” … modern architecture has garnered great results for Iranian talents such as Leila Araghian, whose design of Tehran’s Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge took home the prestigious 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture …”
– Hooman Koliji, Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Maryland
Why Iran Is Opening Its Doors to Bold Architecture
By Nick Mafi for the Architectural Digest Posted December 8, 2016
With 21 UNESCO World Heritage sites already within the country’s borders, the modern architecture movement appears to be making up for lost time.
For much of the world, the image of Iran is hardened by its politics. Yet a visit today to the capital of Tehran might change your perspective. Of course, the Iran we see in the news is still there, … but beneath that increasingly fragile veneer … is a growing sense of global curiosity and national pride. This cultural shift is especially signaled by the country’s flourishing of modern architecture.
“Right now, the massive trend in Iran is to design and build structures with the goal of being recognized by the media,” says Hooman Koliji, associate professor of architecture, planning, and preservation at the University of Maryland. “Therefore, there is an implicit effort and competition to create forms that look different and, dare I say, sexy.” This approach to modern architecture has garnered great results for Iranian talents such as Leila Araghian, whose design of Tehran’s Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge took home the prestigious 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, bestowed every three years. Certain elements of Araghian’s bold, modern design (pictured above) incorporate motifs of Iranian architecture dating back centuries, such as the Si-o-se Pol (pictured below). With its close proximity to the spectacular Alborz mountain range, the Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge became an instant viewing gallery for the building’s natural surroundings.
As for the future of Iranian architecture? It’s still a bit hazy. Since Iran signed a nuclear deal with six other countries (including the United States), the economy appears to be moving in the right direction. And if such structures as the Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge or the RYRA Studio ski resort are any indication, the nation’s architecture appears to be following.
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Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali