Tomb, monument, and temple-based architectural foundations of the cenotaph building type, which etymologically means an empty tomb, paves the way for it to be read as a part of the ongoing production of monumental and symbolic structures since the first ages. As Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799) stated, cenotaphs are buildings loaded with semantic and symbolic references bearing the memory of the person they are dedicated to. When evaluated in this context, the cenotaph typology, as approached by Boullée, has a specific potential for discussion with its multilayered aspect, which includes rational, empirical, and symbolic existence, and is important in terms of reading the sub-texts that form the basis of his paper architecture.
Throughout the 18th century, all social, political, economic, scientific, and cultural developments that caused the culture of science and modernization, which would gradually push the limits of envisagement based on form and materials, affected all kinds of design and production activities carried out in this period. Paper architecture, as a field where innovative ideas based on envisagement can find a response, is also important in terms of being able to read the context of the period. Within this framework, the aim of the study is to examine Boullées approach to the cenotaph building type, to read the sub-texts of his paper architecture, and to trace the multilayered structure of the transformation process that occurred with the effect of Enlightenment. This reading was carried out through three basic frameworks defined within the scope of the study: context, form, and technique that include the social, cultural, political, economic, technical, etc. sub-texts of the period.
In this context first it has examined that the etymological origin of the word cenotaph, its semantic expansions, and the historical transformation of the cenotaph building type with its meaning and importance in Boullées paper architecture. The discussion on Boullées cenotaph structures was carried out within the framework of in parallel with the examination of the change and cenotaph building type foundations in architectural theory and practice of the 18th century. It is revealed within the framework of his design approach that the relationship with the manners of life and architectural understanding of the 18th century Europe, where Boullée produced his architecture.
Throughout with an evaluation that includes readings on context, technique, and form, it is revealed that the architects understanding of design, which includes rational, also empirical (with nature-based references) and symbolic subtexts together. While conveying the examples of mausoleums and cenotaphs, on the one hand, he emphasizes the innovative aspect of his forms and compositions, reflecting his rational point of view, also the references that comes from nature itself and on the other hand, he draws attention to the symbolic and mystical aspects of these designs. In this respect, Boullées design approach could be read together with the multilayered subtexts of the context in which it was produced.
As a result, while the multi-dimensional context of the 18th century, on the one hand, based on the industrialization and Enlightenment which paved the way for modernization, strengthened through scientific and technical studies, has a rational quality where standardization and efficiency is essential; on the other hand, maintains an understanding of symbolic, mystical, and bourgeois-based ostentatiousness.
It is possible to read the traces of this reformist approach, which has based on an abstract and rational symbolism also has an empirical background, with the innovative attitude of its context through Boullées envisagement-based architecture. The rational and social path that opened with his approach to the cenotaph building type in the context of revolutionary paper architecture is substantial in that is an early example of the new understanding of scale, rational criticism, and sociability in the field of architecture which performed today. Also, it is important in terms of emphasizing the necessity of understanding the architectural design together with its sub-texts, include the contextual, technical, and form-based discussions of the period in which was produced.
Etimolojik kelime karşılığı boş mezar anlamına gelen kenotaf (cenotaph) yapı tipinin mezar, anıt ve tapınağa dayalı mimari temelleri, bu yapı tipinin ilk çağlardan itibaren süregelen anıtsal ve sembolik yapı üretiminin bir parçası olarak okunmasının yolunu açar. Kenotaflar Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799)nin de belirttiği üzere adanmış oldukları kişinin anısını taşıyan, anlamsal ve sembolik göndermelerle yüklü yapılardır. Bu bağlamda değerlendirildiğinde Boulléenin ele aldığı şekliyle kenotaf yapı tipi ussal, ampirik ve sembolik bir varoluşu içeren çok yönlü yapısıyla özgül bir tartışma potansiyeli barındırmakta ve Boulléenin kâğıt mimarisini oluşturan alt metinlerin okunabilmesi açısından önem taşımaktadır.
Bu doğrultuda çalışma kapsamında öncelikle, Boulléenin mimarlık üretimini gerçekleştirdiği 18. yüzyıl Avrupasının yaşam biçimi ve mimarlık anlayışı, Boulléenin tasarım anlayışıyla ilişkisi çerçevesinde irdelenecektir. Ardından Boulléenin kenotaf yapıları üzerinden sürdürülecek, anlam, teknik ve forma dair okumaları içeren bir değerlendirme ile mimarın sembolik, ampirik ve ussal alt metinleri bir arada içeren tasarım anlayışının ortaya koyulması hedeflenmektedir.