del Friuli, 1857 –
renowned for his building designs in the style of Art Nouveau.
He was the chief palace architect to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II
for 16 years.
D’Aronco was born 1857 in the
provincial town of
Gemona del Friuli,
near the Austrian
border, at that time part of the Austrian Empire)
into a family of builders for several generations. He completed
the Gemona Arts and Trades School after the primary school. At
the age of 14, D’Aronco attended the Johanneum Baukunde in Graz,
Austria in 1871, a school for construction famous for training
which still exists today. Already knowledgeable after years of
practical experience with his father, he proved an outstanding
student, and his teachers urged him to study architecture. After
his return to Italy with his resolve, D’Aronco enrolled at a
summer school of design in Gemona, winning first prize in the
competition, which he entered upon completing the second course.
D’Aronco then volunteered for
military service and worked as a
engineer in Turin,
which gave him experience in timber construction. Upon discharge,
he entered the Venice
Academy of Fine Arts,
Academia di Belli Arti, where the teaching was not confined to
any particular school of thought, enabling D’Aronco, whose ideas
had not been shaped by any previous architectural education, to
experiment freely with form and style. At the Academy, the ideas
of Camillo Boito
were dominant in design classes, which taught him, how to
combine existing environment with other sources. At the end of
the year, when he was still only 19 years old and full of
enthusiasm, he was awarded first prize for architectural
Raimondo d’Aronco’s rise to fame
in Italy began with design competition for a monument to King
Vittorio Emmanuele II
to be built in Rome.
His design won the silver medal. Similar achievements at the
competitions for the 1887 Venice Exhibition, the First Turin
Exhibition of Architecture in 1890 and the Palermo National
Exhibition in 1891 made him one of Italy’s most promising young
In 1893, he was invited to
Istanbul to prepare designs for the Istanbul Exhibition of
Agriculture and Industry to be held in 1896. He arrived in
August 1893, and had completed the project within a few months.
Abdul Hamid II
approved the designs, and the foundations were being laid when
devastated the city. One of its victims was the exhibition,
which had to be scrapped.
But in the wake of the earthquake,
the need for an architect of Raimondo d’Aronco’s standing became
even more urgent, as a rebuilding program got underway. He was
first charged with restoring damaged monuments in the old city,
and went on to design scores of buildings for the government and
The Istanbul period in his
professional career only came to an end with the deposition of
Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1909. These 16 years were to be the most
productive years of his life, and represented the height of his
D'Aronco designed and built a
large number of buildings of various types in Istanbul. The
stylistic features of his works can be classified in three
reinterpretation of the Ottoman forms, Art Nouveau and Vienna Secession.
Art Nouveau was first introduced to Istanbul by d'Aronco, and
his designs reveal that he drew freely on Byzantine
and Ottomana decoration for his inspiration. D'Aronco made
creative use of the forms and motifs of Islamic architecture
to create modern buildings for the city.
The buildings, which he designed
at Yıldız Palace, were
in style. The best known of these are Yildiz Palace pavilions
and the Yildiz Ceramic Factory (1893-1907), the Janissary
Museum and the Ministry of Agriculture (1898), the fountain of
Abdulhamit II (1901), Karakoy Mosque (1903), the mausoleum for
the African religious leader Sheikh Zafir
(1905-1906), tomb within the cemetery of Fatih Mosque
(1905), Cemil Bey House at Kireçburnu (1905), clock tower for
the Hamidiye-i Etfal Hospital (1906).
Casa Botter (1900-1901), a
seven-story workshop and residence building in
which he designed for the sultan’s Dutch
fashion tailor M. Jean Botter, represents a turning point in D’Aronco’s
architecture. This Art Nouveau design in the avant-garde
mood of the period compounded D’Aronco’s already enviable
reputation. While living in Graz at fourteen, he had also found
the chance to follow the Austrian Secession more closely than
most of his compatriots.
Around the same time, he
won the Turin International Exhibition of Decorative Arts design
competition, which carried his fame into the international
sphere. The tiny mescid (little mosque) of Merzifonlu, which
until modernization projects swept it away in 1958, was another
work of comparable note.
Among the numerous private
houses, which Raimondo d’Aronco designed, is the Huber House
built for the German
weapon traders, Joseph and Baron Auguste Huber brothers of an
aristocratic and wealthy family. Since 1985 the official
Istanbul residence of the Turkish president.
He also built a palace for
the sultan’s daughter Nazime Sultan, but this is no longer
standing. The summer residence for the Italian embassy (1905) in
Tarabya is one of the most striking contributions to Istanbul’s
architectural heritage by D’Aronco. Planned as a classic Italian
palace, the building opens directly onto the sea like a
house, together with an Italian type interior space. Broad eaves
typical of Istanbul vernacular architecture cast deep shade over
the terrace. The skilled welding of two cultures testifies to
both D’Aronco’s interpretive skill and his affection for
The Esposizione Internazionale
d'Arte Decorativa Moderna, the International Exposure of Turin,
was held 1902 and featured many works in the Art Nouveau
including the main exhibition building, or
in a Secessionist style, as well as the pavilion devoted to art
photography designed by D’Aronco. He presented also a project
for the building of the Regional Exposure of Udine of 1903.
In the region of his hometown,
there are still many of his works, including the
main cemetery in Cividale (1889), the family tomb in Udine
(1898) and the Town Hall in Udine (1911-1930).
Raimondo D’Aronco died 1932
in Italy. A state institute in Gemona, ISIS Istituto Statale di
Istruzione Superiore, is named after him.
from Wikipedia Biography