Turgut Cansever has practiced architecture in Turkey since 1946. Trained in Turkey, he developed a conceptual approach based on a search for regional expression in architecture. Among his best known projects are the Anatolian Club Hotel (1951-1956) and the Demir Holiday Village in Bodrum (1971). As a planner, Cansever has headed projects in Istanbul on preservation and restoration, pedestrian zoning, and metropolitan development.
(Source: Architcture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Millerton, NY: Aperture. 1983.)
Ottoman residential architecture, with roots dating back to the fifteenth century, was the point of departure for the design of the Atac summer residence, in a deliberate attempt to restore regional values in contemporary architectural expression. Design studies began in 1983, when the urban plan for the area was yet to be approved. Subsequent negotiations, lasting almost two years clarified the position of the Municipality toward the site and established a detailed client brief. Construction work was administered by Feyza Cansever and supervised by Turgut Cansever.
In concept, the house was designed from the upper level toward the ground floor level. A light timber structure rests independently on two lower levels, providing a visually lighter upper level which offers views in all directions. The basement level, built from stone, harmonises with the topography of the site, forms a plinth and provides the necessary rigidity to counteract seismic movement. Each level has its own living area, which allows privacy for family or other invited guests. In plan, a square structural module is adapted to distinguish vertical circulation. This is particularly apparent at the ground floor entry level. This structural articulation is clearly expressed on the side facades where the timber weather-boarding of the outer skin is interrupted by concrete pilasters. The square-plan corner modules are expressed externally by means of projecting balconies. Walls are protected from the penetrating summer sun by large overhanging eaves, while large windows which are used as passive solar collectors in winter, have traditional timber shutters for protection. The garden was organised to provide different outside living spaces, richly planted, in contrast to the stark, rigid geometry of the residence.