Mehmed Vedat Tek (1873-1942) was one of the architects most closely associated with the movement that came to be known as First National Architecture, a style that drew on tropes from Selçuk and Ottoman architecture to create something distinctive and new that would be associated with the early years of the Turkish republic. After training in Paris and Rome, Tek became the chief architect to the palace and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts. However, he continued as chief architect even after the founding of the Republic in 1923 and became one of a new generation of Turkish architects at a time when many of those working in Constantinople (İstanbul) were Levantines such as Alexandre Vallaury. His work is characterised by overhanging eaves, thick lancet windows, cut-out marble stars, jutting roundels, stalactite capitals and the use of blue tiles on the facades of buildings. 

Tek was born into a distinguished family. His father was the Baghdad governor, Giritli Sırrı Paşa and his mother was Leyla Saz (1850-1936), an Ottoman feminist, composer and writer whose memoir, The Imperial Harem of the Sultans, has been published in English. His daughter Selime Hanım (1913-93) became a well-known artist and married Yekta Işıtan. Together with her husband she ran the Yetka Restaurant inside the Vedat Tek Konağı in Nişantası, doing much of the cooking herself. They also ran a nightclub of the same name on Büyükada.

Vedat Tek’s works in İstanbul include many prominent monuments such as the Büyük Postane as well as less well known buildings such as  the Veli Efendi Hippodrome. A number of them can be seen in the Eminönü-Sirkeci area, pointing to its development at the turn of the 20th century.

Tek is buried in the Edirnekapı Martyrs Cemetery.

Alongside Vedat Tek, Kemaleddin Bey is the other Turkish architect most closely associated with First National Architecture.

  • Air Force Martyrs Memorial, Saraçhane
  • Ankara Palas (completed by Kemaleddin Bey)
  • Ayasofya Tarihi Müzesi/Ayasofya History Museum, Hippodrome
  • Büyük Postane, Eminönü
  • Hobyar Mescid, Sirkeci
  • Hükümet Konağı, Kastamonu
  • Liman Hanı, Sirkeci
  • Milli Emlak Dükkları/National Estate Agency (now a coffee shop), Beşiktaş
  • Moda İskelesi/ferry terminal
  • Nemlizade Tütün Deposu/Tobacco Warehouse, now a business centre, Paşalımanı, Üsküdar
  • Turkish Maritime Lines building (now part of Peninsula Hotel), Karaköy
  • Vedat Tek Konağı, Nişantaşı
  • Veli Efendi Hippodrome, Bakırköy
  • Zeynep Hanım Konağı, Beyazıt (lost to fire, site reoccupied by İstanbul University’s Literature Faculty)
Kastamonu Hükümet Konağı



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