Category Archives: ARCH 221

The Best Emperor From Good Ones : Hadrian And His Architectural Meaning written by Leyla Yildiz

In history, The Roman Empire accomplished many works especially as military. Before Christian era, the emperors of Rome made many eforts for their lands. They always tried to make their zones enlarged. They did not pay attention to their people. Almost all emperors did the same implementations on the community. They had oppressive and cruel prosecutions. There were many downtrodden people included slaves etc. Also, especially before Christianity some emperors and their dynasties were wasteful and unfair. Besides, while the emperors were striving to extend their countries’ boundaries, they did not give consequence to their cultural ligacy, civilization and development of people too much. Furthermore, there were always a confict when every emperor changed in some periods. Thus, it created important problems and unpleasant occurrents. While they were dealing with these kind of problems and other army works, they could not give interest to the other important necessities of a country.

However, after christ especially from 96 AD to 192 AD five important and prospering emperors ruled to the Roman Empire. These emperors had very significant values and importances. Because, they were different from the other usual emperors. They had some efficient qualities.First of all, they have not oppressive regime on their people, their politics were more moderate. Their names were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius and were called as “five good emperors” [1] This ‘good’ word has many important meanings.It does not mean just successful, it has also something more about feeling. They were more well natured, and also they had more and social awareness, artistic qualities. Especially, in Trajan times art had the highest development in Rome and there were some sculptures which were tried to recreate with the information from Greek statues. [2] But, in time the sculptures started to be very successful. Especially, after Hadrian Emperor imperial portraiture which were very unruffled and ageless, started to seem more intimate.[3] They became more realistic and emotional. The eyes of a portrait and postures started to give more feeling and their realistic expression were something about soul. There is  a really meaningful statement about that point. According to philosopher Plotinus beauty is not about body but it is related with soul. “ Ugly is that which has no soul “ [4] For instance, after Hadrian’s lover Antinous died, his statues looked unsimiling and contemplative young face.[5] These kind of structures show Hadrian’s  elegy. The face and eyes were not seem as just a painted work of art. There is something about more emotional sense.

Thus, after these kind of sculpturing works, artistic feautures of Rome developed more. Besides, in the times of Trajan, sculpturing in Rome became more advantageous, because of the busts of emperors and the column of Trajan. This column were made by marble and it has many cultural and historical meanings. On the surfaces of this column there many stories about the success of Trajan’s Dacian Wars. There are varius aspects of this column’s design and it gives a kind of monumental sense. This huge and very significant art work and the other statues were just a begining of this artistic and architectural progress of Rome.

Emperor Maximinus Thrax                                 The Column of Trajan

Besides, with Trajan Roman architecture developed in a very well way. “Rome become a city of Magnificent public buildings. While it is true that the Romans obtained their chief ideas of architectural beauty from the Greeks, it is a question whether Athens, even in the time of Pericles, could have presented such a scene of imposing grandeur as did Rome in the time of Trajan and Hadrian, with its forums, temples, aqueducts, basilicas, palaces, porticoes, amphitheaters, theaters, circuses, baths, columns, triumphal arches, and tombs. “ [6]Thus, it shows that Roman architecture and art works get the upper hand in the world after Augustus times. This period became just an avant garde for other huge works.

According to some resources, the art of Rome was not a unique quality until the second century. It was a syntheses of other countries. However, in the second century Rome started to have it’s own work of art.[7] Then, this period show the Hadrian’s time. Hadrian is the best emperor because he gave the  bigest contribution to the human history in many sense. Publius Aelius Hadrianus  was the third one of the five good emperors. He was different even the previous fine emperor who is Trajan. Trajan paid attention to the extending lands of Rome more. Then, Roman Empire had the bigest borders in it’s history. However, Hadrian follow different way for his country’s well being. His attitude was more peaceable and tranquil. He could save his country without fighthing. He used his other personal skills.

