HABERLER NEWS NEWS
On 9th November 2021, Prof. Dr. Eleftheria Tsakanika, consultant of our project, participated in the panel “What can history teach us?” of Woodlife Symposium, a three-day digital joint venture seminar with examples from Sweden and Turkey. The symposium was organized by The Circle, a research and production platform for architecture, art, and culture and its aim was to bring together Turkish and Swedish counterparts to discuss and be inspired by wooden architecture, promote sustainability and establish a future broad network of professionals in this field.
Mrs. Tsakanika, presenting as a case study the Greek Orphanage, underlined the value of timber constructions as they are sustainable, green, and resistible to earthquakes. Thus, she expressed her belief that the responsible counterparts should always make an effort to preserve the wooden buildings. Moreover, she mentioned that timber constructions can be a unique source of information necessary for other or future constructions. Specifically for the landmark of Buyukada, she emphasized that its restoration will be of great importance not only because it will save and secure the existence of this unique construction, but also because it will contribute highly to the rescue and preservation of the exceptional, but vulnerable for many reasons, timber architectural heritage of the Prince Islands. This is because the process of restoration (studies and realization of the project), will provide the principles and the know-how to the local community and authorities, to researchers, professionals, and local craftsmen and will trigger the restoration not only of the wooden buildings of the islands, but of Istanbul and of timber buildings in general, which consist a very important part of the architectural heritage of Turkey, and Europe.
Prof. Dr. Oğuz Ceylan, architect and consultant of our project, presents the famous architect of the Orphanage, Alexandre Vallaury, his contributions to the field of architecture, and the works he brought to the city of İstanbul.
The video was prepared within the scope of the project "Discovering Yenikoy".
A new chapter for the Recovery of the Greek Orphanage has been opened! Having as a goal to set a strong base for the new efforts which have started, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orphanage restoration project team organized 2-day meetings with experts on conservation, restoration, and management from Turkey, Greece, Italy, and USA.
On 17th October 2021, the experts who traveled to Istanbul to participate in the meetings visited the Site and witnessed the severe damages that the building has gone through. They had also meetings with local authorities, Mr. Mustafa Ayhan, the district governor, and Mr. Erdem Gül, the mayor as well as local actors of the Greek community of the island, His Eminence Metropolitan Dimitrios while they had the opportunity to exchange views with them about the current situation of the building and their hopes for its future restoration.
On 18th October 2021, a meeting with an interdisciplinary character took place at the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the presence of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who welcomed the experts and informed them about the history of the Orphanage as well as about the efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to save the unique property. Mr. Laki Vingas, the coordinator of these efforts, gave a brief on the initiatives of the Greek Orphanage restoration project team, but also about the next essential steps in order to implement a sustainable and feasible project. An extensive discussion followed between the participants, who, each in his /her own field, presented their proposals for the necessary work and techniques to be followed for the rescue of the imposing wooden building complex.
During the meeting, the participants reached a consensus on the following:
-Urgent immediate actions for supporting the building should be taken in order to secure it.
-All the taken actions should reassure that the interventions will not cause further damages to the building.
-The future functions of the building should be hybrid ensuring the economic sustainability of the building.
-Setting a management and business plan is mandatory for the smooth implementation of the project.
-The creation of synergies with authorities and private entities is required.
-Applying for mid-size funding in order to support side activities that will promote the project.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the project team would like to thank once again all the participants who accepted our invitation and contributed greatly with their input to our efforts to bring back to Istanbul’s cultural life this monumental building.
Our team of consultants collaborates with BİMTAŞ having always as an aim to bring better results for the building. As priority has been set the necessary immediate measures.
Once again the biggest wooden building in Europe, a monument of great cultural and architectural importance, the Greek Orphanage came to the forefront on 27 August. But this time, the core of this event was not the past, the nostalgic perspective which reminds us how this building became the house of 5000 children and how it got abandoned after its closure in 1964. All the speakers of the event underlined the future of this iconic building.
