A History Of Ottoman Architecture Godfrey Goodwin


Godfrey Goodwin is an acclaimed historian and archaeologist known for his insights into Ottoman architecture. His career began in the 1950s when he first started spending time in Turkey to study the building styles of the period. He traveled extensively, visiting over 30 sites and architectural wonders. After returning to England, he published pioneering works on the subject, expanding his knowledge and helping to establish a long-lasting legacy for the architecture of the Ottoman Empire.
Goodwin was among the first to reverse the contemporary notion that Ottoman architecture was backward and unoriginal. He argued that the design of the buildings during this period was modern, sophisticated and heavily influenced by other cultures. He also showed that the built environment of the Ottoman Empire was an important reflection of the ruling family and its history. In his studies, Goodwin demonstrated the complexity and sophistication of the structures, particularly the grandiose mosques and aristocratic palaces that were constructed.

Recognition and Achievements

Goodwin’s work has gone on to be widely studied and discussed. He has been celebrated by the academic and archaeological community, with many citing his contribution to the understanding of Turkish architecture as indispensable. His books and papers on the subject, such as ‘Studies in Ottoman Architecture’, have been regarded as essential texts for anyone wanting to research the architectural component of the Ottoman Empire’s history. Goodwin received many accolades for his work, including an OBE in 1976 for services to archaeology and Turkey.
Goodwin’s influence on modern architecture has also been significant. Many of his ideas and innovations have been adopted by contemporary architects, who have continued the tradition of Ottoman architecture in the present day.

Research Techniques

Goodwin’s studies went far beyond simply looking at the buildings and their designs. He used a number of techniques to further his knowledge of Ottoman architecture, such as researching texts and documents, interrogating existing sources and talking to locals in the places he visited. He was also keen to explore the more obscure angles of Ottoman architecture, such as the various layers of public and private life that were inscribed into the structures.
Goodwin was keen to understand the broader social context of the architecture as well. He looked at the political and religious changes that had taken place during this period and how this had impacted on the buildings. In doing so, he made sweeping conclusions about the broader typologies of Ottoman architecture, which gave his work an added depth and scientific basis.


Goodwin was not alone in his vision – other contemporaries, such as Robert Byron and John Docker, produced works in a similar vein. Like Goodwin, they looked to challenge existing notions and expand the knowledge of the period. This group of leading historians and archaeologists helped to shape a new view of Ottoman architecture and help rescue it from being forgotten and overlooked.


Godfrey Goodwin’s work has been an inspiration to many, particularly to those looking to uncover the hidden beauty and brilliance of the Ottoman Empire’s history. Goodwin helped pioneer a new and more open understanding of the buildings and typologies of the period, which has become the basis for much of our contemporary knowledge. His research and conclusions have been widely accepted and embraced, with many citing him as the authoritative voice on Ottoman architecture. His influence has been further cemented by his scholarly papers and works, which have provided a solid foundation upon which others can continue to build.


Godfrey Goodwin’s influence on Ottoman architecture and its appreciation have been considerable. After centuries of contempt and misunderstanding, Goodwin’s research helped to revive the architectural heritage of the era for future generations. Not only did he bring a new level of insight into the aesthetics and typologies of the period, but also a deep appreciation for the wider social and political setting in which they were created. Goodwin’s work stands as a monument to the beauty and complexity of Ottoman architecture and has left a lasting legacy of understanding and appreciation.

Influence on Contemporary Architecture

Goodwin’s work has had a direct and lasting impact on contemporary architecture across the world. His research has helped architects better understand the aesthetic and structural principles of Ottoman buildings and how they can be applied to modern structures. His insights into typology and scale have been particularly influential, allowing modern architects to recreate Ottoman-style buildings in their own designs.

Influence on Architecture Education

Goodwin’s work has also had an influence on architecture education. His groundbreaking research has that the basis for teaching materials used in many leading universities and colleges, helping to teach the next generation of architects the subtle craft of Ottoman architectural design.

Conclusion Of His Work

Godfrey Goodwin’s groundbreaking research into Ottoman architecture inspired the entire academic community and changed the way we view the period. He demonstrated not only the beauty and complexity of the buildings, but also the importance of the social and political contexts in which they were constructed. Goodwin’s work has been an inspiration to many, and his influence on modern architecture is still felt. He will remain an important figure in Ottoman architecture, and his legacy of understanding and appreciation will be remembered for generations to come.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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