel elements. At the beginning of the 20th century, generally mixed construction techniques were used in such buildings which were built in Emindni) and Galata regions where a rapid urban transformation process was witnessed because of the developing maritime transport and international trade. However, there are not many studies about these buildings which are important documents of the construction techniques of the period, that enlightened the design approaches on how these techniques were used together. To protect the unique character of the buildings and as well as the period, detailed researches are needed to illuminate the construction details as well as building materials, but there are also some difficulties and limitations in conducting on-site research in such building which are usually in use. In this study, Vakif Han I is investigated in terms of new construction technologies in the beginnings of 20th century. The characterization of the original building techniques used and identification of the structural system are the purpose of the study to help for developing sustainable conservation strategies. Furthermore, the environment in which the building emerged is discussed in terms of developments in construction technologies. The structural design approaches of the period are examined through the original documents and projects obtained from the archive. The construction techniques used in the building are described by tracing the original projects in the building. The original projects of the building have been compared with the existing building by in situ observations. As a result of the comparison of original projects and existing building, it was obtained that, all available building materials and construction techniques of the period such as stone and brick masonry, early reinforced concrete (Hennebique System), and structural steel were used in Vakif Han I, which reached today by preserving its originality. Moreover, it is determined that traditional masonry work and modern composite structural elements made of reinforced concrete (Hennebique System) and structural steel profiles were used in the construction of the building. The main structural system of the building consists of stone and brick masonry walls, early reinforced concrete (Hennebique) and composite (RC and steel) columns and beams, and as well as ribbed composite slabs. When the original projects in the archive and the existing building are compared, it is determined that the building was built completely in accordance with its projects.