In Büyükada Greek Orphanage, Europe’s largest wooden structure, which has not been in service for 57 years, final preparations have been completed before the restoration works.
AA teams viewed the historical building, which has been derelict since 1964 after it was built in 1898, and whose entrances were not allowed due to the risk of collapse.
Büyükada Orphanage Restoration Project Coordinator Laki Vingas, whose digital documentation and survey works have been completed, said that considering the physical condition of the building, not all of it is suitable for restoration, and that some of it can be demolished and rebuilt.
Stating that the clear decision about the future of the building will be made as a result of the workshops, Vingas explained the historical and architectural importance of the orphanage, which is located on a magnificent hill in Büyükada, one of the most beautiful places in Istanbul.
Vingas said, “After 1964, orphans gradually became ‘orphans’. All we want is to show the will to return in 2021, and we want to carry them to the future by talking to all stakeholders.” said.
Talking about the orphanage’s processes until today, Vingas stated that in 2018 Europa Nostra, affiliated with the European Union, declared the orphanage as one of the 7 buildings in the world that should be protected.
Noting that the building is now tired, derelict and quiet, Vingas said, “Istanbul should not remain as an important cultural heritage. We are doing all the necessary work for the project. We attach great importance to this place in terms of using the building and creating common values with the society, again with the voices of people and children.” he said.
Noting that they did not decide what function the building should have for restoration, Vingas stated that the digital documentation and survey works of the orphanage have been completed.
Noting that the analysis reports were given to the Supreme Council of Monuments, Vingas continued as follows:
“We are trying to reveal all archival documents together with the History Foundation. We will meet with public institutions, non-governmental organizations, island residents and experts from around the world and move forward together. We want to put forward a projection that extends to the 2030s with experts and companies worldwide. Representatives of the Ministry of Culture and local governments will accept the invitation of our Patriarchate. We are very happy. Especially the people of Büyükada and NGOs were invited.”
“There will probably be some reconstruction and some restoration.” Vingas said they wanted to protect some units inside the orphanage.
Explaining that the orphanage has a very nice hall, Vingas said, “There are very beautiful places at the entrance, we want to protect them. These will be decided together with the workshops we will hold. There are different ideas and solutions, we will evaluate them. Especially when a decision is made about the function, there will be a serious financing need. Income. It also needs to be a productive function. First of all, the function needs to be determined for sponsorship and stakeholders. We do not have a sponsor for now, but there are many people who have devoted themselves and internalized themselves with the building.” made its assessment.
Restoration project will be discussed in multi-stakeholder workshops
Büyükada Greek Orphanage, which was built entirely using wooden materials, consists of a total of 3 parts, the main and side sections.
It is seen that most of the roof of the building, which consists of a 5-storey main building and 6-storey side buildings, has collapsed, and there is decay in the exterior of the building and its wooden support sections.
In the building, for which restoration work began in 2020, digital documentation and surveys were carried out by BİMTAŞ, a subsidiary of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Relevant examinations and reports were submitted to the Supreme Council of Monuments.
An information meeting will be held on August 27 with the participation of public institutions, non-governmental organizations, residents of Büyükada, and experts from Turkey and abroad.
The multi-stakeholder workshops to be held in the coming months will discuss how the restoration of the building should be.