Bruno Taut - a house in  Istanbul


Shared Cultural Heritage Project
Baukulturelle Vermittlung - Claudia Haas-Prandolini


"Shared Cultural Heritage" Project about the exile period of the architect and town planner Bruno Taut 


Baukulturelle Vermittlung - Claudia Haas-Prandolini

This project shows how Bruno Taut established himself as a democratic master builder of the “Neues Bauen” movement in Berlin, Germany. Taut developed an architecture from his political perspective that placed people at the centre. Thus, Taut not only carried his democratic sentiment in his heart, but was also able to implement his position in an ingenious way as a town planner and architect.

As an exile, Bruno Taut demonstrated his ability to appreciate the architectural and cultural assets of both exile countries as an empathetic guest in Japan and Turkey. This becomes clear in his acknowledgement to the imperial Katsura Villa in Kyoto, Japan, as well as his great enthusiasm for the Turkish mosques, above all the Sultan Suleyman Mosque in Istanbul, built by the master builder Sinan.

The "Shared Cultural Heritage" project pays tribute to Bruno Taut's political, humane and cosmopolitan creative period. Taut's self-designed house on the Bosporus in Istanbul stands at the end of a comprehensive and remarkable artistic preoccupation with architecture; it has the potential to become a cultural monument.

Invitation to participate in a "Shared Cultural Heritage" project

Experts, contemporary witnesses, institutions, universities and their students from the fields of architecture (history), town planning, fine arts, art history and history of exiles are invited. A Turkish-Japanese-German cooperation for the transnational interdisciplinary project is desired!



Claudia Haas - Baukulturelle Vermittlung
Hamburg - Deutschland 

E-Mail: [email protected]


During National Socialism in Germany, the successful architect and town planner Bruno Taut was to be arrested as a representative of the Neues Bauen movement (responsible for large housing estates in Berlin-Britz, -Wedding and -Pankow, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2008). The National Socialists, who had come to power in the meantime, had denounced Taut as a "cultural Bolshevist" and revoked his professorship at the Technical University Berlin and his membership of the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany. 

 The escape into exile 


The means of Bruno Taut’s escape to Japan in 1933 came from an invitation from the Japanese architect Isaburo Ueno and the Japanese International Architectural Association, where Taut stayed for three and a half years. There Bruno Taut published important writings on Japanese architecture, as well as on the tradition of Japan. Taut earned his living as a designer of art objects and household utensils. Taut got little opportunity to build in Japan. The Kyu Hyuga Bettei - Atami Hyuga Villa, whose basement consisted of three rooms was designed by Taut. Each room was given names of German as well as Austrian composers: Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. This villa is the only architecture by Taut to be found in Japan. The basement is can be visited as a museum in Atami-Shizuoka Japan from 2022. 

Bruno Taut’s exile in Turkey - 1936


 With his family, Taut went into exile in Turkey from 1936 to 1938. In the Turkish Republic, Taut was given the possibility to practice his profession. Turkey of the nineteen twenties under President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was in a process of great reforms. These conditions can be called a lucky coincidence for German, Austrian, mostly Jewish academics, as well as for artists of the so-called "degenerate" art.  At the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, Bruno Taut was charged with building up the architecture department. In Ankara he headed the building department of the Ministry of Education. The architect quickly succeeded in making his mark in Turkey. In just two years, he completed 24 building projects and thus contributed to Atatürk's educational reform by constructing important buildings. Taut also completed his "Architecture Doctrine" in Turkey and published it in Turkish in 1938 ("Mimari Bilgisi"). 

The Special Moment

Bruno Taut's special moment, the personal decision to design and build his own home in Istanbul Ortaköy himself, is extraordinary. Taut even described the house as his "ark". Does this step now signify a kind of assimilation? Did Taut - unlike many exiles - want to stay in Turkey with his family? The house itself is reminiscent of Taut's stay in Japan; it is therefore called the "Red Pagoda" or, in Turkey, the "Chinese House". It stands at the end of Taut's comprehensive and remarkable artistic engagement with architecture.