Spatial Formation of Modern Ideology: Ankara Casinos Between 1923 and 1960

1923-60 Yılları Arası Ankara Gazinoları


  • Başak Lale
  • Duygu Koca



Ankara, Family Casinos, Entertainment, Republican Period, Eating-Drinking-Dressing Manners


The proclamation of the Republic in Turkey, as in many other areas, is the basis of the modernization process of social life. The change of the entertainment life in everyday life practices was introduced to the public through the spaces bearing the traces of the idea of modernization and the teachings of contemporary life established in these spaces. Casino entertainment venues can be references to this architectural production. “Casinos that operated between 1923-90 went through a process of formation from 1923 to 1960, experienced the “golden age” between 1960-80, and their frequency of use decreased between 1980-90 and they disappeared in the 2000s.”
The spaces of the casinos, the first examples of which appeared in Istanbul and then spread all over the country, have undergone an original formation process in the capital of the Republic. The casino structures built during the planning period of Ankara, have been qualified as original architectural structures in terms of both their location in the new plan and their spatial fiction. In parallel with this fiction, they are mediums where modern social practices were presented in a bilateral way for their periods with their understanding of entertainment. In this direction, the purpose of the study is to list the casinos that started their business in Ankara in the formation period between 1923-60, to analyze their location in the city plan, and to examine the spatial and socio-cultural formation in detail through specific examples. The socio-cultural dimension of casino entertainment venues is that they serve as schools where modern life is taught to the public in their period. In addition to the formal analysis, the examination of the social life in casinos also allows us to analyze how collective memory can be created through the ideology of the new republic.
Throughout the process of the study, it was determined that conventional archives contain only information on specific cases previously studied; however, in these archives, the unpopular structures found relatively less space in the media compared with previous structures. In this direction, another purpose of the study is to contribute to the current literature by listing and analyzing casinos that were not been listed and analyzed in advance.
In the study, first, the environment formed in the final periods of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the Republic was analyzed in terms of changes in entertainment practices. Then, the social segregation experienced after the republic and the formation of casinos as examples of entertainment venues produced by this segregation was discussed in the capital. In the next step, the family casinos that started their activities in Ankara during 1923-60 (the era of the formation of casinos) and whose information is available from archival documents were listed with their addresses and the opening / closing dates. Among the casinos listed, 7 (seven) examples that took part in the social life of people for a long time and frequently appeared in periodicals during the period were selected for detailed study. Casino reviews were conducted by obtaining information from photographs, posters, or advertisements available from the archives, as well as studies in the current literature. The analysis of the cases selected for the study was completed formally and contextually in the sense of the understanding offered.
As a result of the analysis, it can be said that the selected structures bear the characteristics of the newly created management ideology, both spatially and intellectually, in terms of the relationship between indoor and outdoor space, architectural features, and their use as elite entertainment venues. Casinos located primarily in the areas of Atatürk Forest Farm, Gençlik Parkı were planned together with their surrounding environment. The buildings were designed not only to create a closed mass but also to interact with their surrounding environment; thus structures could be used at all seasons with an open area.
These structures, which support the architectural formation with a socio-cultural base as the spatial counterpart of the administrative ideology, also draw attention to a subject that is gradually losing its importance today. The projects of the examined places, taking into account the city plan and the green/water combination, are the product of a different idea than the socialization places that are currently stuck on unplanned high floors in the city. In addition, these spaces, the majority of which were solved together with both indoor and outdoor spaces, allowed the citizens to spend time quietly and intertwined with nature at a daily pace, to experience and learn new habits here. Nowadays, the formation of entertainment venues operated with the criterion of income generation, which has become a standard priority in building production, is constantly being transformed by the rapid change of popular culture. Although the spaces considered present the original spatial integrity of their periods, their discourses go beyond the age.





Derived from Postgraduate Studies