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Turkish Room Is Opened In University of Pittsburg Main Campus PDF Print E-mail
2012-03-05 18:26:59
Image The ceremony was attended by Turkish Ambassador, Namık Tan and dignitaries representing the University of Pittsburgh, along with members of Turkish American community in Pittsburgh who contributed to the success of the project through financial contributions and volunteer work.

Namık Tan, cutting the ribbon of the room, said,

“I am so pleased to be here today. There are very rare instances when a diplomat sees the concrete results of his/her efforts. I was engaged with the Turkish Nationality Room during the very early days of this project. Almost twenty years ago, I personally wrote the very first note to Ankara that the Turkish Community in Pittsburgh wished to dedicate a room at the Cathedral of Learning of the University of Pittsburgh. At the time, I described the project as representation of the cultural and historical heritage of different nationalities and the variety they form. This room will be a landmark of the Turkish American community living in the US.

For various reasons, the project was not concluded as planned. But it never got lost in the valley of dead-projects. A handful of people, many of whom are here with us today, continued this project with dedication and good-will. When I cut the ribbon of the classroom today, I felt that this was not just a beautiful room decorated with Turkish art, but it represented a permanent display of the presence of the Turkish American community in Pittsburgh.”

Planning for the Turkish Nationality Room began in 2001, with the formation of the Turkish Nationality Room (TNR) Committee acting on behalf of the Turkish community. A committee of volunteers, headed by Prof. Ömer Akın, School of Architecture, CMU, was responsible for raising the necessary funds for the design and construction of the room.  In late 2009, the responsibilities of TNR were transferred to the Pittsburgh Turkish Nationality Room Inc. (PTNR), a non-profit organization, with Mr. Malik Tunador as the chairman of the board of directors.

The Nationality Rooms are a collection of 27 classrooms in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning depicting and donated by the ethnic groups that helped build the city of Pittsburgh. The rooms are designated as a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation historical landmark and are located on the 1st and 3rd floors of the Cathedral of Learning, itself a national historic landmark, on the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Although of museum caliber, twenty-five of the 27 rooms are in almost constant use as functional classrooms and utilized daily by University of Pittsburgh faculty and students. The period depicted in the architecture of each room is one that is important to the culture and must represent the style prior to 1787.

The final design of the Turkish Nationality Room was to depict the historical art and culture of Turkey and recreate them in a 21st century classroom. To that effect, the classroom was designed to represent the “main room” in a traditional Turkish house with seating along the walls, surrounding the central open area. There is an entrance gallery area separating the main room from the entrance for privacy. The gallery space is adorned with four ceramic panels depicting life in the 9th century, 14th century, 16th century, and a life size scene from 1928 depicting Kemal Atatürk instructing the Turkish nation on the Latin alphabet adopted as the legal script of modern Turkey. The main room (the classroom) employs Kündekari and Çıtakari wood work to adorn the cupboard doors, entrance door, ceiling, and other wall paneling. The windows of the room that face the outside are glazed with lead glass panels designed by master artisans in Turkey. The design is embellished with a stylized tulip pattern to reference the imperial flower of the early 18th century Ottomans. Another major feature of the Turkish Nationality Room is a 6’ by 20’ wall mural depicting a view of Istanbul behind what looks like a picture window on the east wall of the room.

Upon the newest addition to the 27 existing Nationality Rooms, University of Pittsburgh announced that “The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Leaning in the University of Pittsburgh continues to enrich the lives of thousands of visitors and the students. We are very proud to add the Pittsburgh Turkish Nationality Room to this collection of Historic Landmarks.”
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