Never trained as an architect, Nail Çakirhan's first
career was that of a journalist and poet. He had reached his forties before he
first became interested in construction while accompanying his archaeologist
wife Halet on her field missions. After spending over a decade as a supervisor
of construction projects, he restored his mother's old vernacular house with the
aid of two traditionally skilled local carpenters. Having thereby learned the
necessary arts and crafts, he set out to build an indigenous house of his own.
The ideas and forms of the house were merely sketched and then plotted on the
ground as traditional master builders used to work. In addition to the loggia
which extends the length of the house are two identical living/sleeping rooms,
each with a fireplace, flanking a wide and deep foyer and a large polygonal
central hall. Similar spaces are to be found in traditional Ottoman houses. The
window and door details, as well as the richly ornamented wooden ceiling, also
conform to Ottoman custom. The jury found the house to be pure and elegant. They
noted that "the design goes well beyond the simple reproduction of past
models; its ornaments are judicious, sober and genuine. Its extraordinary
harmony with nature, and its multi-purpose use and ambience of inner space give
it great distinction."
Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1983.