Tehran, Iran

Used for the conservation and promotion of Iran’s cultural heritage, this centre houses workshops for master artisans and their apprentices, as well as space for designers catering to contemporary needs. In this space, artisans collaborate to create new products and contribute to the conservation, revival, and advancement of traditional Persian fine arts and crafts. The centre also includes shops, exhibition spaces, an auditorium, an open-air theatre, administrative offices and an art print shop. The design of the complex honours the Perso-Islamic architectural tradition, both in spirit and geometric order, while giving full consideration to contemporary functions and building technology. Such a choice seems ideal given the nature of the complex and the time-honoured congeniality that exists in the Persian urban environment between architectural space and handicrafts. The entrance courtyard, with a reflecting pool at the center, is the largest of the four interconnected courtyards and recalls Persian gardens. This courtyard leads into a high-domed open entry and continues into a vaulted shopping space where handicrafts are manufactured and sold. Inspired by the traditional bazaar plan, a hallway leads to the heart of the centre, where a hall for exhibitions and events is located. This domed intersection demonstrates the complexity of traditional masonry where the structural ribs adorning the dome facilitate the geometric transformation of the octagonal base into a faceted spherical dome. The workshops are located on both sides of the hallway, some looking onto courtyards. Skylights at the apex of the vaults provide indirect lighting required for the artisans.

ClientHeritage Ministry
LocationTehran, Iran
StatusCompleted 1984
Size3 Storey