Genç Cumhuriyetin Koruma Alanındaki Öncülerinden Y. Mimar Ali Saim Ülgen 1913-1963


Ali Saim Ülgen was born in Istanbul and studied architecture at the State Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation from architecture school in 1938, he got a scholarship to study conservation in Germany and France. His study had to end in two years because of World War II. With a deep interest in cultural heritage, he dedicated his life to the research, documentation and the conservation of cultural heritage. He assumed several responsible tasks in the Ministry of Education and the General Directorate of Pious Foundations. What is important as his contribution to conservation education and theory, is his book on “Conservation and Restoration of Monuments” which was published in 1943. The current thought about conservation at the time was shaped by the 1931 conference in Athens. As Ülgen died very early, he was not able to see the development of Venice Charter in 1964. In 1938, Ülgen started to work on the documentation of the works of Architect Sinan, the famous masterbuilder and engineer of the Ottomans in the sixteenth century. He continued this mission until his death in 1953. Although he could not complete the corpus, the finished drawings were published by the Turkish History Association in 1989. The fact that he did not have the time to publish his ideas and professional experience in conservation fully, is a big loss for the history of restoration in Turkey. In 2007, his archive and notes which were not accessible to the researchers before were donated to the Turkish Architectural Foundation by his family. Now his archive is classified and made accessible by collaboration of SALT. His documents provide insight into questions which occasionally come up as researchers on Turkish architecture and restoration architects try to understand the changes to the buildings he has studied or restored. In 2013, several exhibits, conferences were organized by SALT in Istanbul and Ankara to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ülgen’s birth