Büşra Dilaveroğlu



Architecture of Forgetting

The Presidential Symphony Orchestra Building in Istanbul

On 23 September1980, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a law establishing the AtatürkCultural Centre. This law aimed to create a building that would highlight and perpetuate the significance of the Turkish Revolution in both Turkish and global history. The building to be designed was intended to emphasise various aspects, including the scale of the revolution, its unifying role, nationalism, secularism, educational principles, Atatürk’s leadership in national independence movements, his world view, his commitment to humanistic values and his advocacy for peace. Therefore, the building was expected to carry the symbolic significance of the revolution, serving as a monument to it and preserving the memory of the revolution. Nevertheless, all of this was envisioned on a completely blank canvas.

In May 1992, the Ministry of Public Affairs released a brief for a design competition. This brief outlined the competition’s goals and described the functional aspects of the construction area, which covered 39,076 square metres. It was indicated that urban planning would be determined after the competition, based on the jury’s assessment of suitable urban and parcelling conditions. 

Architecture’s role as a powerful force shaping societies and collective memory due to its materiality is well-established. However, perceiving it as a dynamic tapestry encompassing both remembering and forgetting and as a dialectical mediator of memory is often overlooked.

Therefore, the primary objective of this study isto fill the existing gap in our understanding of the intricate relationship between memory, amnesia and the agency of architecture in shaping memories in terms of the proposed building. This study seeks to establish a framework in the context of architectural-spatial politics and architecture’s agency on amnesty around the controversies of the PresidentialSymphony Orchestra Building during that period.




No items found.


No items found.



No items found.
No items found.
Ines Weizman