Conservation of architectural heritage in Atatürk boulevard in Ankara

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019




The rapid change in our world affects the built environment, and especially in the last decades in Turkey, the main subject of this change is the modern heritage buildings and open spaces. Because of the lack of a clear definition in Turkish legislation and approaches prioritizing physical aspects and age-related data of the cultural assets, modern heritage components are susceptible to demolishment. Therefore, the buildings, architectural culture, and symbols of this era are under risk. Moreover, the conservation practices often disregarding the intangible features jeopardize the significance of a place and pave the way for forgetting the lived experiences engraved in material aspects of the cultural assets in question. With the notion of approaching to conservation as a versatile concept rather than something black and white, the thesis proposes a conservation mechanism for Atatürk Boulevard in Ankara with the inclusion of all the aspects, tangible and intangible, that contribute to a place’s significance. With this belief, the main north-south axis of the capital; Ankara Atatürk Boulevard, the focus of Ankara’s urban life, is chosen as the case study of this thesis. Ankara Atatürk Boulevard as a strong component of the capital has been witnessing the formation and transformation of the city, the Republic, society, culture, urbanistic approaches, and the architectural practices of Turkey from its foundation in 1923 then on. Today, the buildings and open spaces located on this axis have different functions or styles, designed by different architects from various backgrounds and eventually contributed to the formation of the area altogether which led it to be the symbol of Republican identity in the country. Furthermore, with the help of its citizens, Ankarans, it had evolved into the very center of urban life in modern the capital. Following the theoretical and conceptual framework drawn from the different memory concepts and other intangible aspects contribute to the formation of a place’s significance as well as the conservation documents related to modern heritage and intangible features, the thesis then focuses on the Atatürk Boulevard. Within the light of the information compiled from its current physical state and visual documents from various sources; the built up and open spaces throughout its history, and from the published materials and literary works; the lived experiences and memories of its users are documented, and its spatio-temporal transformation is tried to be understood. Finally, the thesis proposes conservation mechanisms for the architectural heritage and intangible aspects materialized in the physical components of Atatürk Boulevard. With this study, it is tried to be understood the formation, transformation, current state of the Boulevard and risks that the Boulevard is facing in addition to the cultural and urban identity and meanings of the capital via the axis. As a result, how can built environment and social aspects are linked, how they should be considered as a whole, and how can it be sustained are tried to be concluded. It aims to construct a base for a holistic conservation measure and mechanism especially to be used in the modern heritage places and be an extensive document for the further studies on the Atatürk Boulevard.