Tarabya Presidential Campus (Huber Villa)

Tarabya Presidential Campus (Huber Villa)

A need arose for a new place in İstanbul for the Presidents when the Florya Sea Villa, which Atatürk had built in 1935, was transferred to the National Palaces administration after it became unusable.

The Huber Villa is one of the most ostentatious mansions of the Bosphorus with its architecture and history. It is located at the Tarabya Presidential campus. It was allocated to the Presidency in 1985 and started to be used to meet this need.

The Seventh President Kenan Evren used the Huber Villa for a period of two months during the summer months after it was partially renovated between 1986-1988. The construction of a pool in the historical garden (1987), 20 apartments for personnel housing and a service building (1988) for 150 persons, who serve as soldiers, police and service personnel are within the scope of these arrangements.

Tarabya Presidential Campus (Huber Villa)

In addition to the summer housing and office needs of the Presidency, the attainment of a unique structural complex, which also includes basic and complementary places where foreign heads of state would be accommodated and large receptions would be held, extended over an intensive period of activity, which was spread between 1993-2000.

It was aimed to preserve the historical, cultural and natural values of the land, to be environmentally friendly without exceeding the existing concentration of structures and to design and implement new structures that would suit the Presidency in the restoration process, which started with the instructions of the Ninth President Süleyman Demirel. In the direction of these objectives, a high level of design performance was displayed at the Tarabya Presidential Villa Campus by completing the construction of a complex composed of the Presidential Residence, the Guesthouse for the Foreign Heads of State, Reception Areas, Guesthouse and Social Center.

1. Presidential Residence

The Presidential Residence is located on an area of 1000 meters square on the southwestern hill of the land. The foundation area is 820 meters square and the total construction area is 2,643 meters square. The plan of the structure is composed of four blocks and a centralized hall, which unites these blocks.

The structure of the main entrance hall, which unites the four blocks, was planned with an appropriate function. This hall was arranged at the entrances to the blocks and opens onto a central courtyard and to the Bosphorus from below the bridged oval dining room in front of this courtyard. The bottom garden story, the basement story where the kitchens are located and the roof terraces are connected with service staircases.

The reception and entertainment salons were planned in the reception salons unit, which has the most important function of the Presidential residence. These salons, which are spread over two stories and are connected with a centralized staircase and elevator, open to nature on all façades. They open to the Anatolian shore of the Bosphorus on the front façade, to the reception areas and pools, which are organized on the two plateaus on the northern façade and to inner courtyards ornamented with tall trees in the other directions.

The reception salons are connected to the study with a bridge that passes among the trees and to the 20-person dining room located at the center of the front façade.

One of the four blocks is the block where the main bedrooms are located. It was designed so that it could be the private block of the President. The second is another special residence designed independently and includes the bedrooms of the persons close to the President. The third block is composed of the reception salons where discussions are held with foreign guests. The fourth block is the study block, which is connected to the reception salons. There are courtyards opening in four directions where the green texture and old trees are concentrated in an entirety, which is composed of the four blocks and the centralized hall.

2. Guesthouse for the Foreign Heads of State

The Guesthouse for the Foreign Heads of State is a structure located on an area of 600 meters square on the southwestern hill of the land. The foundation area is 596 meters square and the construction area is 2,100 meters square. This structure was designed as an extension of the Presidential Residence for accommodating the foreign heads of state.

Some areas that are not found at the Presidential Residence, such as the Conference Hall and Press Conference Hall, are within this structure. The salons at the Guesthouse have been planned to be used as dining rooms for the Presidential Residence when needed. The structure is composed of sections, such as a meeting hall unit, salon block, a study unit for visiting heads of state and bedrooms.

3. Reception Areas

The reception areas are located at two levels between the Presidential Residence and the Guesthouse by being spread to the plateaus. Receptions for 3-4,000 persons can be organized in these areas. It is supported with a service structure under the terrace in a manner that can provide services for this capacity.

4. Social Center Building

The Social Center Building is located on the Kalender Hill immediately to the left of the main entrance to the Presidential Villa. It meets the social center needs of the high level personnel of the Presidency and especially completes the needs for a common area of the Guesthouse building. It also provides services to the foreign guests with this attribute.

The structure acquires a different dimension with the unique works of art, which are placed in the open areas, of the talented sculptors. There is an open and closed café, administration, exhibition and sports hall in a circular plan, which is developed around the structure.

5. Guesthouse

The Guesthouse is a structure that was designed for the high-level personnel of the Presidency and the high-level officials who accompany the foreign heads of state. The two story structure is located between the Guesthouse for the Foreign Heads of State and the Social Center. The building includes a total of 12 suites and 4 each two person bedrooms, which are located around a centralized hall and gallery, which opens to the sky with a skylight.

The entrance building, which is composed of two small blocks on both sides of the main entrance, and the axis that descends vertically to the Bosphorus from the entrance square that is organized for the landing of a helicopter at the Kalender Hill of the Presidential Villa, is connected with eaves that pass over the road. The rooms in these small blocks were planned for the security units where the soldiers and police are located.


The Villa was constructed by the Huber Brothers, the weapons brokers, who represented the German Mauser and Krupp companies at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The Villa is also referred to with the same name today. The Huber Brothers preferred this villa, especially due to the fact that it was close to Germany’s summer embassy building. When the Huber Brothers returned to their country after the Second Constitutional Monarchy, the ownership of the Villa passed until 1932 to the Egyptian Princess Kadriye and her husband Mahmut Hayri Pasha. After this date, the Villa was donated to the Notre Dame de Sion School and the title deed was registered on behalf of Therese Clement and Marie Aimee Odent.

The Villa and land, which were inherited by the heirs of Clement and Odent, were sold in 1973 to the Boğaziçi Construction and Tourism Corporation. It was nationalized in 1985 and allocated to the Presidential General Secretariat.

The restoration of the historical statue groups, the façade and the roof of the residence and the landscaping were made between 1997-2000 (*).

Architectural Structure

The Huber Villa is a residence composed of two buildings connected to each other. It is an entirety with a garage for phaetons, formed of a stable and carriage sections made with great care, a Villa on a Terrace, a Hunting Villa, a greenhouse and a plant cover formed of valuable trees, statue groups, walls and niches to the north of the residence.

The architect and construction date of the first building are not known exactly. However, some additions made to the main building in the second stage were constructed by the Italian Architect Raimondo D’Aranco, who was in İstanbul in that period and put his signature on important works of art. D’Aranco’s arrangements at the Huber Villa acquired its present-day monumental appearance and a unique perspective.

Economist-writer Orhan Erdenen, who defined the architectural style as art nouveau, expresses as follows a feature, which separates this villa from the other waterside mansions at the Bosphorus and makes it almost unique in the world: “Its architecture is a mixture of the Chinese, Indian, Persian, Islamic, Ottoman and European styles. It is almost as though the architects from different nations completed the structures by working in turns…”

The Huber Villa, besides its architectural features, still preserves the characteristic of being one of the most extensive green areas of the Bosphorus with its grove of 34 hectares. (84.02 acres)

(*) Architect Coşkun Karadeniz carried out the coordination of the design and implementation at every dimension of the project with the restoration activity processes of the Tarabya Presidential Campus between 1997-2000. In this section, use was made of the study by Coşkun Karadeniz titled, “The Presidential Tarabya Villa: Urban Design Project/New Buildings Aimed at Preservation”.

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