alp galip captures cyprus' first social housing complex, samanbahce

Jul 18, 2021

geographically in the center of the world but moreover in the heart of the island, cyprus’ first social housing complex samanbahce is captured through alp galip’s drone lense. with construction starting in the 1930s by the british and completed in 1955, the project can be found driving through the old streets of the walled capital, lefkosia or more commonly known as nicosia. in a traditional neighborhood on the northerly kyrenia avenue, samanbahce makes a strong impact on the cultural, architectural and historic values of the country.

as the years go by, samanhahce’s stance as the first mass-housing area on the island gains more and more importance. following turkey’s occupation in 1974, a buffer zone was created that extends across the country, cutting through the financial capital. the occupied north has faced waves of urban and social decay, where low income and a marginalized population has led to buildings being abandoned. as a result, the turkish/cypriot walled city has and is seeing absence of private investment and concentrations of deterioration. this makes samanbahce a sustainable indicator turning socio-political consequences into a charming residential quarter.

alp galip’s photographs capture the geometric, pattern-like mud-brick houses with red tile roofs that span over 2,000 sqm. through and around the colorful shrubs and flowers, five rows of 72 separate units offer 153 residents a  picturesque forever home. the complex includes a central fountain, a common parking space and a children’s playground. samanbahce’s blue windows and white walls revitalize the area, improving the overall quality and preservation of the cultural heritage.

project info:

name: samanbahce

location: nicosia, cyprus

area: 2000 sqm

year of completion: 1955

photographer: alp galip/@alpgalip