April 7, 2008

The Great Architect, Sinan

(b. Anatolia, Turkey 1489; d. Istanbul, Turkey 1588)

Mimar Koca Sinan, the "Great Architect Sinan", was born of Greek Christian parents in Anatolia, Turkey in 1489. Drafted as a soldier into the Ottoman royal house in 1512, he quickly advanced from calvary officer to construction officer. As construction officer he built bridges and fortifications. In 1538 he was appointed Architect of the Abode of Felicity.
During his career Sinan built hundreds of buildings including mosques, palaces, harems, chapels, tombs, schools, almshouses, madrassahs, caravan serais, granaries, fountains, aqueducts and hospitals. Of this diverse group of works, his mosques have been most influential.
His masterpiece is the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. He had under him an extensive governmental department and trained many assistants who, in turn, distinguished themselves, including Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa , architect of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. He is considered the greatest architect of the classical period, and is often compared to Michelangelo as a Western contemporary. The stature of Michelangelo and his plans for St Peter's Basilica in Rome were well-known in Istanbul, since he (and also Leonardo da Vinci) received an invitation to build a bridge over the Bosphorus
For his mosques, Sinan adopted the design of the Hagia Sophia to create a building in which the central dome would appear weightless and in which the interior surfaces would appear bathed in light. He used buttressing on the exterior of his buildings to open the interiors. He often designed his mosques as part of a complex comprising schools, baths, guesthouses and hospitals.
Generally considered the greatest of all Ottoman architects, Sinan's career spanned fifty years. His great mosques are the archetypal image of Turkish Ottoman architecture. Sinan died in Istanbul, Turkey in 1588.

1 comment:

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