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The modern life from a traditional Turkish House

During the pandemic period that the World could watch the streets from the windows or could go outside only for fulfilling their needs, I think that the most important problem we were trying to handle was to interrupt the relationship between humans and the street after health issues. In addition to this, the attempt was to be more productive.

Well, If street and nature is within our houses if we can provide with our basic need when we are inside of our houses, and if we can live with many of our family members within the same borders, how would it be?

During the pandemic period when I was thinking of these and making research on my 4 m^2 balconies, I have learned that Turkish Houses were defined by Architect Sedat Hakkı Eldem as a house type that was formed within the borders of the old Ottoman state in Rumeli and Anatolian regions with its old terms and continued for 500 years and became evident with its own characteristics [1].

The first opportunity that Turkish Houses provide their occupants is having high walls around it. This solution was raised as a result of Turkish people giving importance to the privacy concept after Turkish people accept the Islamic religion. Thanks to that, it provides occupants with leading a life connected with the street and nature. Actually, this situation can make you experience the house inside the street.



Furthermore, these houses’ rooms had various units such as a bathing cubicle, fireplace, divan, press and had sustained all experience that comes from Turkish tent tradition.  The children that were raised in Turkish Houses had got married and they maintained their life with their partners in the room that was allocated to them. Thanks to that, the same family became wide as semi-independent in the same house and rooms that married couples lived within opened into ''Hayat'' (it is a common area and its English translation is the Life.)



Photo by Onder Kucukerman [2]

Also, the atrium - an area enclosure with high walls - has hosted common places like a kitchen, bathroom, and storeroom, providing its occupants with making production by cultivating the soil inside the borders of the house. Thus, people could get a chance to be productive in their homes.



Photo by Furkan Gultekin


In addition to these points, Stone, Timber, and Adobe were main building materials used in the building of Turkish Houses and the selection of these materials showed an alteration according to the location where the houses have done. In fact, the selection may create a solution for many issues that we are encountering nowadays. For instance, Turkish houses were built as fully compatible with nature and had performed as a part of nature throughout their life. This life used to carry out the almost whole criteria of ''sustainability'' concept that the world gives so importance to recently like energy efficiency, zero waste and circle economy.

For another instance, timber is a lot more ductile than concrete that is generally used in Turkish construction sector and has bearing capacity almost as steel as when examining in terms of strength to weight ratio.[3] If you plan to build earthquake-resistant buildings in locations where earthquake is one of the pieces of life, this feature of timber will offer great help. 



Photo by Ekrem Osmanoglu on Unsplash

Briefly, the opportunities that we have and the environment that we live in make convenient for us. I believe that the applications that frequently were implemented in our culture and history will help us for solving our current problems and shaping our plans in the future.




  1. Sedad Hakkı Eldem, “Türk Evi Plan Tipleri”, İTÜ, Mim.Fak.,1968, sf.10

  2. Anadolu Mirasında Türk Evleri, Küçükerman Ö., Güner Ş.,1995, İstanbul.

  3. Ario Ceccotti, ‘’CE49G.01 Ders Notları’’ Boğaziçi Üniversitesi,2019, İstanbul



About Author

​Furkan Gültekin. Civil Engineer, currently studying his Master's degree at Department of Earthquake Engineering at Bosphorus University, His main interests are seismic design of buildings, traditional and modern timber structural materials, and research and implementation of modern engineered timber products.

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