Project Name: Semih Rustem Commercial Center 
Client: Toprak İnşaat  Project Starting Date: 2006  Completion Date: 2012  Construction Area: 14.600m²  Location: Adana, Turkey  Awards: Turkish Association of Architects in Private Practice / Construction Award 2012, Arkitera Architecture Center / ArkiPARC Real Estate Award 2013 

The project owes its title to two small houses which have existed on the building site, both designed and built in the 1930's by the same architect, Semih Rüstem Temel.

In the 30s Adana witnessed an urban development starting from the old historic center towards north where the railway station was built in the earlier years. The İstasyon Street has constituted the main axis of this development, new houses of whealty families and new public buildings being located on it. The two houses of the architect Semih Rüstem was also built on the same axis like the new "Maison du Peuple" building designed by his fellow Seyfi Arkan, the leading figure of the modernist architecture of his time. In these years the İstasyon Street which later became the Atatürk Street was the showcase of the modern urban life of Adana as well as of the modernist architectural expression of the Early Republican modernism. Following the sixties this picture will change, most of these early modern buildings will be demolished together with older ones and multi storey development will be the dominant pattern.

During this process the ownership of both villas have also changed and new owners have brought alterations to the original design. Besides this the 1998 earthquake brought structural deteriorations, one of the villa has been abandoned. A development which has changed this decay process has been the listing of both houses as cultural property in 2004 and the purchaising of them in 2006 by the investors who developed the new project. Folowing this development design works have started.

The project has aimed to restore the two houses, to built a new complex on the plot surrounding them and to integrate to the existing. The two new reinforced concrete and glass blocks constitute a visual background to the smaller structures. Transparent surfaces are protected by either sliding vertical panels or horizontal land metallic sum control elements. A shaded courtyard takes place between these four blocks the existing and the new. onesSmall glass pavillions, wintergarden cafe spaces are located in the courtyard and realize a scale relation between the new higher and smaller old blocks.

The architectural forms of the new glazed blocks are similar but with slight changes as those of the older houses are. Differences between horizontal and vertical lines, between angular and curved edges, profiles and detail variations of the new architecture correspond to those of the existing houses. However, these references are not based on formal imitations but rather on conceptual metaphors. The original construction details of the restorated houses are conserved, some mechanical systems such as sliding metallic window frames have carefully been restored. Two new high blocks designed by the same team in 2000s have been integrated to two smaller buildings designed eighty years ago by the same architect meet atound a shaded courtyard in the warm climate of a Mediterranean city, Adana.

An old palm tree existing on the site was also preserved; it has been re-planted in its new place in the courtyard space, constituting the main element of the landscape.


Design Team: Atilla Yücel, Cem Yücel, Mehmet Toprak Project Team: Aslı Can, Evren Şerbetçi, Emre Aydilek Structural Engineer: Serdar Nemili, Bilgin Kış Mechanical Engineer: Ahmet T. Dörtdemir Electrical Engineer: Hıdır Bahçe Photography: Cemal Emden