The design of workspaces and industrial buildings, characterized by a pragmatic value-driven approach, has often been both the mirror of the efforts of transformation and modernization in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, and a prolific ground for some interesting architectural experiments. This is particularly true for Turkey, starting from the period of reforms and reorganization of the Ottoman Empire in the 1830s (Tanzimat era) with the establishment of some imperial factories, continuing through the state-led industrialization program from the foundation of the Republic in 1923 until 1950s, the mixed-economy driven approach in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and extending up until the post-Fordist era and globalization that is still underway.
Within this context, this research is based on the fact that, although there are publications, articles and a growing interest in industrial buildings in Turkey, a comprehensive approach to the topic and its visualization was lacking.
The very first step of this research was a study focused on industrial buildings in Istanbul, conducted in the course “Architectural Workshop II” held by Assistant Prof. Moira Valeri in 2013, within the scope of the Master Program in Architecture at the Institute of Science and Engineering, Yeditepe University. In this framework, rather than conducting new exhaustive architectural and historical investigations on each industrial building in the city, we have been collecting existing studies through sources such as academic publications, architectural magazines and Turkish newspapers.
Eventually, we have arrived at a database that includes a file for each building; a kind of identity card, containing, where possible, basic information on the original appearance, further transformations, a picture of both the original and current condition of the industrial building, and a short list of the main references.
The idea of mapping these industrial buildings has emerged by the extension of the previous report. We first mapped the buildings to get a visualization of how many there were and their respective locations in the city. As a further step, we sorted them by the year they became operational. The database and maps are interrelated and easily accessible through an identification code designated for each building.
As a second step of the research, which comprises this very dossier, we have focused on industrial buildings all over Turkey. We have listed industrial buildings and sorted them again by the year they became operational, including those that represent important thresholds in the history of architecture or bear an innovative/unique character in terms of industrial production.
The whole research to be considered as a work in progress aims to present an overall picture of industrial buildings in Turkey; understand how the architectural and urban character of spaces of production have changed over the years; show the number and location of industrial buildings; increase the knowledge and awareness on the industrial history of the country, the architectural and/or historical value of some industrial buildings and the built environment we live in; provide a basis for further historical/architectural studies on this topic, and understand the impact of industrial buildings on the urban landscape and our daily life.