It was really important statement why Hadrian was very beloved emperor even if today. There are many structures and artisctic works for him. In every piece of Roman lands, there are some signs or indicatians about him. Even after centuries, many different cultures share  Hadrian’s works in Egypt, Europeni, Anatolian and other countries. For all these things, he had very significants skills and qualities. He was not just an soldier or emperor. He was also a poet, philosopher and architect. He gave his interests to these fields too much rather than others. ” In some respects he was similar to Trajan, with the same generous spirit and desire for the welfare of the people, and with the same wish to add to the architectural splendor of Rome. He was, like Trajan, a friend of literature and a patron of the fine arts.” [8] Hadrian could manage his country in a very well way from a distance. He always traveled in the Roman lands. He tried to find out different spaces in the different cultures. While he was treveling, he always leave some kind of structures and cultural legacies in every places that he visited. Moreover, people from these places present many different structural and historical things to their emperor for him. He chosed making a great contribution to his people and developing cultural inheritance rather than enlarging the boundaries more. Because, people do not need a bigger land, they need culture, kind of monumental things and especially a morale more and free rights rather than slavery. In his period, Roman civilization was at its best, it’s highest stage of developement.[9]

While he was doing his art work, he always saved Greek culture and supported literature and art. “Hadrian was a man of wide learning who, it was said, spoke Greek more fluently than Latin. He was a patron of art, literature, and education, and a benefactor of the needy poor.”[10] Additionally, Hadrian was interested in architecture too much, there is a large number of structure in every edges of Roman Empire that he made. For British people, He has a very special meaning, because he made a very strong wall which separete Scotland from England. This wall was very important and useful, because it protected Rome from the wild attacks. It is one of the most important historical richnesses in the world.[11] This wall was not just for defensing, it also showed the North borders of England and then, it was customs and assessment point. Hadrian’s  Wall was 73 miles and was built in 5 miles stretches, with seventeen forts which were called ‘milecastlest’ were built every mile and between them there were signal turrets. [12] Even if this wall was just for defensing, it has some meanings about the emperor and his time. This kind of huge wall show also Hadrian’s power as an emperor to the other different countries and also to the inside. It is useful but also this structure is a show of strength. Now, this wall leaved a trace and impressed in the world from one end to the other.

From one of Hadrian’s traveling, there was a very well and important architectural structure which is Hadrian’s Gate in Antalya. The people built it for Hadrian’s visit and their passing to the their city. It has three arched Gates. There is a really significant ornamentation on it’s surfaces. This white and marble arches refers to classical architecture a bit. Also, the appearance of it  gives a sense to a huge entering. Besides, it has some cultural imformation on it’s surface like a historical tablet. Hadrian Temple is also one of the arched structures in honour of Hadrian in Efes and Kyzikos. These historical structures have very important means. Arches are really relate to the ancient ages and Rome. Stories on the surfaces always  make their culture alive.

      Efes Hadrian Temple                                 Kyzikos Hadrian Temple

Hadrian was very interested in Ancient Greece. He always tried to refer Greek  architectrure and combine with his structure. “He was a very important figure in Greece where he was considered a visionary emperor who loved Athens, and made it more beautiful with architectural masterpieces like the arch of Hadrian, the library and the aqueduct. Nicknamed ‘Graeculus’ or ‘the little Greek’, Hadrian adored all things sophisticated and Greek and became an ardent friend of the Greek people. He displayed his interest in a number of benefactions to cities and individuals alike.”[13] The Villa Adriana at Tivoli is also an example of combination of Hellenism and Classicism. This considerable heritage has some syntheses of different cultural relationships and elements included Rome, Greece and Egypt. This villa shows his inner world, emotions and thoughts. This space is kind of his ideal city. In addition, it has very potential and superbly sited collection.It has sparkling imaginative qualities and very well designed ways. However, according to Spiro Kostof, Hadrian’s Villa reads like an elegy because of tragic memories for his lover.[14]

Besides, Hadrian was very emotinaol and fell in love with Greek Antinous.After Antinous died in Nile River tragically, he made his lover a god.[15] After that, he found a city in Egypth then he gave Antinous’ name to the this city. Moreover, he also found another city too which was called Adrianapolis (Edirne in Turkey) So, from all them it is clear that he gave many contributitions to Roman civilization and architecture.

