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BEYOĞLU GUIDE

Ottoman Bank

A monumental building which has lost its original form long ago within the urban texture of Galata, although it has been known as the Ottoman Bank for a time period over a century, perceived to be a single building, actually has been designed as the headquarters of two different institutions. Ottoman Empire Tobacco Regime Company and the Ottoman Bank.
In late 1880s, part of a large lot on Voyvoda Street purchased by Tobacco Regime was transferred to the Bank. The famed Levantine architect of the period, Alexandre Vallaury, was given the task of designing a contemporary grandiose structure. The design dilemma in construction displays radical differences as if two different architects designed two totally different buildings at different times looking at the façades on Voyvoda Street and the Golden Horn.
The Voyvoda Street façade has been designed with dimensions ordered in proportion and construction patterns in line with the classical or neo-classical architectural design rules. The design of Vallaury reflects the uniformity of the 19th century banks which have become a trend at the time.
The broad eave supported by long iron rods on the side façades (non-existent today) is the dominant element of the Golden Horn façade, too. On this façade, the eave turns the corners, is cut off in the middles and is equipped with other elements introducing an exceptional movement to the above floors. Vallaury, with the concern of relatively mitigating the predominance of a giant mass within the urban mosaic of Galata where still large and small wooden buildings were prominent those years, has scattered details reminiscent of traditional homes on the upper floor. There are three small kiosks in the building; one of them in the middle, two at the corners.
With this building, Vallaury has proven how important a design issue the diligence is to be exercised on the single building scale and aesthetics in maintaining the urban identity.

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