Letter from Tehran: the residential projects giving Iran’s capital a facelift
Fom rotating stacked sunrooms to latticed façades conjured from brick and wood, a crop of increasingly sophisticated residences has bloomed across Tehran within recent years to rival the capital’s bulging concrete skyline. This boom of residential projects populating Iran’s capital is predominantly at the hands of local architecture and design studios founded within the past decade. With a savoir-faire for the newest rendering software and 3D printing techniques, fueled by an ambitious vision for the future of their city, these young architects are forging the new era of construction in Tehran.
While many are quick to credit Iran’s so-called ‘architectural awakening’ to the recent political and economic shifts witnessed by the capital – including the 2013 election of reformist President Hassan Rouhani and the lifting of economic sanctions in 2016 – this activity is occurring predominantly within the private sector, with the first large-scale public project, the Taibat Bridge, only securing funding last summer. The direct evolution of residential projects in Tehran is indicative of a powerful metamorphosis of life and culture within Iran’s capital city as it charges into the 21st century.
This ‘new localisation’ of Tehran’s architecture industry may yet soothe some growing pains of the nine-million-strong capital. Not only can the born-and-raised architects source the best local suppliers for construction materials, but they also possess a precise understanding for what roles Tehran desperately needs its architecture to perform, and a dogged investment in the future of the city to will it into being. This consciousness, and conscience, will no doubt become increasingly beneficial as more public sector projects are given the green light.
Alongside the near-universal use of locally-sourced, sustainable materials, hi-tech projects like TDC Office’s Saba House also incorporate solar panels on the rooftop collect water to irrigate wall-gardens between screens, while Next Office’s Sharifi-ha House rotates upon itself to generate different levels of visibility and voyeurism. These residences aren’t just beautiful; they’re alive. Tehran’s newest generation of architects is conjuring a powerful vision for the capital where houses become ecologies, literally paving the way, brick by brick, for a more integrated public and private space that aligns the traditional with the avant-garde.