In addition to all these, he gave many structures more then these works. There are many religious structures included Venus and Rome, Olimpian Zeus Ttemples. Mausoleum of Hadrian was also the most important building between them. Actually, all of them show the importance of cultural legacy  that Hadrian gave. His works and architectural movement affected the others which are the next ones. Even if he ruled just for 20 years in Rome, he tried to show his best effort and coul achieve Roman architecture and urbanization besides defensing his country. This very important point make him the best emperor among all the Roman emperors. Thus, he deserved the whole warm attention  from his people and future civilizations.



Exhibition: Sivil Mimari Bellek Ankara

Hi everybody;

Today I’ll mention about my observations which talk about an useful exhibition in Ankara. It’s a great work. It’s name is ‘Sivil Mimari Bellek’ and it was exhibited in Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi . People from Başkent University with the supports of TÜBİTAK and VEKAM have done researches  for 3 years for that. These studies are about civil architecture in Ankara. The years between 1930 and 1980 were considered. This period is extremely important because, the structures have featured significances. Project team worked on 120 buildings which represent many different architectural aspects and development of modernization in Ankara. Actually, it also show how architecture get change and it’s evolving in history. The objective of this study is that remarking on residential buildings, making their architects known and then revealing the cultural qualities and their contributions to inheritance in architectural sense. There were many photos, technical drawings and texts about these buildings on the sheets,some models. Classification in terms of periods was considered on it. With these works, the values of these constructions can be permanent and thus, the memory of civil arcitecture can be protected.

Now I’ll talk about my observations considering the stages separately. Let’s start with 1930s. This stage is a part of early republican period. It is  really important,  because it is a transiton time from the Ottoman to Republic Period of Turkiye. So, this stage has first modern and contemporary attempts in architecture. First, the structures have simple facades. There aren’t any ornaments on them. They are basic and unique buildings of modern period. When we look at the first half of 1930s, it is clear that this period is a really passing phase, because it has still the qualities of Ottomon architecture. It’s like a synthesis of these two different periods (Ottomon and Republic) They have some circular forms on their facades and inside. But also,they have other basic geometric forms. Firstly, the structures consisted of  many different masses which have various dimensions and forms.

But then, they turn into one single mass especially in the second half of 1930s. In this era, buildings were multistorey rather than the earliest period of 1930s. They are taller and wider, that’s why they  have a lot of flats, so they are generally for collective living like hostels. They are more all-purpose and functioning. They have long horizontal and vertical surfaces, so it creats linearity.

In 1940s early republic time still remains their effects in architecture. The buildings aren’t large and they are the examples of family-based. And they have some unique and unusual examples like Cemal Poyrazoğlu Apartment. They have again basic facade elements, but there is a development concerning design. By the way, from this period cooperative apartments had been started to built. The buildings of 1940s and the earliest period of 1952 look very similar. They have small forms and they are single or two- floor structures. They have a relationship with nature and their environment. They are more sincere, because they have gardens and they were built considering the topography like Mebusevleri and Kavacık Ucuz Subayevleri. They are more in touch with nature and they have rich and social living space and interaction.

Also, in 1940s and 1951 these buildings have some elements like columns in the entrances and garden of them. They bring very old styles like Rome to mind. This style is like an examples of neoclassicism.

There is an also very similar example which refers to neoclassical style. This structure is one of my favorites. . It’s name is Saadet Apartment. There are some columns with the huge balconies in the front facades. They creates a strong impact to the environment.

By the way, 1951 there are two different apartment which are different from the other in their  time. They were again designed with simple forms but, they have some some trade functions. Their frontal layouts consist of very linear elements.

After the earliest period of 1950s, the structures started to have very similar forms and appearances. Modernization and contemporary architecture exactly started to seem in this period. Famous foreign architectural styles started to affect Turkish architecture.  And the architects of this era in Turkey started to refer this styles. There are many examples of that in Ankara.  For instance,  Cinnah 19 is an example of them.  It has many similarities with Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation. By the way, I have an article about Cinnah 19. This is the link of it. In this article this influence and the architectural  qualities of that period was clearly explained.

