Sixty years of art from the Iranian-born artist Siah Armajani are now on display at the Met Breuer, highlighting nearly 100 pieces of quietly revolutionary collage and architectural models. Exile, the refugee crisis, and the role of public art are all addressed overtly, but not directly, in Follow This Line. The show charts Armajani’s trajectory as an artist throughout the 1960s and ’70s and his use of magic spells, propaganda speeches, public art installations, computer-generated graphics, and other ephemera to create a “language of exile.” Of particular note are the models from the 1974-75 series Dictionary for Building, of which only 150 pieces remain from what was originally thousands of compartmentalized building details that sought to create a visual vocabulary of architecture through strange, nonsensical combinations of features. Follow This Line is a phrase that constantly reappears in Armajani's work and evokes the public nature and "claiming" of urban space—it refers to the way children walking home from school would drag their pencils across walls on the way. Running concurrently with Follow This Line is an installation of Bridge Over Tree in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Empire Fulton Ferry lawn, the first staging of that piece since 1970. That example of built infrastructure deferring to nature will remain on display and open to the public until September 29, 2019.
Posts tagged with "Iran":
New York practice Hariri & Hariri Architecture, DPC—along with local architect Navid Ghasemi—has recently completed a 160-foot-tall office tower in the heart of the Iranian capital of Tehran. The twelve story tower's main attraction is its double skinned facade. Vast swathes of glass comprise the exterior's inner layer while an eye-catching shading device gives the building its pronounced aesthetic. Using aluminum panels fabricated with a laser cutter, the signature facade emulates Islamic iconography found in mandalas. The motif comes from the Persian symbolism of paradise, depicted by the geometric intersection of a circle and square. On the Alvand Tower's facade, this imagery has been abstracted and repeated, wrapping around the building's orthogonal form. Come sun-down, the high-rise flaunts a glowing pink facade, with the bright coloring shining from a vast array of LED accent lighting tucked into the building's second skin's cavity. The result of this inverses the facade's image, but its message remains the same. Geometric openings, once silhouettes beneath the aluminum paneling, are illuminated, allowing the blue tint of the glasswork and interior to mimic the blues often found in Islamic artwork found on ancient Persian domes. With the main structure seemingly lightweight, the tower is attached a much heavier, marble-clad service core on the north side which attends to much of the building's circulatory needs. Meanwhile, at the tower's base, space for retail facilitates public engagement with the building.
Sstudiomm, an Iranian architecture office founded by Hossein Naghavi, has developed a digital brick laying technique and an open-source DIY kit for architects interested in the system. The project, titled Negative Precision, is the outcome of Naghavi’s independent research into parametrically derived brick laying techniques. Using Kohler and Gramazio’s 2006 robotically programmed wall as a departure point, sstudiomm sought out alternative methods to reproduce the same effect with a limited budget, “in order to make the luxurious reachable for a greater group.” Located in Iran’s historic city of Damavand (roughly 50 miles west of Tehran), the project pulls from traditional brick patterning in the city, most notably Shebeli Tower which dates back to the 10th century. The architects digitally modeled an “X” shaped form that references the decorative brick tower, then worked with Grasshopper to produce a script varying brick rotation. The outcome of the script is essentially a stack bond brick veneer wall where bricks rotate within a calculated 18 degree range to register a patterned "X" form across the facade. Sstudiomm confidently calls this the “simplest grasshopper code ever.” From the digital model, a series of precise stencil templates are produced from lasercut stock aluminum plate. In the field, a plum string helps to establish a start point for each course of bricks. Theoretically by adjusting the reference surface in the script, a new textural patterning will be generated, offering a customizable visual identity for other architects. Sstudiomm says the most significant challenge for the undulated brick veneer wall was the handling of gaps between bricks, which vary by almost an inch. As a brick rotates outward, a larger gap is produced between neighboring bricks. “The gaps are never seen from the front view and from almost all of the perspectives they are hidden by staggering bricks around them. These gaps are providing the financial possibility of having a parametric wall built without a robot.” Another challenge for the project team was the dimensional stability of the brick units. For this facade, three different colors and dimensions (from 7.5 inches to 8 inches) are incorporated due to a handmade manufacturing process that yields variation based on heat exposure from location in the kiln. Naghavi says the brick laying method was able to accommodate this diversity by prioritizing a clean starting and ending point at the corners of the facade. “You need to align the outer corner of the brick with inside of the stencil, and that’s all that matters. This will result in a change in the width of the vertical bonds which does not matter because they already are a mess.” Negative Precision challenges a “surplus precision” of digital fabrication, which typically drives up project cost. “A considerable part of building industry functions with lower precision, and uses production methods of the last century. In other words, digital technology is a luxury, though it may not be revealed in the first glance,” said Naghavi in an interview with AN. “Precision fetishism is generally interesting as it is a phenomenon everybody is struggling with in some level, whether in buildings or raising a kid. Apparently as a group of mammals we like organizing, and we are very capable of liking it too much.” By allowing for some degree of error in the translation between his digital model and the built form, Naghavi has prioritized economy over precision, embracing a "lo-fi" approach to digital fabrication: “I avoided an accurate 3-D model, not only for my own laziness, but also for generalizing the design method and unbinding it from the 3-D model. The builder is left on site with a new tool.” Naghavi said his work actually consists of three parallel projects: a building, a method, and a paper. “I think the more we move away from the matter [the built work] toward words, the result becomes more important as it will have a longer life.” Naghavi says the paper has taken more time than the building. “This brick project is a very small outcome of the strategies discussed in the paper.” To continue the discussion, another significant artifact of the project—the 17 lasercut aluminum stencils—are up for sale on sstudiomm's website, which offers a DIY kit geared towards design professionals.
