Ali Emrah Ünlü
M. Architect

Historical structures from past to today

When we look at the historical development of Beyoğlu, we see a rich settlement and a colorful life. This situation, though intermittently, also continues today. Therefore, a center with prominence in every period, is a city center that stands out in terms of architecture.

As architects specializing in the field of restoration, we do not only reveal the history of old buildings, its historicity, but at the same time we have to establish a proper and healthy connection with today’s life. At this point challenges come to surface. In other words, you will both protect both its history, its stone, its texture, its color and everything and meet the comfort conditions of today and the expectations of people.

A historical building can be a residence, a hotel, an arts center or a commercial center. While these are happening, very serious dilemmas are being experienced. Our task is to minimize these dilemmas and conflicts and ensure that a good product comes into existence. We are careful not to lose the memory of the city while providing this.

In the last 20 years in Beyoğlu, despite the negativities, we can say that there are positive efforts in preserving the historical city center. In my professional life, I have done many building projects in Beyoğlu both as project and as restoration application. I am a person who has completed the construction stages by making decisions together with the owners and users from researching the historicity of the work, to project creation and bureaucratic operations. I feel lucky for experiencing the dynamics in practice during the project phase, in other words, for having drawn a roadmap for myself in my professional life in which I have combined both project and application domain.

In 2010, our path crossed with Siska’s path in SALT Beyoğlu building, one of the important cultural structure Beyoğlu. We tried to produce a good outcome. I emphasize this in my projects; I would like the contractor to give respect and importance to the historical structure during the construction phases. Siska showed the necessary diligence, the project was completed and delivered on time.

We continue to be together with Siska in Sait Paşa and Kocataş mansions projects. Both mansions are very valuable in terms of location, importance and quality in the Bosphorus. We are the party that prepares, supervises and directs the project, Siska is our contractor. Our relationships have become more rooted and strong over the years and we have a harmonious relationship. I see that Siska employees feel the work in their heart. Sinan Kasımoğlu is a person who does his job passionately. He constructs, dismantles, rebuilds the building every night in his head the same way as the architect shoots the film of the work in his or her head. He is not just constructing the building, he is actually living it. This energy is reflected in his teamwork and the work done. This is the most important difference I see in Siska.

This understanding gains much more meaning in restoration structures. Our anticipation is meticulous and smooth work. This is valid for a new building, but it is much more prominent in the old building. Of course, it is not possible to restore it by completely traditional methods. If it is intended to protect buildings both outside and inside by providing engineering conditions such as earthquake safety, installation systems, historical buildings are both kept alive and well preserved in the real sense.