The Ayşe Mayda Mayda house, one of the works of the architect Raymond Charles Péré - Cenk Berkant, 2005
Cenk Berkant
The Ayşe Mayda house:

The building is situated in 143rd street, no: 9 in the Köprü quarter of the Konak/Göztepe neighbourhood. It is situated in the north-western edge of a large plot with a westwards incline.

The building is almost square in outline, has two principal floors, one basement and one mezzanine level.1 The building has two entrances; the main one on the western façade is five sided, outward projecting, and the one on the eastern façade opens to the garden in a rectangular form with an outward projection. The basement rooms are designed for storage, the mezanine level for servant quarters, the first floor for group and private usage (living rooms and bedrooms) and the second floor is for bedrooms only.

The building material is brick. The corners of the building face and the window sills have been smooth plastered to give the appearance of cut-stone. Each façade of the building is arranged in its own style achieved through the various geometric patterns created through the use of red and gray bricks. In addition there is a band circum-navigating the building created out of a layer of grey bricks sandwiched between one of red bricks, defining the separation between the first and second floors. Excluding the central window on the east façade of the building, all window openings are enclosed within square lintels, capped with a low angle arch of red bricks on top. All the windows have wooden shutters. The roof consists of a four sided sloping surfaces, covered in terra-cotta tiles. The minor roof on the west end of the building is in the form of a 5-sided pyramid, supported by decorative stone pedestals. The wooden frame of the roof with wide eaves, possesses a single triangular drain exits on each of its north, west and east façades. The tops of these drain exits and the summits of the chimneys are decorated by arrow shaped finials.

The eastern face of the building, owing to the existence of the mezanine level, gives the appearance of a 3 storied building. The centre portion of the façade is highlighted with an outward projection of around 1.5 m. On the northern and southern sections of the eastern façade, on each floor, are a pair of window openings. In the central section of this face, on mid-floor levels, there is a single window capped with a low arch, to illuminate the stairs area, an opening wider than the standard windows. The eastern entrance has later been altered by the owner, enclosing it within a wooden framed glazed shelter.2

The northern façade of the building has the appearance of 3 stories with the basement floor being rendered, with a rectangular door opening within it. The division between the first and second floors is delineated with wall decorations. Within the central section of the first floor there is a wooden covered balcony [cumba]. Just to the east and west sides of the cumba are a pair of window openings, sitting next to each other. These windows are decorated with six horizontal rows of red bricks on both adjacent sides of these pairs of windows. Within the central section of the second floor is a balcony constructed of wood and leading into it a door flanked by a pair of windows. The eastern and western ends of this central section are decorated with large red bricks arranged in a herringbone [baklava] pattern. Also on this floor within the eastern and western sides, is a single pair of rectangular window openings. The surrounds of these openings is also decorated with the baklava motif, in a smaller scale to that on the central section.

The southern façade is plainer compared to the other faces of the building. As the building is on an inclined piece of ground, this wall has the appearance of a two storied building. This façade is divided into to two, with the projection by about half a metre of its western half. The façade is pierced by rectangular window openings, with a row of 3 on the lower western section, and a row of 2 on the upper floor. The sides of these window openings are decorated with 6 horizontal rows on the first floor, and baklava motifs on the upper floor, all done with red bricks. The eastern section is somewhat wider than the western section and the first and second floors have a pair of window openings on the level of a band of 6 rows of red bricks that decorate both floors.

The western façade of the building, being the side with the main entrance, is the most ostentatious. The side has the appearance of 3 stories, basement, first and second floors. The entrance is within a central projecting block, thus dividing the face to 3 elements. The building is asymmetrical with the southern façade being wider than the northern face. The northern section of the western façade has a near square rectangular window opening on its ground floor, with further rectangular windows on its first and second floors, all capped with a low arch composed of red and white bricks arranged vertically. In opposition, on its southern section, the same types of windows are arranged, as pairs on ground, first and second floors. The basement floor of both the northern and southern sections of the western façade are rendered, the surrounds of window opening on the first floor are decorated with horizontal rows of red bricks, while the surrounds on the second floor are decorated with the baklava motif. The central section of the western façade projects by about 2 metres thus forming a block. This projection is continued on the second floor with a wooden balcony, supported by wooden blocks on the extension. A wooden framed window is placed within the railings of this balcony, facing west. A wooden blind on top of this window shades the opening from rays of direct sun. The same projection is also pierced with a window frame topped with round arches, on its northwestern and southwestern sides. These window-opening surrounds in turn are decorated with six rows of red bricks. The western face of the central section on the first floor has no window openings, but instead is decorated with 6 horizontal rows of red brick. The same horizontal decorations also circumnavigate the projection on the level of the first floor. The projection here, like on the floor above, has window openings on the northwestern and southwestern faces. The entrance of the building is attained with 4 marble steps, leading from the garden gate, and its height exceeds the level of the ceiling of the basement floor. The entrance is topped with a projecting round marble arch and this arch is decorated with carved classical symbols including that for health depicted as a snake. The apex stone of this arch has the carving of a flower on it. The carvings in the form of twisting branches above the entrance are further decorated with leaf forms. The pair of wooden entrance doors are decorated in wood and metal in the art nouveau style.