Sharifi-Ha House, designed by Tehran-based firm Next Office, comprises three pods on turntables to respond to changing seasons and functions. German turntable manufacturer, Bumat, modeled the technology after its industry-leading platforms for theater sets and car exhibitions. The architecture firm explained, "The sensational, spatial qualities of the interiors, as well as the formal configuration of its exterior, directly respond to the displacement of turning boxes that lead the building volume to become open or closed, obtaining introverted or extroverted character." Each pod has a different function: breakfast room on the first level, guest room on the second, and a home office on the third. The floors are then divided into "front and back" with a void in the center, ensuring natural light floods the house, even when the front rooms are turned closed. Bridges and internal balconies line the central void to create views between rooms and floors. The ground level has a 10 foot setback for a shallow, glass-bottomed pool, which floods the basement with natural light. The two basement levels include a gym, pool, and sauna. The firm described, "Public activities all happen on the first and second floors, and the family’s private life takes place on the third and fourth floors," where bedrooms and bathrooms are arranged around a living room. The project title, "Sharifi-Ha House," translates to "Sharif's family," named after the clients. Alireza Taghaboni, CEO of Next Office, explained, "This kind of naming is used for old Iranian mansions which had summer rooms and winter rooms. As we thought our project as the modern version of these, we named the house this way."
From an Islamic cemetery in Austria to a 330-meter bridge in North Africa, the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture each address a concern within their culture to improve quality of life. Awarded every three years since its 1977 initiation, the competition grants a collective $1 million to a number of projects that exist in areas with a significant Muslim population. Each project must be culturally receptive and increased merit is given to those that use local resources in ways that may motivate analogous ventures in the future. The 2013 Aga Khan Award winners are as follows: Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan From AK Award and Studio Tamassociati:
The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery consists of a hospital with 63 beds and 300 local staff, with a separate Medical Staff Accommodation Compound sleeping 150 people. The centre is built as a pavilion in a garden with both primary buildings organised around large courtyards. The hospital block is of the highest technical standard with complex functions including three operating theatres optimally placed in relation to the diagnostics laboratories and ward. Mixed modes of ventilation and natural light enable all spaces to be homely and intimate yet secure. Seeing the abandoned containers that had been used to transport construction materials for the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, the architects were inspired to reuse them to house the centre’s staff. Ninety 20-foot containers form the accommodation block, each unit consisting of 1.5 containers, with a bathroom and small veranda facing the garden. Seven 40-foot containers are occupied by a cafeteria and services. Insulation is through an ‘onion system’ of 5-centimetre internal insulating panels and an outer skin comprising a ventilated metal roof and bamboo blinds. A solar farm powers the water-heating system.Revitalization of Birzeit Historic Centre in Birzeit, Palestine From AK Award and Riwaq - Centre for Architectural Conservation:
This five-year project, part of a rehabilitation master plan initiated by Riwaq, has transformed the decaying town of Birzeit, created employment through conservation and revived vanishing traditional crafts in the process. Community involvement was encouraged from the start, including local NGOs, the private sector, owners, tenants and users, all working with the municipality. Both historic buildings and public spaces have been rehabilitated into community activity hubs. Replaced sections of wall remain distinguishable from the original structures, without harming architectural coherence. Lost features were replaced where there was clear evidence for their former appearance, such as floor tiles with Palestinian motifs. Affordable traditional techniques and local materials were used throughout. Where no historical models were available, new elements were made in a bold contemporary spirit.Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project in Morocco From AK Award and Marc Mimram Architecture:
Linking Rabat and Salé to form an urban hub, the Hassan II Bridge and its associated access works relieve both cities’ historic sites and populations of atmospheric and sound pollution. The design respects the overwhelming horizontality of the built and natural environments, allowing Rabat’s 12th-century Hassan Tower to retain its vertical dominance of the skyline. The concrete supports, in subtly varying arced forms, are deliberately delicate and lace-like in appearance. Besides providing transport connections, the structure also offers an urban roof over the alluvial plain of the Bouregreg River, creating a protected public space for markets and leisure activities.Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar in Tabriz, Iran From AK Award and ICHTO East Azerbaijan Office:
