'Respect for History' award for renovation of a 150-year-old mansion
Dr. Elif Kocabıyık Savasta, Lecturer at Izmir University of Economics (IUE) Department of Industrial Design, and her husband Dr. Daniele Savasta bought and renovated the 150-year-old mansion in Kemeraltı and was awarded the ‘Respect for History’ award by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Stating that they preserved the historical texture of the mansion and that they did not throw away any material that wasn’t rotten or deteriorated, Kocabıyık said, “My husband and I wanted to live in a historical house in the center of the city. Our academic studies are already on history, technology and everyday life. We put a lot of effort, we worked meticulously and finally we were able to repair the mansion in accordance with the present day. We live there now”.
Lecturer Dr. Elif Kocabıyık Savasta and her husband, also an academic, Dr. Daniele Savasta took action in 2013 to make their dream of living in Kemeraltı, in the center of the city, a reality. After a long search, the Savasta couple found a suitable historical house and immediately bought the building and registered it, thus, taking the historical mansion under protection.
The Savasta couple immediately started working to bring the circa-1870 historical mansion to the present day. The designer Savasta couple and the famous architect Özgür Genca worked together to restore the 3-storey, 330 square meter historical mansion and bring it back to life. A 6-year comprehensive work and implementation period was spent to restore the historical mansion in accordance with its original form and to design it to meet today's needs. Every inch of the mansion, from the stairs to the electrical installation, from the windows to the bricks and tiles, has been renovated.
AWARD BY THE METROPOLITAN MUNICIPALITY
The Savasta couple, with their struggle to keep the historical mansion alive, were also deemed worthy of the ‘Fundamental Repair Retaining Original Function Award’ at the 18th ‘Respect for History/ Local Conservation Awards’ organized by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality this year. Adding the ‘ability to protect for the future’ to the restoration, which is a competent example of the unity of ‘conservation, interpretation and design’, Dr. Elif Kocabıyık Savasta and her husband Dr. Daniele Savasta received their award at the ceremony held at the Izmir State Opera and Ballet Alhambra Stage.
IT DID NOT TURN INTO AN ANTIQUE HOUSE
Giving information about her works to restore the mansion and bring it to the present day, Kocabıyık said, “I have always been interested in history since I was little. I am happy to have made my dream of living in a historical house in Kemeraltı come true. Of course, repairing the mansion was not easy. Even a simple renovation in a regular house takes a lot of time. Doing this in a historical building requires much more care and time. We acted with the understanding of ‘protection’ in all our works. We didn't even remove the wood if it wasn’t rotten. We didn't want it to be an antique house, we also made modern touches. However, we did nothing to spoil the original structure and energy of the mansion. We kept our modern contributions simple, not competing with the old house.”
WE TURNED THE BASEMENT INTO A WORKSHOP
Noting that they turned the basement of the mansion into a workshop, Kocabıyık said, “We did not make any significant changes in the interior of the mansion. The location of the ladder was changed, we took it back to its original place. We made a ‘bath with a bathing cubicle (gusülhane)’ in one room, using the traces of the old one. We also designed some of the details in the house ourselves using the 3D printer. For example; we produced detailed parts using a 3D printer for the galvanized electrical conduit to rest against the wall. We also designed the basement of the mansion as a workshop. We will do our own design projects here.”
STUDENTS ARE WELCOME AT THE MANSION
Kocabıyık continued as follows: “Minor renovations are in progress. However, our main goal in a short time is to design the kitchen. My husband and I are both educators. We want to work with our students in the workshop we created in the basement of the mansion. We have created the right environment for this. I will definitely open the mansion to my students. Of course, we did not do all these to get an award. But it is a great feeling to see that the work you do, the struggle you show is appreciated and awarded. At this point, we were very happy to be successful in the Respect for History/Local Conservation Awards. I would like to thank everyone who nominated us for this award.”