THREATENED:The Kayseri Sumerbank Textile Factory Complex

The DOCOMOMO Turkey National Working Party has learned with great concern that Kayseri Metropolitan
Municipality and Erciyes University plan to demolish some of existing parts of the Sümerbank Textile
Factory Complex in Kayseri (Turkstoj, 1935) for a landscaping and land-development project.

The Sümerbank Complex was one of the earliest industrial production plants of the young Turkish
Republic. It was not only intended for the development of the local and national economy but also as a
part of the socio-political revolution aimed at nation-building and modernization.

The plant produced cotton textiles and employed 2100 workers and 155 clerks. In addition to the
administration, production and energy facilities the complex included housing for the clerks and foremen,
an infirmary, a day-care center for the children, social facilities for the workers and the clerks, a market
and a bakery as well as a movie-theatre, a soccer-field with a capacity for 1000 spectators, tennis-courts, a
semi-olypmic pool and an open air casino organized around it. The architectural design is simple and
functional and follows modernist ideology.

The design of the housing units, on the other hand, cannot be classified as “social”: The first group
constructed in 1935 included apartment buildings comprising of five-room duplex flats and three-room
flats for the head clerks and two-room flats for the foremen. A separate hostel for the workmen was
constructed in 1937. The design of the houses is functional; the structures are reinforced concrete but the
façade claddings are of local stone. A total of six different types have been produced between 1935 and
1950. The complex itself generated the development of the areas immediately surrounding it in due time.
In the 1950s land was allotted for the construction of housing for retired employees, and similar housing
projects around the complex continued until the 1970s, producing at least four neighborhoods around the site.

The plant ceased production in 1998 ownership was transferred to Erciyes University in 1999,
but has so far remained in disuse.

DOCOMOMO_Turkey has concentrated its efforts for the preservation of the complex since 2003 when
the main plant and four types of in service housing were registered in the national inventory and a
conservation area was designated around the remaining parts of the complex. However disuse and neglect
has resulted in rapid deterioration of the existing buildings and the removal of some of the separately
unregistered parts has come into question. As a result, DOCOMOMO_Turkey has applied to the
concerned Kayseri Regional Commission on the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Property last
month for the registration of the remaining parts separately on the national inventory in order to prevent
their demolition and ensure their preservation as inherent parts of this modern complex.

DOCOMOMO_Turkey is asking the support of all the national working parties within DOCOMOMO International
for the preservation of the Kayseri Sümerbank Textile Factory Complex, which has become a symbol of
Kayseri as well as a national symbol of Turkish modernization. Your support letters will be included in the
dossier presented to the Conservation Commission concerned and will hopefully help its members to
understand the heritage value and unique qualities of this complex.


For more information please click here and forward this letter to all your national institutions in the field of architecture and ask them to support us by sending letters.

You may post or fax hardcopies of your support letter to the address and/or number below or send them
in pdf format to our official e-mail address:

c/o Asst. Prof. Dr. Y?ld?z SALMAN
Istanbul Technical University
Faculty of Architecture
Ta?k??la, Taksim - ?stanbul
34367 TURKEY

FAX: +90 212 2514895 (to the attention of Asst. Prof. Dr. Y?ld?z SALMAN)

DOCOMOMO_Turkey has also opened a virtual petition to signatures at the following address. Please
ask your members and colleagues to support us by signing this petition as well. A list of the names will
also be included in the same dossier that will be presented.