—During the early 1920s, Iran and Turkey
underwent a rapid modernization process under Reza Shah and
Atatürk. Opened a new era in modern Iran’s social, political
and cultural histories, Reza Shah’s objectives were compared to
his contemporary Atatürk’s in their inventory projects of
modernization, centralization and nationalism. In this context,
architecture as a “concrete” product of the states’
modernization process became an instrument to consolidate the
leader’s political conduct.
Through a comparative analysis of the Persian and Ottoman
Empire’s transformations into modern states, this study gives
an overview on the socio-political and cultural-political
histories of the early 20th century Turkish and Iranian
modernity. It argues that despite the parallelism in the political
strategies of Reza Shah and Atatürk, modern architecture as an
outcome of the political agenda, revealed differently in Iran and
Turkey during this period.
It is believed that, the paradoxes of “other” modernities in
the case of Iran and Turkey were indeed not so much related
with the Western canonic definition of modernity as it was with
the states’ political ideologies. Questioning the paradoxical
characteristics of modern architecture in the new established
capitals, this research indicates the interaction between
architecture and politics.
—Architecture, modernization, modernity,
Ezgi Yavuz is with the Middle East Technical University, Turkey (e-mail:
Cite: Ezgi Yavuz and Baharak Tabibi, " Questioning the Paradoxes of “Other” Modernities:
Uncovering Architecture in the Political Agenda of Iran
and Turkey 1920-1940," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 405-409, 2014.