• The Architecture of the Eastern Question: Archival Materials on the History of the European Embassy Buildings in Istanbul, 1774-1919
    Paolo Girardelli

This project produces new insights and knowledge on the architectural history of the European embassies to the capital of the Ottoman empire. While during the classical Ottoman centuries (XVI to early XVIII) the official foreign residences in Istanbul were not diversified from the surrounding fabric, the period considered (1774-1919) witnessed dramatic geo-political and social changes that affected the appearance, visibility, location, uses and perceptions of these buildings. The research documents, assesses, and contextualizes the most challenging aspects of this historical process of change: the shift from Ottoman to western styles, or their co-existence; the increasing monumentality of these landmarks in relation to changing power balances; their representational quality in both 'national' and 'civilizational' sense; their role in giving to the district of diplomacy (Pera) the character of a Western enclave in an Islamic city.

Paolo Girardelli is an assistant professor in the Department of History of Boðaziçi (Bosphorus) University. He received his PhD in History and Criticism of Architecture at the University of Naples Federico II. His publications and graduate teaching focus on the multicultural dimension of architecture and urbanism in the Eastern Mediterranean during the late Ottoman period. In the academic year 2005-06 he was recipient of the Aga Khan Fellowship at MIT. His publications include Architecture, Identity and Liminality: On the Use and Meaning of Catholic Spaces in Late Ottoman Istanbul, Muqarnas, XXII, 2005, and Sheltering Diversity: Levantine Architecture in Late Ottoman Istanbul in Multicultural Urban Fabric and Architectural Types in the South and Eastern Mediterranean, edited by M. Cerasi, A. Petruccioli, A. Sarro, and S. Weber.