Claiming the Coast

Salt Beyoğlu

September 5 – November 16, 2014

Photo: Ekin Özbiçer (2013) Fotoğraf: Ekin Özbiçer (2013)
Photo: Ekin Özbiçer (2013)
The summer home: is the everyday name of urbanites’ temporary houses on the Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean coasts, together with the lifestyle that surrounds their getaways. These environments, which are in use for three months a year at most, have been in vogue as a form of vacationing for middle-class families in Turkey since the 1980s. Ever since then, popular coastal areas have quickly transformed from rural communities without running water, roads, telephone lines, or shops, into odd extensions of the city. People who had once simply decked out their summer homes with the tired furniture of their main residence began to tear up whatever they could to make everything new: rooms got bigger, kitchens spread out, and verandas covered the gardens. As the golden sand of beaches was replaced by the pebbles of construction sites, houses changed hands and housing developments became something altogether different.

Those who had enjoyed their first twenty years in one summer home, were quick to migrate to another less despoiled shoreline, where the coffee shops were not yet part of a chain, for their next twenty years of vacation. And, as summers roll by, every empty spot, in already overbuilt landscapes, fills up with new luxury residences.

SUMMER HOMES: Claiming the Coast explores summer homes as the cultural invention of a certain period, situating this phenomenon in its historical background in terms of geographical and social effects.

19th-century İstanbul was once the center for summer vacations, from the yalıs of the Bosphorus to the mansions on the islands, for members of the Ottoman court and ambassadors alike. The Marmara summer house served as the prototype for the later Aegean summer house. And it is important to note that, after the 1930s—when magazines of architecture and popular culture advertised and recommended detached summer homes—all of Turkey’s coastal land became linked to the decisions of the capital, Ankara. In the 1950s, when the government discovered and promoted the Aegean and the Mediterranean as a potential touristic destination, the era of summer housing developments began. All at once, building cooperatives began to spring up, as the value of living in a city became correlated to cooling down in the south during the summer. In order to realize the dream of having a summer house during this era, it was vital to work hand in glove with institutions in the capital that could turn coastal land into building plots. As the 1980s wore on, the scale of operations moved from the regional to the governmental, and as rights, laws, and planning were centralized, the coasts were regularly turned over to building and commercial activity.

Architects were active in every period of summer house development, but summer houses have never been the subject of comprehensive architectural research. İstanbul yalıs and island mansions can be found in contemporary sources, especially if their architects are known. But this is not the case with the numerous quality individual structures from the mid-20th century. Housing developments that replaced the ideal of a detached home in the 1970s were studied not in terms of their residential planning, but rather in terms of profiling their architects. Later when it became increasingly popular to build and sell summer homes, future predictions become common, especially those made by the Chamber of Architects, that housing developments would only continue to pile up at an unsustainable pace. The pressure being put on the coasts by cities goes beyond mere construction: it has turned into a way of making lifestyles everywhere the same, and architects are once again being invited to the coasts in order to produce brand-name projects. Imagining an infinite number of scenarios for the near future, from completely abandoned concrete ghost towns to laboratories that bottle up sunlight for northern Europeans, now is the time to look closely at the summer home phenomenon.

The architectural, legal, and literary research undertaken for SUMMER HOMES: Claiming the Coast takes shape within the exhibition in the form of written documents, drawings, photographs, films, models, and furnishings. The content has been assembled from numerous institutional archives, particularly SALT Research, and is supported by selections from private family archives, contemporary fieldwork, and work by artists.

The exhibition’s main subjects will be taken up in talks entitled “Coast,” “Home,” and “Light,” and explored in further detail in workshops organized by SALT Interpretation. Additionally, a program titled What Day Is It Today?— held in the Walk-in Cinema at SALT Beyoğlu—presents a feature-length film every Thursday for 10 weeks, with each film focusing on vacation homes in different geographical regions.

SUMMER HOMES: Claiming the Coast is generously supported by Kalebodur.

Supported by
Research: SALT / Meriç Öner and Alper Kurbak, Bahar Akgün
Dilşad Aladağ, Aslı Can, Melodi Dilan Gülbaba, Begüm Hamzaoğlu, Vasıf Kortun, Lorans Tanatar Baruh
Design: PATTU / Cem Kozar and Işıl Ünal
Ilgın Külekçi, Oya Çitci, Gizem Fidan, Gamze Özcan
Fieldwork: whatabout / Atıl Aggündüz and Dilşad Aladağ, Emirhan Altuner, Hayriye Avcı, Emine Mine Bora, Beste Çakır, Merve Dokumacı, Melodi Dilan Gülbaba, Serli Hobikoğlu, Cansu Kaçar, Meriç Musaoğlu, Öykü Özkurt, Esin Uçkun, Asya Ece Uzmay, Emre Üngör, Sena Yıldız, Yeşim Yılmaz
Contributions: Ekin Özbiçer, Ege Berensel, Cengiz Tanç, Simge Hough ve Burcu Kütükçüoğlu, Dilşad Anıl ve Özlem Tıpırdamaz
Architectural Model: Doty / Ömer Talha Yağcı, Dilan Çelik; Duran Taşdemir; Batuhan Esirger
Translations: Michael D. Sheridan, R. Aslıhan Aksoy-Sheridan
Archives: SALT Research, Ağa Han Architectural Awards Endowment, General Directorate of the Prime Ministerial State Archives of the Republic of Turkey, Archive of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Atatürk Library, the National Library of Turkey

Acknowledgements: Derya Açar Ergüç, Dilşad Aladağ, Zeynep Akan, Şeyda Arguner, Begüm Aydoğdu, Ufuk Barkman, Cengiz Bektaş, Umur Bugay, Aslı Can, Ceren Candemir, Emre Caner, Melek Celal Sofu, David Corradini, Nuray Coşan Temiz, Beste Çakır, Barış Çakmakçı, Işıl Çokuğraş, Tuğçe Çubukçuoğlu, Zafer Dargı, Nil Deniz, Zeliha Deniz, Altan Denizsel, Melisa Duran, Merve Elveren, Cemal Emden, Esen Emiroğlu, Aydan Ersoy, Öcal Ertüzün, Güneş Forta, Zeren Göktan, Ahmet Göktan, Emine Gönel, Melodi Dilan Gülbaba, Ersen Gürsel, İmre Hadi, Sevinç Hadi, Tülin Hadi, Anita-İzzet Saban, Füsun Karaman, Işık Kavalcı, Elif Kılıç, Zeynep Kılıç, Melisa Korkmaz, Neslihan Koyuncu, Cem Kozar, Yelta Köm, Ilgın Külekçi, Gülüm Kürkçü Şakar, Samim Magriso, Fulya Menderes, Alp Negri, Cansu Oranç, Alev Öner, Nilüfer Örel, Pelin Özgen, Deniz Pala, Nursel Paykal, November Paynter, Zeyno Pekünlü, Başak Sanaç Tanrıverdi, Selin Sevim, Eren Sevinçhan, Mutena Sezgin, Hale Sinirlioğlu, Evren Sönmez, Savaş Sönmez, Aslı Şahin Yılmaz, Elif Tan, Tuluy Tanç, Ali Taptık, Dilek Turan, Müge Tüfenk, Nazmi Ulutak, Derya Uzal, Işıl Ünal, Ece Üstün, Gül Yasa Aslıhan, Ayşegül Yürekli, Papatya Mobilya, YANDEX