From the entrance, one can reach the first floor corridor through an east-west trending 2-stepped marble stairway, complete with art nouveau style wooden banisters. The four-sectioned wooden door leading the way to the corridor is also decorated in the art nouveau style. This corridor on the first floor allows for the distribution of the rooms to the north and south of it. There is a stairway in the eastern end of this corridor, allowing for access to the mezzanine and second floor and also at the eastern end, is the east entrance to the building.3

In the southern end of the first floor corridor, a pair of doors on the east and west side, lead the way to the reception room. This room, which has the length of the corridor, can be subdivided into equal east and west halves through a set of folding wooden door leaves. In the eastern side of this reception room is a mahogany table suitable for 8 people, a large mirror hanging on the southern wall, decorated in gold leaf, with leaves, and symbols in a baroque style, gas lamps, candlesticks, metal decorative lampshades and finally a large crystal chandelier, centrally positioned in the eastern half of the room, give a rich ambience to the room. The marble fireplace on the eastern wall of this room is decorated with the carvings of intertwining branches, leaves and rosettes of flowers, in a classical style. Within the fireplace, the right and left of the metal cradle, and the base of this fireplace is covered in floral decorated tiles in green, white and reds. The western side of the reception is furnished in armchairs, chairs, sofa and coffee tables of wood inlaid with silver wire. On the west wall is an oil painting signed by Aliye Berger. The upper section of the mantelpiece of the fireplace on the western wall is decorated with the carving of a central leaf, surrounded on either side with symbols, and the uprights are decorated with intertwining vines. This fireplace is also decorated with the floral tiles in the same arrangement.

In the northern end of the first floor corridor are 3 rooms. The eastern one of these is arranged as a living room. Furnished with armchairs, chairs and sofa, the eastern wall has a charcoal auto-portrait of Cevat Şakir [Kabaağaçlı], the Halikarnas balıkçışı [fisherman of Halicarnassus / Bodrum]. The marble mantelpiece on the eastern wall of this room is decorated in the carvings of a lotus flower, and the uprights decorated with intertwining vines. The metal cradle within the fireplace and its base of this fireplace is covered in blue and white tiles. Above the fireplace is a 3-winged mirror, within a wooden frame, enriching the atmosphere of this room. From this room, one can pass to the study, as was used by Salih bey, the father of the current owner Ayşe Mayda.

The internal arrangement of this house has got little to do with the style of a traditional Turkish house, but is in keeping with the former Levantine lifestyles and customs, with dining and reception room, library, bedrooms, servant’s quarters, kitchen and bathroom. The rich internal decorations and showy furniture (arm-chairs, tables and coffee tables), fireplaces and accessories (paintings and chandeliers) also points to the building being intended to be used as a prestigious reception centre. One of the most prominent aspects of the building is that it is one of the best examples of the Art-Nouveau style of decoration interpreted from the Turkish perspective. In the period houses of Izmir is style of decoration is not uncommon, but in this house the decoration flows to the outside façades too. The architect has applied a harmonious fusion of the Art-Nouveau style with local styles in a selective manner.

The water works plates situated in the entrance and in the garden carry a date of 1903, but the building must have been constructed before this date. The building passed to the Ayşe Mayda family in 19234, but the family were only able to move in 1950. In the intervening time, the building served first as a Ticaret [trade] school, then the Italian school, and Turkish schools under the names of Kültür and Devrim.5

According to property owner, Ayşe Mayda, the building was built by Raymond Péré for Sait Paşa, the son of the Izmir vali [mayor] at the time, Mehmet Kamil Paşa.6 It is inevitable that Sait Paşa knew Raymond Charles Péré as he was within the committee in charge of the building of the clock tower. In addition no doubt the popularity of Raymond Charles Péré greatly increased when he successfully completed the clock tower, an edifice of great prestige value to the city. These further suggest that this building was probably built by Raymond Charles Péré.

1. This conclusion was reached after an interview with Ayşe Mayda in her home on 16.09.2004 and consulting with her landlord. Unfortunately the landlord would only allow us to view and photograph the ground floor and consequently that is the only floor whose grand plan we could produce. return to main text

2. The house occupant, Ayşe Mayda, stated that the window and lintle was added in 1952 while the house was renovated. return to main text

3. This situation is the result of the building being situated in an incline. return to main text

4. According to the testimony of Ayşe Mayda, it was her father, Salih Bey, who bought the house from one of the sons of Sait Paşa in 1923. return to main text

5. This information was obtained in our interview with Ayşe Mayda on 16.09.2004. return to main text

6. Ayşe Mayda stated that the architect of the building was Raymond Péré in our interview on 16.09.2004. return to main text

Article written by Cenk Berkant in Italian ‘L’Esperienza del sacro nelle opere di Raymond Charles Péré’ [The Sacred Experience in the works of Raymond Charles Péré]

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