State Hydraulic Works General Directorate Building: Architectural Marvel And Transformation – OpEd


Situated in the capital city of Ankara, the State Hydraulic Works General Directorate building was a masterpiece of architectural design by Behruz Çinici, one of the renowned architects associated with ODTÜ university. This architectural gem bears the imprints of dam design and is celebrated for its distinctive main entrance bridge and a pool reminiscent of a hydraulic power plant beneath it. Erected in the 1960s as a reinforced concrete structure, it garnered particular attention for its entirely glass-clad façade.

However, as we ventured into the 2000s, concerns arose regarding heat loss within the building. The windows featured a single-pane design, and the implementation of double glazing was considered impractical due to the additional structural load it would introduce. Consequently, endeavors to mitigate heat loss through alternative design approaches were initiated. Various solutions were put forth by both local and international designers, although regrettably, these proposals were largely overlooked.

Subsequently, a pivotal decision was made to erect a new headquarters for the State Hydraulic Works General Directorate, leading to the institution’s relocation. The former building was sold to the Atomic Energy Authority at a nominal price and was expeditiously demolished. Today, in the stead of that once-beautiful structure, there stands a parking lot. The future utilization of this space remains uncertain.

The political choices to raze historically significant and aesthetically pleasing edifices in Ankara evoke memories of similar actions taken in relation to other landmarks such as Etibank, İller Bankası, and the Ministry of Urbanization and Housing. The ramifications of these transformations on the city’s urban fabric and the prospects for these areas in the future constitute significant matters deserving of meticulous consideration.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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