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French architect Vallaury’s buildings in Istanbul

on 25/03/2015

L’ancien orphelinat grec de Büyükada signé Vallaury

       French architect Alexandre Vallaury was born in Istanbul on April 2 1850 into a Levantine family. After attending the National School of Fine Arts in Paris he returned to Istanbul in 1883 where he taught architecture until 1908.

During this time he met archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey, curator of the Imperial Museum which is today the superb Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. Osman Hamdi was also the creator of the Sanay’i Nefise Mektebi, today known as the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, in the district of Findikli near the Bosphorus.

This encounter between the two men represents a crucial turning point in the career of Vallaury, whose signature will become famous in his native city where he realised numerous prestigious buildings.

Among them is the magnificent School for Boys in the district of Cagaoglu built in 1897 near the current Iranian Consulate. This masterpiece combines fine art and ottoman architecture.

After the Turkish War of Independence the building lost its school status. It was reinstated in 1933 by Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, and given the new role and name of Istanbul High School.

Another impressive building, perched on a hill on Buyukada Island (the largest of the nine Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul), is the Greek Orphanage. It was built in 1898-99 and is the world’s second largest wooden building.

Another façade, much more famous this time, is the prestigious Pera Palace Hotel in Beyoglu. It was the southern terminus of the Orient Express railway line and famous figures such as Ataturk and Agatha Christie stayed there. The hotel still remains the choice of many celebrities today.

Some other twenty sumptuous buildings, such as the Ottoman Bank Headquarters in Karakoy and the Cercle d’Orient building on the famous Istiklal Avenue, bear the signature of Vallaury in Istanbul.


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