Rhetorical construction in the textual representation of architecture: Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî [Mimarligin metinsel temsilinde retorik insa: Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî]

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Middle East Technical University

Erişim Hakkı



This article focuses on the book titled Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî. This book is the first text produced on the history and theory of Ottoman architecture, drawn up by foreign authors commissioned by Ottomans, for the International Vienna Exhibition. This article reviews the text within the methodological framework based on the deep-seated theoretical studies on "rhetoric" (the art of discourse) and re-reads of Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî published in 1873 as the first attempt to develop a discourse on architecture writing and architectural theory. The primary objective of the study is to present a textual section of architecture in a specific period of Ottoman history. The study sheds light onto the cognitive world of Ottomans, which usually remains incomprehensible in texts concerning identity, politics, power relations, institutional constructions, culture, art and identity. However, it not only reveals the intellectual stance of the Ottoman Empire in 19th century, but also provides a reinterpretation en masse, of Ottoman writings. In this analysis of architectural discourse, which takes rhetoric as understanding, differentiating and disclosing meaning, the study makes use of important canons of rhetoric. To expound on Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî necessitates to be immersed in a history-writing venture, which outstretches from political history to art history, from architecture to architectural history. Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî deserves to be read, re-read and produced for being the first text on identity discourses, a first and experimental search on Ottoman order styles, a trial on coupling cultural identity and architecture and for its revelations on architectural writing.


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Ottoman architecture, Re-reading, Rhetoric, Theory, Usûl-i Mi'mârî-i Osmanî


Metu Journal of the Faculty of Architecture

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