Having as a goal to inform the wider audience about the ongoing process of building restoration, the Ecumenical Patriarchate invited experts, diplomats, representatives of NGOs and media while it hosted a series of speeches and a musical recital from the famous Greek composer Evanthia Rempoutsika. The Moderator of the event was the journalist Hakan Çelik who opened the event with his insightful remarks regarding the connection of this monument with the cultural heritage of the City. Laki Vingas, the restoration project coordinator, was the first speaker who summarized the actions taken for the restoration until now and stressed the need for the contribution of the state, the Patriarchate, local actors, and NGOs and their collaboration in order to keep this building alive and to bring it back to Istanbul cultural life. He also mentioned that in the very near future the Patriarchate will organize a meeting of experts and local actors with the aim to plan and exchange ideas regarding the future function of the building. Burçin Altınsay, the president of Europa Nostra Turkey was among the speakers. Mrs. Altınsay talked about the building as part of Europa Nostra’s list with the 7 most endangered cultural monuments and noticed that this monument is a great example of common cultural heritage. Afterward, Nazım Akkoyunlu, deputy manager of Bimtaş, the company which implemented the digital and survey drawing, gave a brief report of the results of their work. “A protective cover system and support elements should be placed in order to prevent the building from entering a demolition process,” he said.
Mr Halim Bulutoglu, president of the Princes’ Islands Foundation emphasized the efforts and the initiatives of the islands’ NGOs to protect and promote the islands’ cultural monuments as well as he proposed the idea of opening the Orphanage’s wider area as a center of cultural meetings which will attract the audience despite the final restoration of the building. Mayor of Princes’ Islands Mr Erdem Gül underlined also the importance of this building for the cultural life of the islands. Ahmet Demircan, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, explained that during his term as the Mayor of Beyoğlu, they worked to preserve the cultural richness of Istanbul and that they always saw religion, language, and cultural differences as a wealth. Therefore, he pointed out that this time will not be an exception and they will do their best to do their part to raise the building up.
Τhe final speech was made by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who once again referred to the cultural and architectural asset as a heritage that can be passed on to the future generations with the restoration. “Known all over the world for its architectural features, this building is also a monument to social solidarity, progressive education, altruism, and compassion” he remarked “It is the tangible and historical form of these spiritual values which we desperately need today”.
Following the speeches, the Greek composer Evanthia Rempoutsika and her fellow musicians closed the event with wonderful melodies.
We would like to thank all the actors who contributed to the smooth implementation of this event and all the friends of the Orphanage who accepted our invitation and participated with enthusiasm in this event.
You can watch the event here.
The paper can be found in the archive of our website.
The book includes the research deducted by Mr. Alper, who had an important archive about the historical building and site. The first confrontation with the building goes back to 1991. The relationship which Mehmet Alper and his team established and their ongoing commitment of responsibility and interest with the structure they have monitored over the years have continued with certain intervals until the present day. The main objective of this study is to share archives, documents, and information they have compiled over the years with the pertinent parties in order to speed up the conservation process. An attempt to access all types of documents was made while meticulously researching its architectural history, whereas the compiled data was evaluated in the historical process flow. This research was initiated with written/printed / online scanning of local and foreign sources that produced works pertaining to the orphanage. The architect and his team collaborated with many academicians and specialists who had written valuable articles and papers such as Akillas Millas, Berrin Alper, Çelik Gülersoy, Hakkι Göktürk, Oğuz Ceylan, etc and the General Manager of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, Edgar Vincent in order to access Ottoman documents and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Ataturk Library to acquire maps and postcards of the Prinkipo Orphanage. Therefore, this research is an important effort to save the Orphanage's cultural heritage and to convey it to the future with the proper work.
On Monday, 31.5.21, the team of BİMTAŞ, the company which undertook the survey and digital documentation research of the building, delivered the survey drawings and all the necessary documentation to the team of the “Protection and Restoration of Buyukada Greek Orphanage” project. The team visited BİMTAŞ’s offices and checked the drawings. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the team of BİMTAŞ managed to stay close to the initial deadlines and to provide us with a large amount of valuable information. We would like to thank each one of the technical team for all the effort and the enthusiasm with which the team handled the project. Our next step is to apply to the Preservation Board for the approval of these drawings in order to continue with the restitution and restoration of the building.
On 5.3.2021, His Excellency Mr. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Ambassador of the European Commission in Turkey, accompanied by the Deputy Head of Delegation Ms Eleftheria Pertzinidou, the Greek Ambassador Mr. Michalis Diamesis, the Political Adviser Ms Sema Kılıçer and the Press Officer of the European Commission in Turkey Ms Miray Akdağ, together with the Mayor of the Princes' Islands Mr. Erdem Gül and the Mayor of Maltepe Mr. Ali Kılıç, as well as CHP’s Eskişehir MP Mr. Utku Çakırözer, visited the building as part of the meeting program of the Ambassador in Istanbul. We briefed Mr Meyer-Landrut and the other attendees on the current state of the building and the steps being taken to restore it.