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SPACE, PRACTICE, MEMORY: the transformations of the houses in Kula, a town in Anatolia

SPACE, PRACTICE, MEMORY: the transformations of the houses in Kula, a town in Anatolia
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    Proceedings, 6  th  International Space Syntax Symposium, İ  stanbul, 2007    SPACE, PRACTICE, MEMORY: the transformations of the houses in Kula, a town in Anatolia 060 Ela Çil Department of Architecture, Yildiz Technical University  Abstract This paper presents the transformation of the domestic space in Kula by comparing houses built in different periods in order to trace the ‘enduring’ and ‘altered’ typologies of habitations. Kula is a small preserved Ottoman town in Aegean Anatolia (Turkey) with houses dating from the late 18 th  Century to the present. The theoretical point of departure for the paper is that the house is the physical framework of a household’s everyday life, a manifestation of taste and identity, and a site of performance. The analysis includes comparison of the changes in the typological and syntactic qualities of these transformed spaces. Hitherto scholars interpreted the transformations of house types in similar contexts distinguished two syntactic types: ‘extroverted’ and ‘introverted’. The analyses included in this paper by juxtaposing syntax analysis, material culture, and ethnography of space introduces mid-core houses, an additional syntactic type with hybrid morphological characteristics, dominating the analyzed examples and existing side-by-side with deep- and shallow-core types. The existence of mid-core type together with the disjunction between the morphology of space and its use reflect the negotiations made between the functional and symbolic needs in the domestic spaces.  Analyzing how these houses have been transformed from their old Ottoman typology to one influenced by European taste, and then later, how they were altered to accommodate social and economic changes in Kula; one can see the hybridity of the house forms. The intention of naming the old house as the Ottoman house is not to contribute to the former studies by presenting examples from Kula. The aim is to delineate the Ottoman House as a dwelling type pointing to the earliest period that can be observed and from where the transformations in the home spaces began in the town. Starting in the 1950s, these houses were subdivided among family members who had previously lived under the same roof in extended family households. In some cases, houses were semi-abandoned and new dwellings were built in courtyards. Introduction When compared to several small towns in the Aegean region, and even in Anatolia, the story of the historical, economic transformation of Kula is not unique. The physical intactness of Kula, however, Keywords:   Kula Vernacular domestic space Spatial practice Transformation of the house typesSyntax analysis Ela Çil Department of Architecture Yildiz Technical University 34349 Besiktas, Istanbul  Çil; Space, Practice, Memory: The Transformations of the Houses in Kula, a Town in Anatolia Proceedings, 6  th  International Space Syntax Symposium, İ  stanbul, 2007   060-02 separates it from many other towns in the region. Its peripheral status after the construction of the railroad and non-damaged condition after the 1922 War resulted with a relatively slower spatial transformation of the town. As a consequence, Kula became one of the spatial manifestations of the 19 th  century Ottoman townscape. And eventually in 1978, Kula was declared as a site of cultural and historical heritage by the Turkish Ministry of Culture (Akin et. al., 1992). The aim of this paper is to compare the houses built in different periods in Kula. The comparison includes the morphological and syntactic qualities of the houses as well as their everyday use in the last quarter of the 20 th  Century. In doing so, the previous work on the same transformation era in different places is complemented with a hybrid type, both in terms of typology and syntax, as well as with everyday use of these houses. Scholars have interpreted the transformations of house types in similar contexts as ‘extroverted’ and ‘introverted’ or ‘innovative’ and ‘conservative’ (Orhun, Hillier, and Hanson, 1995 and 1996; Dursun and Saglamer 2003; Toker and Toker, 2003). Introducing the dual concept, Orhun, Hillier, and Hanson analyzed some examples of the Ottoman House surveyed by Eldem, in terms of the depth of the integrated spaces within the whole house syntax when considered from the exterior. (1996) According to them, there have been two distinct underlying spatial cultures built into the configuration of the Ottoman House revealed by the integrated cores located either at the deep end or the shallow end in the syntax graphs. Deep-core type was identified with an introverted life-style and possibly a conservative social system. Shallow-core type was identified with an extroverted life-style and a social structure more open to outside influences. Parallel to this argument, Dogan Kuban’s interpretation of such transformation is grounded on the observation that the house was changed from the one facing the courtyard through the hayat to the one opening onto the street in all-possible directions. (1995: 68) Thus, Kuban defines extrovertedness based on the building facing the street instead of the courtyard. However, when different layers of the everyday life are considered, such as the form and syntax of the domestic space and the spatial practice within these spaces, richer and more complex relationships between the formal aspects of spaces and the society that inhabits them are revealed. Hence, the objective in comparing the houses in Kula is to present sociology of the domestic space that does not fit into previously suggested sharp categorizations and sequential/orderly transformations. It, in fact, reveals a hybridity of configurations consisting different layers of form and practice. Additionally, focusing on the house as a juxtaposition of different layers, such as the physical framework of a household’s everyday life, a manifestation of taste and identity, and a site of performance, presents the discrepancies and consistencies between what spaces are and how they are used. The fact that many houses actually fit in between typologies rather than in exact or narrowly defined categories, indicates the endurance of old habits in new houses. As it will be presented in the following pages, the sixty studied houses in Kula categorized according to different types mostly present a mid-cored syntax. These houses have a configuration made up of what Clifford Geertz terms the “borrowed fragments of modernity and exhausted relics of tradition.”(1983: 58) Based on this observation, it is possible to argue that the transformations made in a house may not only mean the transformation of a society from an introverted life-style to an extroverted one. It can also just mean replacing the old with the new,  Çil; Space, Practice, Memory: The Transformations of the Houses in Kula, a Town in Anatolia Proceedings, 6  th  International Space Syntax Symposium, İ  stanbul, 2007   060-03 in order to manifest a different taste and identity that are associated with a better, higher life-style. In Kula, being able to bring the ‘new,’ both new plan schemes and foreign building materials, into the ‘local’ or the ‘traditional’ has been thought to be equivalent to a good taste. The paper develops in the following three parts. The first part includes the categorization of the houses according to the configuration of the spaces in the compound and within the house. In order to better explain the types, a case belonging to each category is described. The second part is the syntax analysis of these houses focusing on the transformation of the most integrated spaces and the depth of the integration cores. In addition to deep-core and shallow-core configurations, most of the cases in Kula suggest an emergent mid-core configuration. The last part of the paper is a discussion on the findings and on the comparison of the syntax, form, and current use of the houses. Current House Types in Preserved Kula The houses can be distinguished in three categories: •  The first is the Ottoman House or the Old House, which exemplifies the oldest house type known in Kula, some of which can be dated back to the late 18 th  century. •  The second category can be titled ‘Westernized Style House’. The houses in this category did not appear in Kula before the mid-19 th  century and because of their certain morphological characteristics connected with the social structure in town, they have commonly been identified as the “ Rum style ”. The Westernized Style House includes types that have one entrance door directly opening into the house together with the hybrid types where the door entering the courtyard is still actively used. •  The third category includes the house-type created by the adaptations of the inhabitants into the above mentioned houses after the second half of the 20 th  Century. The spatial practices for these adaptations include subdivisions and additions in the courtyards of the old compounds. In addition, there are houses which have been built relatively recently (before the preservation rules were legally imposed in 1978) on the plot of the old houses which were demolished due to the lack of maintenance or decomposition. The relationship between the façade, the section, and the plan represent the logic of the composition of the houses within these categories. The comparison of this relationship, the morphological and typological analysis, together with the syntax analysis of the houses reveals the consistencies and discrepancies between the form, use, and syntax of the houses. The categorizations were made by distinguishing those houses which display transformations in plan, section, and elevation. The overlaps among categories usually occurred when there was a change in the elevation of a house but not in its plan, or when the section of a house fit exactly into one category but the morphological characteristics of its plans could represent another. Especially the hybrid type occurs due to the co-existence of characteristics which have been commonly acknowledged as the representative of distinct types belonging to different contexts.  Çil; Space, Practice, Memory: The Transformations of the Houses in Kula, a Town in Anatolia Proceedings, 6  th  International Space Syntax Symposium, İ  stanbul, 2007   060-04 The Old House / The Ottoman House So much has already been written on the various aspects of the Ottoman House: on its morphology, structure, aesthetics, and the lifestyle it reflects. (Arel 1982; Kucukerman 1985; Eldem, 1986; Kuban, 1995; Tanyeli, 1997; and Ireland and Bechoefer, 2001). (Type A in Table 3 and Table 4.) In each of its variations, the Ottoman house compound was comprised of three units: a two- or three-storey building (the living quarter/house); a courtyard; and a service quarter, usually a one-story building consisting of the kitchen and the toilet. The ground floor of the building was dedicated to storage rooms for the utensils, to the granary or the pantry. The upper floors were the living quarters, connected to the courtyard with a staircase. They consisted of rooms usually identical in size and a hayat   [1] (gallery/balcony-like space). In some cases, the ground floor also included some rooms for living, and in these variations, the floor was raised from the ground level and a basement was added as the storage space. The two striking aspects of the Ottoman House were the courtyard and the hayat  . Courtyard was both like a large, open room for the activities of the household and it was also the edge space between the compound and the outside; through the wall of the courtyard, the household and the visitors could move in and out of the compound. The hayat   was more than a circulation area between the rooms and the staircase; it was a semi-open multi-functional living space on the upper floors. With its strong visual connection to the courtyard and to its natural setting as well as to the rest of the town, hayat   was a unique part of the Ottoman House. (Bing, 1997) Figure 1:    A schematic typology of the Ottoman and the Westernized Style Houses  Çil; Space, Practice, Memory: The Transformations of the Houses in Kula, a Town in Anatolia Proceedings, 6  th  International Space Syntax Symposium, İ  stanbul, 2007   060-05 The westernized style house The admired examples of the Westernized house-type (the inner and the central-hall type) appear first in Istanbul. Especially, the Rum  community in Phanar (Fener) was the most influential in introducing this new taste to the Muslim elite in Istanbul and disseminating the new style of material culture into Istanbul society (Gocek, 1987: 125-128). Like the Rum  community in Istanbul settled in Phanar, the Rum  community in Kula was also the agent of such transformation. Their connections with the wider and the upper sections of the society in general (the European tradesmen, the other elite minorities in the region, and the Muslim elite – aghas - in Kula) caused them to gain a prominent status in the social dynamics of the town. They manifested their prominent role in the social and economic life of Kula by using the material culture, especially houses, as the expressions of their ability, achievements, and difference. The façade of the house is a plane instead of having two levels of depth occurring because of the floors with their own volumetric integrity. In addition, most of the façades have an exaggerated stonewall look. The look of these walls gives the impression that the house was sounder and more durable. In this type, the courtyard is not the center of activities although it is still included in the plan, but the new house configuration definitely reflects some other concerns. The interesting feature of this house is the continuation of the emphasis given to the storage spaces. On the one hand, the courtyard loses its location as the primary space in welcoming the dwellers and the visitors deferring its priority to the hall inside the house; on the other hand, the ground floor, all of which is used as the storage space as in the old Ottoman House type, is given a separate entrance. This suggests that when the courtyard, the domestic space of production loses its importance in everyday life and gains a location at the back of the house similar to the back gardens of the contemporary houses, the storage spaces do not lose their priority in the house plan, and as a matter of fact, they gain more significance with their direct connections to the street. (Type G in Table 3 and Table 4.) The most telling example of the changes in the hierarchy of entrances is the house known as the Architect Kri’s house. This house resembles many other examples built in Izmir and in the other Aegean towns in early twentieth Century. The entrance to the house comes after the marble staircase and it leads to the longitudinal hall. Expect for one room, all of the five rooms are aligned on the two sides of the hall and they are connected to one another. The kitchen and the toilet are inside the house, located at the end of another hallway. This separate hallway actually houses a staircase that goes down to the ground floor and up to the second floor, which is unfinished. Figure 2:    An exterior photograph and  plans of the so-called  Architect Kri’s House in the town; it is a telling example of the Westernized Houses in Kula
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