First photo is Cinnah 19 and the other one is Unite d’Habitation.

The structures of that period mostly consist of a single mass. And they have really basic geometrical forms. Also, generally they consist of horizontal and vertical elements. And then, on their facades there are some elements concerning different designs. The architects started to use light conditions on the surfaces like İsrailevleri, Sönmez Apartment and Cinnah 19 etc.

The huge and linear structures from 1950s continued to seem in 1960s too. In this period, architectural design was developed more especially on the facades of the buildings. Most of these buildings have a strong and horizontal effect. With the similar basic forms continuity was tried to remain on the facades. In some examples, the architects tried to break the uniformity and monotone surfaces in their buildings. They used different and organic elements, forms and materials. So, it created moving and dynamic facades. Also, some elements like balconies were located in different and obfuscatory places. That’s why, they created dynamism. By the way, some vertical elements were used in order to make a balance with the huge horizontal elements like balconies and windows. Therefore, in some buildings different semi-transparent elements started to be common. So, day light could be used in the buildings. They creates different light and shadow conditions. Especially, after Cinnah 19 many structures like that were started to built.By the way, in this period, some effects of rationalism style started to seem.

Some moving and flexible structures were continued to built in the late 1960s like Özkanlar Evi (Gemi Ev).

In 1970s the buildings have similar quailities like in 1960s. But, there is a really different structure in that period which is Teras Ev. This building were formed with the topography. It used the environment and spaces in a very well way. Also it has the quality of functionality with the terraces. It has a unique value in it’s period.

And then here, there some photos of the models from this exhibition;


The buildings’ photos are from

An article about the chapter A History of Architecture : The Triumph of Christ

For this semester, I have a term assignment for History of Architecture course. It’s about writing an article. Actually, it is going to be like a thesis (but not)  that’s why it’s very important experience for me. It has to be more serious rather than the articles that I wrote before. So, I have to study and search more on my topic. We were expected to choose a chapter from the book which is ‘’ A History of Architecture’’  by Spiro Kostof.

First of all, I want to mention about this great architecture historian. Spiro Kostof was born in Istanbul but he is Greek origin. First, he studied in Robert College in Istanbul. Then, he graduated from Yale University. He was a professor at the University of California in Berkeley for many years. He really interested in architectural history. He emphasized urbanism, arcitecture and phsical and social context of that kind of works. He is an appreciated historian. His lectures was very famous and he was really capable as lecturer.’ A history of architecture’ is an amazing textbook. He wrote about Rome, Venice, Constantinople (Istanbul), Mexico, U.S, Egypt and then some others. Actually in the beginning, his profession was about early period of Christianity and Constantinople. And the chapter that I chose is about exactly these eras.

So, let’s talk about my chapter which is ‘’The Triumph of Christ’’. It contains 3 parts: The Turning Point: Third-Century Rome, Housing the Kingdom of Heaven and The Conversion of Constantine. I chose this chapter, because I have interested in both Roman and Constantinople Architecture. So, this chapter has these periods. While I was reading that, some topics were really interested to me.

This chapter starts with depressed times of Rome. In the last times of Rome emperors concerned about defensing their countries. Then architectural sturctures were about that. For example, some walls were built in that period. Also, five good emperors of Rome were mentioned in these parts. Hadrian (emperor from 117 to 138 AD) is one of them. Actually, the field of sculpture in Rome started to change with portraits of Hadrian. In the past, there wasn’t any emotion on the faces of emperors’ portraits. Very important thing was mentioned here.’’ Philosopher Plotinus claims that beauty resides not in the body but in the soul and in the soul’s yearning toward the universal soul of God. – ‘ Ugly is that which has no soul’ ‘’ I really liked that. Especially, Both Hadrian and his architectural things are emotional. For instance, Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli has important values about his love: Antinous. By the way, traditions were seemed on the structures about Hadrian. That caught my attention much. Besides, in this chapter, it is mentioned how religion was reflected to the Roman architecture in this period. In last times of Rome, the country was falling. Then, many architectural structures started to lose their significance. Therefore, architectural and artistic attempts went towards to the East-Rome. After that first Christianity Architecture started to seem. There are some information about important public basilicas which were constructed with ordered arches,posts,columns and high walls and other structures like Hagia Sophia. Their structural processes and significance were talked about. By the way, in the constantinople times,  basilicas were  syntheses of east and west.

