The production of a mise en scene for a nation and its subjects: Clemens Holzmeister et al. in the Ministries Quarter for Ankara, Turkey

Cengizkan A.

JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURE, vol.15, no.6, pp.731-770, 2010 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13602365.2011.533539
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.731-770
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The Ministries Quarter, the MQ, in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is a very interesting case for modern planning and architecture, conceptualised and developed in the first quarter of the twentieth century. As with other governmental centres and administrative hubs, it was attributed the mission of representing the political power of the newly born nation, facilitating physical, symbolic, cultural and historic channels of producing meaning. However, the successive intervention and involvement of architects, planners, landscape designers, governmental officials and statesmen in the shaping of this unique physical setting has ended with an urban environment wherein the ordinary citizen can nowadays just about grasp some piecemeal and minor messages from the total intentions, and experience habitually only the remnants of the original architecture and distorted elements. Focusing mainly on the first twenty five years of the design and shaping of the MQ, this article concentrates on the generic planning principles implemented in the design of the setting and on how these were undermined by new constraints introduced by globally well-known architects and urban designer, due to the lack of an authoritative principal document defining the original layout, that recorded and helped to preserve its unique spatial qualities at the outset.