NINETEENTH CENTURY IZMIR HOUSES AS 'MODERN': FORMAL AND CONCEPTUAL OVERLAPPINGS
Examination of the formal characteristics of an architectural product is not adequate when one is face-to-face with modernity. Especially products of alternative modernities require one to see through the concepts that are distinctive in the field of housing. These are commodification, standardization, mass production, pervasiveness, and reflectivity. Evaluation of existing building stock within the constructed framework in line with these concepts helps both to identify and to depict 'alternative modernities' and to acquire original innovation peculiar to a specific history and geography. This article focuses on the building typology that appeared in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in Izmir. While identifying the local factors and characteristics that shaped 'the house', it argues that the nineteenth Century Izmir house can be categorized as 'modern'. Current academic literature includes the nineteenth century Izmir houses in the category of vernacular architecture peculiar to a region, such as Chios Houses or Ruin Houses. A typical Izmir house has two floors, organized around two axis, of which one is narrow and the other is large. The upper floor is symmetrical, only having the oriel (cumba) as an additional feature. These row houses, consisting of three parts, the main part, the courtyard and the service part, were produced in the city as an alternative version on a theme depending on the certain physical and social factors. Increasing housing demand, the construction experience obtained from large scale public investigations, the stylistic interaction from suburban mansions, the use of mass produced and/or imported building materials, the existing construction methods, can all be considered among these factors, which are also related to priviledged location and status of Izmir in the Empire geography. Although it is possible to note that these houses resemble the terraced houses of the same period in England when the plan organization and building layout is considered, Izmir houses are applications of original solutions to specific problems and unique conditions of the period from 1875 and 1911, and deserve to be labeled as 'modern'.