Harika Alpar Söylemezoğlu
b. 1918-
Harika Alpar Söylemezoğlu was born in Istanbul in December of 1918. Throughout 1940s, modern Turkish architecture began to witness the architectural partnership of wife and husband, such as Harika Alpar-Kemali Söylemezoglu, Şekure-Lütfi Gürtuna, Nezihe-Pertev Taner, and Leyla-Firuzan Baydar. Among the first generation of women architects in modern Turkey, Harika Alpar Söylemezoglu is one of the well-known early female figures collaborating with her architect husband, Kemali Söylemezoğlu (1909-1995).

Her father was a civil engineer and his brother studied architecture in Germany. Under their influence, she decided to pursue her architectural education at the Academy of Fine Arts, the Department of Architecture in 1938. At this time, the architectural education in the Academy of Fine Arts formed under the influence of Sedad Hakkı Eldem (1908-1988), who propagated the nationalist movement in Turkish modernism. Soylemezoglu’s architectural perspective was shaped within this context.

When she earned her degree in 1942, Harika Alpar and Mualla Eyüboğlu were the only two females among all graduates of the academy. With Leman Tomsu, Leyla Baydar and Celile Berk Butka, Harika Alpar was among the early female members of the Union of Turkish Architects, between 1934 and 1942. Following her graduation, she went to Ankara and began to work with Kemali Söylemezoğlu and Paul Bonatz (1877-1956) in the Ministry of Education. At the beginning of her career, she was involved in work concerning girl’s institutes. She worked at the Ministry of Education until her marriage with Kemali Söylemezoğlu in 1944. That year, the young couple returned to Istanbul after Kemali Söylemezoğlu accepted an academic position at the Academy of Fine Arts. Following the birth of their twins in 1945, she collaborated mostly with her husband and participated in several architectural design competitions with him. 

Harika Alpar Söylemezoğlu worked on development plans for Kandırlı, Anamur, and Mut at the Municipal Credit Bank (İller Bank). Between 1955 and 1956, she pursued her professional career at the architectural office established by Hayati Tabanlıoğlu (1927-1994).  

In 1957, Kemali and Harika Alpar Söylemezoğlu  went to Germany and lived there for two years. In that country, she conducted her professional practice in an architectural office. Following their return to Turkey in 1959, she served as a consultant at Istanbul University until 1964. In that year, she established her own ready-made clothing business and worked in this sector until 1974.

Architectural Design Competitions:

  • Istanbul Radio House (with Kemali Söylemezoğlu), Istanbul, Turkey, 1945, proposal project.
  • Erzurum State Railways Neighborhood Project (with Kemali Söylemezoğlu), Erzurum, Turkey, 1945, honorable mention.
  • Istanbul Palace of Justice (with Kemali Söylemezoğlu and Mukbil Gökdoğan), Istanbul, Turkey, 1949. 
  • Izmir Development Plan (with Kemali Söylemezoğlu), Izmir, Turkey, 1952, honorable mention.
  • Eskisehir “Memleket” Hospital (with Mesadet Adaş, Mualla Eyüboğlu, Kemali Söylemezoğlu, Orhan Özgüner ve Kadri Erkmen), Eskisehir, Turkey, 1953, honorable mention.
  • Istanbul Municipality Building (with Kemali Söylemezoğlu), Istanbul, Turkey, 1953, 2nd prize.

Publication List, 1945-1953:

  • Text by the editor. “Devlet Demiryolları Umum Müdürlüğü'nün Erzurum İşletme, Toplantı Binaları ve Memur Evleri Mahallesi Müsabakası.” Arkitekt 5-6 (1945): 100-106, 121. http://dergi.mo.org.tr/dergiler/2/133/1545.pdf [Accessed February 28, 2016.]

15 September 2015

Dostoğlu, Neslihan Türkün. “Türkiye’de Cumhuriyet’in İlk Döneminde Kadın Mimarlar.” In 75 Yılda Değişen Kent ve Mimarlık, edited by Yıldız Sey, 28-31. Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yayınları, 1998.

Erkaslan, Özlem E. "Turkish Women Architects in the Late Ottoman and Early Republican Era, 1908-1950." Women's History Review 16 (2007): 555-575.

Tüzel, Gökçe Bayrakçeken. “Being and Becoming Professional: Work and Liberation Through Women’s Narratives in Turkey”. PhD diss., Middle East Technical University, 2004.

Variant Names
Harika Alpar Söylemezoğlu
Harika Söylemezoğlu