Finally, after I read the whole chapter, I decided to study on Hadrian and write about him. Because the examples about Emperor Hadrian that are given in this chapter were interested to me much as I mentioned before. Afterthat, I searched about him a little. Then I realized that there are many architectural things for him. Many temples, walls, gates, pavilions were built in many places. And I want to understand why he is really important emperor for Rome and it’s architecture. Why people constructed many things for him? Besides, I want to find out his architectural importance in the meaning of social, cultural and technical.


Kostof, Spiro. A History of Architecture, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010

An Article : The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

Today, I want to mention about an amazing museum in Ankara which is Anatolian Civilizatians Museum. It is also one of the most valuable and best museums in the world. Now, I will start to talk about the building of it and it’s function in history then, I’ll try to summarize my observations.

This museum is too close too Ankara Castle. The area has a really attracting view. There are many green areas and historical structures around it. It consist of two different structures which are Bedesten  by Mahmut Pasha and Kurşunlu Han by Mehmet Pasha. They were built in the times of Ottoman Empire. In the past, Bedesten was used for bazaar. Many shops were located there. In 1881, these two building was left for inusitation because of an fire. After that, it was started to rebuild with the desire of Atatürk in 1938.The all restoration was completed in 1968. Actually, first it was opened as a Hittite Museum, but in time many historical artifacts from different civilizations got involved in this museum. Therefore, it became as The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Now, Bedesten is the main part of these museum. It has impressive image. When people enter into it, this building welcome them with huge domes and arches. People can see the architecture of Ottoman from the texture of the walls and appearance of the structure. On the right side of entering of the building, exhibition start and enclose the all exhibition area to the left side. Then, it is over on the left side with a beautiful cafe. In between there is an also exhibition area which has huge domes. Here, there some photos of these parts.

The  arround of Bedesten, there is a nice garden, green areas and Kurşunlu Han. Now, Kurşunlu Han is used for social activities like conference, workshops and library etc. And in the garden there are also some archaeologic sculptures are exhibited.

There are some figures of goddess like Kybele, woman and public speaker statue and some gravestones from Roman Period. They show how people dress, their life-styles and religios in that periods. Also, an huge statue interested to me. It was a huge monument which is The Fasıllar Hittite Monument. There are great God, a smaller mountain God and two lions. That shows the power of God and the religion of people. Besides, there are many inscribed stones and columns. They are some kind of honorific symbols.

In Bedesten part, exhibition starts with Paleolithic era and then it continues chronologically with them : Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian Trade Colonies, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartu, Lydia, Anatolian Civilizations from b.c 12000 to until today and down the ages of Ankara. The Paleolithic Age was for hunter-gatherers who used stone and bone tools. They show how people make a living in daily times and their life-styles.

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And then, it continues with the Neolithic Age. It shows the first settled life and urbanisation. Also it gives some information about producing food and village life.  All of them emphasize their cultures and social activities. A small house of Çatalhöyük was exhibited in that period. There are section of an roof of this house, cooker, rush mat, ground stone, cruses, ladder etc.

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After that, it gives some information and tools from Bronce Age and others. By the way, there were some beewax sculptures, they looked real and were extremely effective.

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And then, at the center of the exhibition area, there are many cartouche stones and statues which show people’s religions, living styles, Gods, kings and animals.

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With this slide, my documents of this trip to the Museum is overed. I hope, it is a helpful and good presentation for you. Keep in contact 🙂

Ps: Photos are belong to me.                                                                                           Reference: