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From factory sites to university campuses: uses of industrial heritage in Turkey

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9:30 AM, Mercredi 31 Août 2022 (20 minutes)

The transformation of functions in industrial structures is supported by the public sector for cultural purposes, while the private sector supports it because of its economic benefits. Thus, there is a multidimensional process (Hume, 1987). Also, since until the end of the 19th century, structures were built according to permanence criteria, durability is prominent in these structures as a prominent feature. Industrial structures, in particular, are structures that inspire much more confidence than new structures. The reuse of these structures made using great labor, money, power, and materials make economic gains for the regions in which they are located (Robert, 1985). Besides, industrial structures are very difficult to protect as monuments, as they are large-scale structures. Therefore, they are used by converting them into functions with high economic returns. In addition to the original use of the structure, spatial, and physical properties are taken into account when giving new functions. (Föhl, 1995).
Since the 1980s, the Republic of Turkey has started to implement a number of privatization moves as a requirement of neoliberal policies. After becoming idle, industrial buildings located in some of the public industrial areas were sold to private institutions or individuals due to their high economic and social return and turned into campuses where the university buildings were located.
Some large industrial buildings, now repurposed as university buildings, underwent some changes in their interiors, as they were installed as production functions during the periods when they were used as factories, and materials belonging to the old technology were used as museum objects. As a result of cultural heritage functionality, these buildings, whose outer shell remains the same, have features that can meet new requirements since they are located in urban centers. Because they are socially and culturally valuable throughout the city and are historically and economically valuable, they are intended to be revived and strengthened, not directly destroyed, and to provide functions appropriate to the current context for new uses. In summary, these requalified structures have become campuses that are in constant visual and physical interaction with the user, rather than being a shell of spaces that, like museums, exhibit only their originality and are added for the new function.
This paper will be an analysis of the industrial sites that functioned as production areas for decades before being designed as new university buildings. Examples as Istanbul Bilgi University, Yaşar University, Kadir Has University, Abdullah Gül University, and Kapadokya University buildings and other similar industrial structures' plans, sections, and materials will be analyzed. Information on the transformation of some facilities on the campuses of the universities mentioned will be given. The processes of re-functioning of buildings built for purposes such as factories or power plants in the past, conservation or restoring registered of these buildings, will be explained.
In addition, the interior spaces in these buildings mentioned the transformation of the space setup in line with various usage purposes such as an exhibition hall, workshop, or architectural studio had been shown. For example, Silahtarağa Power Station, which electric power production site in the past, operates as Istanbul Bilgi University today. ‘Kömürlük’ (coal bunker) in this station was converted into classrooms, and ‘Kazan Daireleri’ (boiler rooms) were converted into places such as libraries and lecture halls. For this reason, the places that were designed for the machines brought for commodity production in the past have become eye-opening venues that offer different user experiences, unlike the standardized classroom types due to both their size and function after architectural modernism. As a result, some of the materials left from the production lines in the buildings used for factory purposes were exhibited in the university museum as cultural heritage items in the same facilities, the identity of the university in these areas became more visible, and these campuses have become socio-cultural centers with high interaction for city residents too and increasing publicity.
In addition, in this paper, the dialectic of "universitization" (how to be much more university shaped, according to users' sayings) and spatialization will be explained through the transfers obtained from the spatial experiences of campus users. The question and process of how these campuses become universities, unlike former industrial areas that have been converted into residential or shopping centers, will be examined and discussed under the theme ‘uses and aims of heritage’. The construction technology, materials, and architectural approaches of the period in which the buildings were designed will be analyzed and in line with the outputs obtained from their answers to the semi-structured interviews will be held with students of the relevant universities and a literature review of industrial heritage to take advantage of the user experience for venue analysis.


Ali Fırat Güvenç


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