The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex was officially protected in 1975 and has been covered by special stewardship measures until 2010, when it was added to the World Heritage List. The complex covers 27 hectares with over 5.5 kilometres of covered bazaars. Three different protection areas have been established (a nominated area, a buffer zone and a landscape zone), subject to special regulations incorporated into the planning instruments. The management framework is based on the participation of the ‘bazaaris’, together with municipal authorities and ICHTO’s Tabriz Bazaar Base. Since 2000, numerous complexes within the bazaar have been rehabilitated with the participation of the owners and tenants. Infrastructure has been improved and public facilities have been built.The Tabriz Bazaar is a unique example of urban conservation and development project in which heritage plays a catalyst role in rejuvenating the tangible and intangible memory of the historic city of Tabriz.Islamic Cemetery in Altach, Austria From AK Award and Bernardo Bader Architects:
The Cemetery serves Vorarlberg, the industrialized westernmost state of Austria, where over eight percent of the population is Muslim. It finds inspiration in the primordial garden, and is delineated by roseate concrete walls in an alpine setting, and consists of five staggered, rectangular grave-site enclosures, and a structure housing assembly and prayer rooms. The principal materials used were exposed reinforced concrete for the walls and oak wood for the ornamentation of the entrance facade and the interior of the prayer space. The visitor is greeted by and must pass through the congregation space with its wooden latticework in geometric Islamic patterns. The space includes ablution rooms and assembly rooms in a subdued palette that give onto a courtyard. The prayer room on the far side of the courtyard reprises the lattice-work theme with Kufic calligraphy in metal mesh on the ‘qibla’ wall.
At its 37th session held from June 16 to 27, 2013 in Phnom Pehnh and Siem Reap-Angkor, Cambodia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 19 sites to the World Heritage List. The new additions bring the list to 981 noteworthy destinations. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of exceptional universal significance and satisfy at least one out of ten selection criteria, which are frequently improved by the Committee to reflect the advancement of the World Heritage notion itself. The following cultural sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. · Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, Qatar · Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora, Ukraine · Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, Germany · Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China · Fujisan, Japan · Golestan Palace, Iran · Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India · Historic Centre of Agadez, Niger · Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong, Korea · Levuka Historical Port Town, Fiji · Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Italy · Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada · University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia, Portugal · Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, Poland & Ukraine · El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico · Mount Etna, Italy · Namib Sand Sea, Namibia · Tajik National Park, Tajikistan · Xinjiang Tianshan, China
I first remembered reading about it in The Economist, arching an impressed eyebrow, and then forgetting about it. After all, this was before the Iranian elections had even taken place, let alone led the country into its current near-revolt. But there, at the heart of it all, was an architect. Today, Archinect reminded us of Mir Hussein Moussavi's pre-political profession, including a link to some of his work, which we've included here. According to the Times:
After stepping down [as prime minister] in 1989, Mr. Moussavi kept a hand in politics, serving on Iran’s Expediency Council. But most of his time was devoted to architecture and painting. His chief influences include the Italian architect Renzo Piano, said a close relative. “He takes some elements of modern Japanese architecture, and American postmodern, and then puts them in the context of Iranian architecture,” the relative said.The Financial Times reports that Moussavi "graduated in architecture from Tehran and Shahid Beheshti universities." According to Wikipedia, he received his BA from the former school in 1969, though Iran Tracker says that is the year he received his MA. Prior to the election, the Washington Post described him as "a worldly intellectual who is not hungry for power but who thinks that Iran's bad economy and international isolation require him to try to effect change." In its report, the Times says of Moussavi's political ascent, "Mr. Moussavi began his political career as a hard-liner and a favorite of the revolution’s architect, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini." The term, as far as we can tell, is used figuratively. Perhaps a mistake, given that the larger story is actually about a real, practicing architect. Or, it could speak to the true power architects hold. After all, Moussavi is not the first (major) politician to serve time at a drawing board first.