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Mimar Kemaleddin Bey

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Title: Mimar Kemaleddin Bey  
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Subject: 1927 in architecture, İlhan Mimaroğlu, Architecture of Turkey, Ankara Palas
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Mimar Kemaleddin Bey

Mimar Kemaleddin
Ahmet Kemaleddin
Mimar Kemaleddin
Born 1870
Acıbadem, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Died July 13, 1927
Ankara, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Alma mater Hendese-i Mülkiye Mektebi)
Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg
Buildings Tayyare Apartments,
Ankara Palas

Ahmet Kemaleddin (1870-July 13, 1927), widely known as Mimar Kemaleddin, was a renowned Turkish architect of the very late period of the Ottoman architecture and the early years of the newly established Republic. "Mimar" is the Turkish word for architect.

Early years

Ahmet Kemaleddin was born 1870 in a middle-class family to Ali Bey, a naval captain, and his wife Sadberk Hanım at Acıbadem neighborhood of Kadıköy district in Istanbul. In 1875, he began with his primary education at "İbrahim Ağa İbtidai Mektebi". He continued his secondary education in 1881 on Crete (then part of the Ottoman Empire) due to his father's assignment. Returned soon after to Istanbul, he finished the high school.[1]

In 1887 at the age of 17, he entered School of Civil Engineering (Ottoman Turkish: Hendese-i Mülkiye Mektebi, today's Istanbul Technical University). Ahmet Kemaleddin graduated as an engineer with honors in 1891. He then remained at his alma mater and worked as an assistant for four years. During this time, he created his own works in his office he had opened outside the university.[1]

In 1895, promoted by his scholar German architect August Jachmund, designer of the Sirkeci Railway Terminal in Istanbul, and supported by a state scholarship, he went to Germany, where he was educated two years in architecture at the Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg in Berlin. Afterwards, he worked two-and-half years in various architecture offices gaining professional experience.[1]

In 1900, Ahmet Kemaleddin returned home and resumed work at the university. Following the leaving of August Jachmund, he assumed his post as lecturer. In 1908, he played a pioneering role in the formation of the first vocational organization for engineers and architects in the Ottoman Empire, the "Society of Ottoman Architects and Engineers".[1][2]


After the proclamaition of the Second Constitutional Monarchy in 1908, Ahmet Kemaleddin Bey was appointed director of the Construction and Restoration Department at the Ministry of Foundations (Ottoman Turkish: Evkaf Nezareti).[1][2]

He designed four railway stations for the Oriental Railway Company. For his successful work at the construction of Plovdiv Central railway station, he was tasked with the design of railway stations of Thessaloniki and Edirne. At the railway station of Thessaloniki, only the foundations were completed. The railway station of Edirne could be completed in 1914.[3]

In 1908, he built a girls' high school in Edirne, which went 1910 in education. He was invited by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to carry out restoration work on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He accepted the invitation and went to Jerusalem, which had came under British Mandate from Ottoman Empire after World War I. He stayed there a while. For his successful restoration work, Mimar Kemaleddin Bey was awarded with honorific membership by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).[2][4] After returning home, he focused his works on buildings in Ankara, the new capital of the Republic.[1][5]

As one of the pioneers of the Turkish national architectural movement, Mimar Kemaleddin Bey was inspired by the Ottoman classical architecture, and tried to create a new style by combining the distinct features of German and Ottoman architecture. He rendered the characteristics of Ottoman and Islamic structures so that they reflect the Turkish national identity. He put arches, copings and tiles on the facade of his buildings in foreground, emphasized symmetry and highlighted conventional style with turrets and cornices.[1]


Ahmet Kemaleddin died on July 13, 1927, in Ankara at the building site of Ankara Palas as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage, at the age of 57. His corpse was transferred to Istanbul, and was laid to rest at the Karacaahmet Cemetery. Some years later, without the knowledge of his family his grave was moved to the graveyard of Bayezid II Mosque, due to the construction of a road between Kadıköy and Üsküdar, which went through the cemetery on the spot of his grave. Reburried at the new site without a headstone, his grave was discovered in the 1990s. In 2007, his burial place was restored. He was survived by his wife Sabiha and son İlhan Mimaroğlu, who became a renowned composer.[2][5][6]

Notable works

He designed among others the Tayyare Apartments, built between 1919-1922 in Istanbul, which were redeveloped in 1985 into luxury hotel premises.[7] His another work Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han was converted into a five-star World Park Hotel.[8]

Notable works of him include:[2]

  • Eyüp Anadolu High School, Istanbul
  • Çapa Anadolu Teachers' High School, Istanbul
  • Şemsi Pasha Primary School
  • Çamlıca Girls' High School
  • Bostancı Mosque, Istanbul
  • Yeşilköy Mosque, Istanbul
  • Reşadiye School (today's Eyüp Middle School), Istanbul
  • Tomb of Sultan Reshad
  • Tomb of Gazi Osman Pasha
  • Tomb of Mahmud Shevket Pasha
  • Tomb of Ali Rıza Pasha
  • Tomb of Hüsnü Pasha
  • Restoration of Fethiye Mosque[9] and Sinan Pasha Madrasa
  • Bandırma Haydar Çavuş Mosque
  • Main building of Gazi University, Ankara
  • Tomb of Ahmed Cevad Pasha, Istanbul (1901)
  • Plovdiv Central Station (1908)
  • Kamer Hatun Mosque, Beyoğlu, Istanbul (1911)
  • Bebek Mosque, Istanbul (1913)
  • Library of Istanbul University's Faculty of Letters (1913)
  • Restoration of Edirne Railway Station (1914)
  • Istanbul 1st Vakıf Han (1918)
  • Tayyare Apartments, Istanbul (1922)
  • Projecting of restoration work for Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem (1925)[4]
  • Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han (1926)
  • Completion of Ankara Palas (Project started by Vedat Tek) (1927)
  • Ankara 2nd Vakıf Han (1927)
  • Main building of Turkish State Railways, Ankara (1928)
  • Gazi Institut of Education, Ankara (1930)
  • Ankara Evkaf Apartment (died during its construction)


  • A street across Sirkeci Railway Terminal and crossing Hamidiye Cad., on which his masterpiece Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han situated, is named in honor of him.
  • On 2009, a new series of Turkish lira banknotes went into circulation. The reverse side of the 20-lira banknote depicts Mimar Kemaleddin, together with one of his major works, the rectorate building of Gazi University in Ankara.


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