The Bartlett School of Architecture


Pinar Aykac



Musealisation in the Urban Context: Multiple Narratives of Sultanahmet Archaeological Park in Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula

First and second supervisors 


Substantial structural changes in global economies and market influences on cultural tourism have resulted with the expansion of the idea of museum from the boundaries of buildings to historic urban areas initiating extensive regenerations.

At present, almost every aspect of culture both tangible and intangible are exhibited in museums; most of the abandoned historic buildings are transformed into museums, and historic areas are converted to open air museums comprising even inhabitants themselves.

Identified as musealisation; particular aspects of the urban areas are signified, conserved and presented intentionally making certain characteristics visible; while eliminating or even destructing the others. Besides; the process results mostly in sterilisation, manipulation, and the distortion of meanings embedded to museal entities and threatens everyday life.

In this context, the thesis aims to conceptualise and build a discourse on musealisation so as to provide a perspective for assessing the strategies of musealisation and their impacts in the urban context.

Springing from the notion of musealisation as a two-folded process including both signification and eradication related to the episteme, national politics and cultural policies of different periods; the research focuses on Sultanahmet Archaeological Park in İstanbul’s Historic Peninsula that has been the major subject of numerous conservation and planning projects mainly aiming musealisation from the 19th century until present.  


Received a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the Middle East Technical University in 2004 and a MSc in Restoration and Preservation from the METU Graduate Program in Restoration in 2008. After completing her courses, she started working in The Presidential Ataturk Museum Pavilion Restoration Project as an assisting architect to Conservation Superintendence Committee. Between 2007 and 2011 she worked as a research and teaching assistant in the METU Department of Architecture.

She was a conservation team member of Commagene Nemrut Conservation and Development Programme and Conservation Management Plan for Gordion and its Environs. She also worked as a consultant for conservation projects in Turkey such as Okten and Sabuncuoglu Soap Factories in Antioch (MNR) and Hasankeyf Surveying, Restitution, Emergency Measure and Reinforcement Project (SAYKA). She started pursuing her PhD in 2012 on the musealisation of historic urban areas after completing her MSc thesis on the presentation of multi-layered historic towns.