Hi everyone 🙂 This article is my final assignment in the ARCH121. It is about a really famous apartment in Ankara.
CAUTİON! It is long a little bit.. Maybe you should take a coffee before reading it.
CINNAH 19: A Modern Apartment Leyla Yildiz
It is said that many developments started to happen in the architectural thinking and trends after the Second World War. Especially, western architecture were affected by many trends. In europe, Le Corbusier was explored again and someone like him were imitated.When we mention about Turkish Architecture in that era , it is obvious that the architectural trend changed and an architecture current which look for a solution with freestanding styles replaced The Second National Architecture Current especially between the years 1950 and 1960. So, many architects claim that a modernist approach started to active and the style of Turkish Architecture became international and contemporary. There is an impressive example of that period which is Cinnah 19 in Ankara. It’s exact name is ‘Meydanlar Müdürlüğü Kooperatif Apartmanı’ (The Cooperative Apartment of Airports Management). This structure that has overtones of modernist approach was built in 1957 by Nejat Ersin(1924-2010).
When we talk about it’s architect he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. He said that modernist thought in the field of architecture affected him excessively and followed this current during his student life.Then, he started to work for the Airport Management in 1953, after he worked in some private offices and The Ministry of Defence. He achieved many successes with his projects and won some competitions.I think that he is a really important architect for Turkish architecture because in many articles it was written that he helped for the installation of The Chamber of Architecture and contributed it greatly and also, for him it is said that he had a big role in the field of the organisation of architecture discipline. Additionally, he had different and modern ideas rather than the other architects. That’s why, he had an important position in terms of contemporary architecture. You can see it’s traces easily on the Cinnah 19. It is said that this apartment is stil unusual. If we talked about this building generally, it resides in 19th number in Cinnah Street in Ankara. It is perpendicular to the street. It has 17 apartments and 15 of them are dublex. Each of them have a comfortable and large environment. Also, it has a small social facility on it’s terrace and a garden at the back. It is definiteley obvious that it is not common around us.
Although many buildings were designed for some competitions, this structure was built for commissioning in that period and there was a system which is called cooperative system started to be very common and numerous domiciles were built with huge investments by different cooperatives. People get into partnerships and invest to be homeowner in these cooperatives. According to Ali Cengizkan who is an architect, in the period of owning a house in this way the qualifications of communities get an association so, the qualifications included education, special interests, origin, the age of family and having children, which determine the living environment of houses get a privity and combination thanks to the cooperatives. Cinnah 19 also was built by a cooperation which is called the Construction Cooperative of Airports Management.While Nejat Ersin, other architects and engineers were working for Airport Management, they constituted this cooperation and started to do this project. Nejat Ersin took a big responsibility for it and he managed this project. The clients of this apartment were he and his partners who are architects and engineer. According to Nejat Ersin, his partners wanted him to built a remarkable and impressive structure and not to imitate other cooperative apartments. It was known that each of the cooperative buildings in Ankara looked like same in that period. Even today, cooperative apartments have same constructions and apperances. Many architects or owners of these buildings don’t care about the qualificaitons of living environment and collective puposes. Therefore, he tried to design a different apartment considering the requests of his clients. Actually, he was able to achieve this manner and built a modern apartment rather than similar cooperative buildings. In other words, we can realize that it had a significant value and was extraordinary when we compare it in that time because of the fact that this apartment was built by using modern and european manners.
Nejat Ersin clearly said that he was inspired from the currents of international architecture while he was searching for this project and Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa, Edward Durrel Stone were sources of inspiration for him while he was designing that. For instance, there is a really famous a building Unité d’Habitation in Marseille which was built by Le Corbusier. This structure was built for it’s users and communal life style with a contemporary approach. It’s surface was divided in the shape of grate and it has large windows and balconies and it stands on piloti. Also, it has a huge terrace which is very functional.There is a recreational facility on this terrace. Nejat Ersin’s apartment has all of these qualifications. In the terrace of Cinnah 19, there is a swimming pool, fireplace and an American bar for the apartment residents. Ersin said that I tried to create an environment and peaceful space which is used collectively.
Unité d’Habitation (*1)
It is written that, Le Corbusier built wide range of apartments which have different volumes and placed some dublex ones between these houses. However, Ersin couldn’t design it same because of the fact that this apartment was for a cooperative. It requires that all members and Ersin have equal rights. So, the valumes of all houses and their shapes must have been same. That’s why, he designed each of these apartments as dublex with equal dimensions. According to Ersin, one of the most important reasons of this choice is to present a warm atmosphere and natural home environment to homeowners. Besides, he was affected by English architect Stone. He wanted to use white and concrete grills like Stone who used concrete grills for his all structures. Ersin used them on some fronts of the apartment and wanted to give a spectacular and impressive view to it. Actually, he managed it since today, while people are walking in front of this building, they still look at it as surprised and impressed.Also, this appearance give textural qualities and it is known that they are refractor units. They create a harmony by using light and shadow. Moreover, there is an another refactor which is like a grill in the terrace. So, they show that these are funtional parts of this structure as well as a small social facility in terrace.
Ersin told the reason of being free while he was building it. He acted like this because the owners of it were architects and engineers. In addition, while Ersin was designing this project, he used simple forms instead of complicated forms which are illegible. So, again it probably shows that Ersin fallowed in Le Corbusier’s wake since he always defended that pure and geometrical forms should be used by architects. Here, there are some sketches that I drew, which show the basic units in Cinnah 19.
Besides, the concrete grills which Ersin used have simple rectangular forms whereas Stone used them in different forms.
The concrete grills in the hallway
One of their’s patterns
Also, the pilotis of this structure evoked the buildings which are famous in western architecture. For example, huge pilotis were used for Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye and again Unité d’Habitation, Lucio Costa’s Gustavo Capanema Palace. Also, the forms of these buildings and the like which are very basic and geometrical evoke the physical appearance of Cinnah 19.
Furthermore, this building is more readable compared to other apartments. To illustrate, it has some important qualities such as continuity and also, horizontality and verticality were used properly and clearly. The windows of it are in the same alignment along the whole length of the structure. In other words, there is a continuity in that part also, the concrete grills were combined by using an aligned proportion. So, when they were pieced together, the units which repeat themselves took shape and continuity became visible. Also, the grills were used in the hallways of each floors. Thus, this upholstery became a view which is grouped instead of the fact that it sheed whole surface of the structure at full length. Besides, there is an extremely important quality which is rhythm in terms of architecture and, it enables the structure to seem readable. Being a harmony makes buildings strong and legible. In Cinnah 19, the architect created a rhythm on the north side of it. The balconies were placed as asymmetric with a harmony.
When we talk about the relations of this construction with the urban context, it’s adaptation with the environment clearly shows itself. It was built without damaging and disturbing to the topography. Even though it was constructed on a curved land, anything was not changed. Alternatively, some pilotis were used. Actually, in order to build a structure the ground can be changed and converted to a straight land. Some architects have done this however, Ersin didn’t prefer this way. There are some famous examples of this situation in the international arena like Falling Water House and Villa Malaparte.
The Axonometric Drawing of Cinnah 19 (*3)
Also, it is said that there was a mosque which is near to this building and the material of the mosque was similar to the grills of the apartment. Thus, it also shows that there is an adaptation and rapport with the environment .
In the beginning phase of the construction the prime minister of that period had done some alteration in public works. After Nejat Ersin started to do this Project, the elevation of the way which is in front of this apartment were raised. Therefore, Nejat Ersin had to change something on this plan. He added one more floor which did not include dublex houses in the basement. Actually, according to Ersin, this situation became a solution since the cooperative had difficulty financially, even though they started to built it by the help of credit. So, they could sell this floor and contribute this project. Also, Nejat Ersin and his friends had more difficulties like this situation while building it. For instance, Ersin said that he got concrete grills manufactered and it caused a lot of work. According to him, he made an maximal effort throughout his life, due to the fact that this and other similar reasons happened and also, he attached importance to this project. Even, for this apartment Ersin said that this building is the most important construction and it is like my child. Actually, it was admired and appreciated by many architects such as Ali Cengizkan as well as it’s architect. Some conversations were organized and articles were written about this building since this apartment have symbolized modern architecture and it is said that it showed a communal prosperity and gave an importance to the manner of collective life. Even, Ali Cengizkan examined if Cinnah 19 is utopic or real modern in his article. Morover, other people in that time liked and approved it. Ersin said that in the construction period of it , some students and professors who came from METU came to see it and it is proud. Also, at universities architecture professors have still gived some homework about this building to their students. Even, in his interview he said that The President of the Republic Celal Bayar and The Prime Minister Adnan Menderes of that time interested it and they wanted to expropriate the environment of it when they saw a mosque which had similar structural quality with Cinnah 19 close by. However, due to some administrative reasons, it did not work. Therefore, afterwards other structures were built in front and at the back of it. Unfortunately, the old view of it became erased a little bit.
Additionally, it is said that after the owners of the apartment started to reside , they used the swimming pool and other collective areas well. However, after a few years the cooperative members started to leave from there so, different people moved to it and especially foreign people startet to live there. In time, the terrace became bad and incommodious. It is normal because if a structure was built for the client as special, it is more suitable that it is used by only the first owners because the condititons are favorable for them and they appreciate the value of the areas of the usage more. Today, this apartment is in bad repair. For instance, the terrace is extremely neglected and not used anymore. There are many breaking downs and fracture on the some parts of it’s surfaces especially on the side of north. Besides, numerous structures have built around it. Now, the environment of it isn’t empty and natural as before. Maybe, in the future it will lose it’s apperance and value in time.
PS: The photos and sketchs which haven’t got a reference belong to me.