Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Architectural Treasures of Iran

What we have here is a collection of contemporary Iranian architecture. Like most articles about life in the Islamic Republic — whether it’s about the politics, economy, or culture — you won’t get very far without bumping up against Iran’s bête noir: international sanctions. In response to Iran’s uncompromising pursuit of nuclear power, the world community has proceeded to enact the toughest restrictions it has ever imposed on a single nation. From the mid-2000s onward, oil exports, international financial transactions, and industrial imports — to name just a few facets of the Iranian economy — have been dramatically limited. The sanctions are one of the defining aspects of Iran today and precisely that which make its architecture interesting to study.

To paraphrase the introduction of a popular economics textbook: “Architecture is building design under conditions of scarcity.” With the specter of international sanctions looming so ominously over anything built in the past ten years, the idea of shortage, limits, and isolation becomes an interesting lens through which we can examine a project. For some, it is overt: the SIPAN and Kahrizak residential buildings began as abandoned construction ventures, which were then referred to the studios of RYRA and CAAT. Others, such as the Villa in Darvishabad, hark back to a time when “international influence” meant good things — in this case the purity of Le Corbusier. One can also observe an inward turn to the region’s architectural heritage, as in the ornamental windows of the Shahkaram Office building or the resurgence of stone cladding. As the sanctions are defining Iran, its architects have risen to the challenge.

Read more here: http://architizer.com/blog/iran-collection/

Related Article: http://www.iranchamber.com/architecture/articles/iranian_architecture_today1.php

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