A Contemporary and Competitive Architect: The Architectural Adventure of Affan Kırımlı

Affan Kırımlı’nın Mimarlık Serüveni


  • Gürkan Okumuş




Affan Kırımlı, Wilhelm Schütte, Modern Architecture, Competition Practice, Academy of Fine Arts


After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1946, architect Affan Kırımlı continued his career at the same institution as Arif Hikmet Holtay’s assistant. He has been among the active architects in the context of both competition projects and freelance architectural services since the late 40s, the first steps of the “International Style” approach in Turkey. Kırımlı continued his architectural productions until 2000, when he passed away. In addition to his architectural practices, Kırımlı, one of the founders of the Chamber of Architects, took part in the first board of directors of the organization. Kırımlı has won numerous awards and degrees from competitions that constitute an important part of his professional life. Kırımlı has been an important representative and manufacturer of Contemporary Turkish Architecture in regard of its design and applications. Having won awards in competitions of different scales and typologies such as health buildings, cultural centers, residences, and administrative buildings, Kırımlı produced architectural productions reflecting the characteristics of the period. In addition, he played an important role in bringing modern examples to the country as a result of being invited as a jury member. Adopting the identity of a “contemporary” and “competitive” architect until the end of his professional life, Affan Kırımlı has a modernist approach and authentic and basic architectural language.
This article focuses on the architectural productions of Affan Kırımlı, one of the productive and little-known actors of the twentieth century Turkish Modern Architecture. This study aims to present Kırımlı’s architectural projects with a comprehensive and detailed approach. In this research, the works of Kırımlı are examined over three periods (1946-1954), (1955-1966), (1967-1984). While defining the periods, both the periodical discourse in the article titled “Contemporary Architectural Movements in Turkey” by Kırımlı and socio-political, economic, legal, cultural and architectural changes and breaking points experienced on a national/international scale were utilized. In addition, in this periodical explanation, the architect’s professional carrier (the participation in the competition / jury membership / architectural practices), which started in 1946, when he graduated from the Academy, is interpreted in parallel with the architectural approaches of the period.
In this regard, the time span between 1946-54, which constitutes the first period of the research, with the end of World War II, a new era has begun for Turkish architecture. During the period that Kırımlı called “The Revival of the Contemporary Architecture Movement”, while the trend of modernity gradually increased, resistances against the conservatist architectural understanding took place. At the same time, during this period, Kırımlı, as a new graduate, won awards from architectural competitions and carried out first practices within the scope of modern architectural approach of the period. The years between 1955 and 1966, which Kırımlı defines as the “second period after the war”, is a nostalgic period in which longing for the past increases. Accordingly, the construction of the new and modern on a national scale is subject to some obstacles by legal means in this period. For this situation, Kırımlı states that the High Council of Monuments, which was established for the protection of ‘‘old’’, deviated from its purpose and was used to prevent the ‘‘new’’. During the period, while producing architecture within the framework of the modern approach, he was invited to be a jury member from many competitions. For the last period discussed in the research, the 17-years period between 1967-1984, Kırımlı states that “architectural competitions, which have an important role in the spread of contemporary approach, are gradually deteriorating”. He emphasizes that “Post-Modernist movement has emerged in our country, where the modern period has not yet been fully understood”. Consequently, the article aims to contribute to the literature by analyzing his works according to periodical explanation approach, and also carries out an architectural history reading by scrutinizing the Turkish Modern Architecture atmosphere in the second half of the twentieth century.