Housing production in Turkey is mostly completed by merchant builders, with little or no involvement of architects. Those architects who do function in the housing industry try to satisfy state authorities, private enterprises and the customer, behaving according to these clients’ intentions. This, in turn, succeeds because of the current era of flexible accumulation where a consumer society is ready to digest whatever is offered. That is, buildings that have some resemblance to historical examples or look different to what people would normally prefer are chosen by consumers. As a result, different social classes of society commodify historical, traditional and cultural values in the name of creating an identity. In this context, this essay focuses on the image of the house itself and its interpretations within the post-1980s Turkish residential housing industry. It shows that architectural styles, typologies, names and terminology are freely used according to the market desires throughout the two case studies. The housing development called Kemer Country is a clear example of the reconstruction of a traditional Turkish neighborhood (mahalle) but there is no substance behind their facades, it is only an illusion. While Kemer Country creates a fake traditional mahalle outside of the city center of Istanbul, the developers of the Bosphorus City housing development claim to have re-built a significant part of Istanbul’s topography, as well as its unique architecture, outside of the city. This paper reveals that the architecture of the residential developments in post-1980s Turkey is lead by market forces and consumption-oriented construction rather than artistic, cultural or historical assets.
Key words: Postmodernism, consumer culture, image production, residential architecture.
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