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We made it!
THE TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM HAS BEEN DEDICATED ON MARCH 4, 2012
Thanks to the dedication and hardwork of an army of volunteers and donors, our dream of 40 years has been realized in a moving ceremony held at the Commons Room of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. His Excellency Namik Tan, the Ambassador to the US, was in attendance and delivered the keynote address. Longtime chair of the Turkish nationality room committee and architect of the room Ömer Akın, gave a brief description of the design of the room. Chair of the PTNR Inc., Malik Tunador presented the symbolic key of the room to the Provost of the University who in turn gave it to E. Maxine Bruhns, the Director and "guardian angel" of the Nationality Rooms. During one of the poignant moments of the ceremony, Şakir Oğuz passed the baton, literally and figuratively, to her grand daughter, who had to stand on her tippy toes to reach the micraphone. Community representative Varol Ablak summarized everyone's sentiments when he said: "it is a great day to be a Turk."
IMMANUEL KANT, THE FAMOUS GERMAN PHILOSOPHER ONCE WROTE: "WE APPREHEND AESTHETICS THROUGH OUR IMAGINATION."
LET US NOW IMAGINE A ROOM IN THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA THAT IS THE SAME AS ONE AT THE TOPKAPI PALACE.
EXCEPT FOR HOW THEY ARE BUILT, THESE ROOMS ARE THE SAME:
IMAGINE ENTERING THESE ROOMS AFTER YOU TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES JUST BEYOND THE SEKI-STEP
IMAGINE FEELING THE SOFT CARPETING UNDER YOUR FEET AND THE COOL BREZE ON YOUR BROW
IMAGINE SITTING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER FACE TO FACE HUDDLED AROUND THE SINI FOR DINER OR YOUR ELDERS TO ENJOY A STORY
IMAGINE A CEILING MADE OF DELICATE CITAKARI AND EXHUBERANT KUNDEKARI PANELS
IMAGINE WALLS COVERED WITH CUPBOARDS AND WINDOWS OF CLEAR AS WELL AS LEADED GLASS PAINTING THE AIR INTO MANY COLORS
AS THE SUN MOVES BEYOND THE HORIZON, IMAGINE PULLING THE BEDDING OUT OF THE CUPBOARDS AND SLEEPING ON THE SOFA WRAPPED AROUND THE SPACE LIKE THE WALLS THAT ENCLOSE IT.
IMAGINE ALL OF LIFE IN A ROOM WITH PERFECT PROPORTIONS, DETAIL, AND SPIRIT.
NOW, IMAGINE THAT ROOM ON THE THIRD FLOOR OF THE CATHEDRAL OF LEARNING.
AS THE ARCHITECT OF THE TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM, IT WAS MY TASK TO RECREATE THAT ROOM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH.
A TASK MADE SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT BY THE CHALLENGES OF TRANSPORTING AN AESTHETIC-IDEA ACCROSS TIME, PLACE, CRAFT, SENSIBILITY, CULTURE AND INSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS; AND A TASK MADE SO MUCH EASIER BECAUSE OF THE NATIONALITY ROOMS ORGANIZATION.
THIS ROOM UPSTAIRS IS MADE OF STEEL, GLASS, DRYWALL, WOOD, CERAMIC, SLATE, POLYMER, FASTENERS, GLUE, DUCT, VAV-BOX, LIGHT FIXTURE, CONDUIT, SHIMMYING, CAULKING, BLOOD, SWEAT, AND MONEY -- AND I MEAN LOTS OF IT.
WHEN YOU GO INTO THIS ROOM TODAY, YOU SEE ONLY CERAMIC, DRYWALL, GLASS, AND, OH YES, WOOD LOTS OF WOOD.
YOU FIND YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY A SOFT, HONEY COLORED FLOOR, BELOW; AND A FESTIVE CEILING -- RECALLING ITS ANCESTORS IN SAFRANBOLU -- ABOVE.
YOU SEE THE LEAD-GLASS WINDOWS, THE KUNDEKARI CHALKBOARD, AND A MURAL OF ISTANBUL, IN FRONT, WHICH CRATES A VISION THAT TOYS WITH YOUR SENSE OF REALITY AND TICKLES YOUR IMAGINATION.
NOW, YOU ARE TRANSPORTED TO THE TOPKAPI PALACE, TO THE STEPPES OF CENTRAL ASIA, TO SAFRANBOLU, EVEN BEFORE YOU CAN SAY "I IMAGINE."
Ömer Akın, March 4, 2012
CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM
THE TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM
BOARD AND MEMBERS OF THE PITTSBURGH NATIONALITY ROOM INCORPORATED
TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM COMMITTEE MEMBERS
TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
TURKISH NATIONALITY ROOM TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS