Doğan Hasol is one of the few people who can still be down to Earth and humanistic despite his numerous success stories. He said it is because of his will to create and give the best to people in the architectural field.
Hasol has been the editor-in-chief of architecture magazines, a leader for organizations of conferences and meetings about architecture and the chairman of the Building Information Center, or YEM, for 40 years, which he established with a group of friends in 1968.
Managing to organize continuous construction fairs under the name of International Turkeybuild Fairs since 1978 and extending them to three big cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, Hasol also accomplished his plans to open an architecture library with a vast range of green buildings, historic buildings, engineering, architecture and design books within the YEM center and publish the Yapı Magazine.
Not surprisingly Hasol’s architecture office, Has Mimarlık, and its being rewarded for the projects is also because of the achievements of his wife Hayzuran and daughter Ayşe Hasol Erktin, who are architects as well.
Hasol follows the latest developments in architecture, such as eco-design which has gained more importance with the rise of climate change, global warming and scarce natural resources. "The world is getting excited. It is so close to facing a catastrophe but we need to clean it just like we contaminated it," said Hasol.
"Architecture and construction have a big share in energy consumption. With all the things we do in this sector we are trying to raise awareness," Hasol said.
"Architecture is a reflector of culture. When asked what an architect does, people can hardly answer but it is the only branch of art that makes Turkey recognizable in the world."
Hasol is one of the most well known Turkish architects. He said Turkey is very far behind in architectural policies and that the government does not have the courage to get there.
According to the information he gave there are 36,000 architects in Turkey but most of them prefer working in other fields of the business, where as the European Union, or EU, has determined three professions that are a priority for humans: architecture, medicine and justice.
One of the most important topics Hasol and his daughter agrees on is that there is a lack of urban planning in Turkey that could prevent uncontrolled growth, which leads to slums and illegal constructions being built.
Although according to Hasol, Mustafa Kemak Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, tried to create the awareness of city planning in Ankara, which failed because of industrialization. He said urban planning is just gaining importance and it is a new sector in Turkey. Before urban planners the job was trying to be handled by architects.
Hasol thinks those who pollute the environment are the industrialized countries. "The technology of recycling is not something new yet in Turkey it started in the beginning of the year 2000," said Hasol, adding that Turkey will have a new law for construction and structures to have a CE certificate, which enables products to be commercially used in European Economic Area, or EEA, in December. "Turkey will take this step of having a standard in architecture before the United States," Hasol said. "The construction company or the architects have to give reports about issues such as energy consumption and many more environment-related plans," Hasol said, adding that state-owned buildings should be an example for others to follow and they should be leading the sector.
Hasol thinks that ecologic architecture is a sector that can boost the economy. The awareness of its benefits came about after the August 1999 earthquake in the Marmara region demolished 285,211 houses and killed thousands of people.
Hasol is also the creator of the symbolic Efes Hotel located in the center of İzmir. After the State Retirment Fund offered it for sale, the Efes Hotel was bought by Murat Vargı and Tahincioğlu Group. The owners later made an agreement with Swiss Hotel to manage it.
Erktin said the duration of the hotel being sold took too long. The construction of the hotel, for it to be Grand Efes Ğ Swiss Hotel, took 18 months. With Has Mimarlık planning the project, the hotel’s doors were opened a total of 26 months after the sale.
Owning the hotel
According to Hasol the owners of the Efes Hotel are the residents of İzmir. "They were so curious about the construction and what was going to happen to the hotel, which is like a symbol for İzmir people because it is on Cumhuriyet Meydanı (Republic Square) where the Atatürk statue stands," Hasol said.
Erktin said because of the importance of the hotel, they have made the plan with the utmost respect.
The hotel has been strengthened against earthquakes and the garden and the kitchen have changed, but the shape of the rooms and all the art pieces are still the same.
Hasol looked upon his work with great pride and completed his words with a quote from Jacques Herzog: "An architect should be a diplomat at the same time."