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Rethinking the Architecture of Shushtar-Nou: A Forgotten Episode of Architectural Regionalism in 1970s Iran

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Oil revenues in the late 1960s enabled the Iranian government to fund several international architecture congresses. Throughout the 1970s, a group of young Iranian architects organized a series of architectural events, among them the second Iran International Congress of Architects (IICA), held in Persepolis-Shiraz in 1974. This Congress resulted in the 'Habitat Bill of Rights', a CIAM-like charter submitted by the Iranian government to the first UN-conference on 'Human Settlements' in 1976. This article reveals the 1974 IICA's instrumental role in shaping the discourse on architectural regionalism in the design for dwelling and human habitats, approaches to the relationship between tradition and modernity, and importantly how the architecture of Kamran Diba aimed to bridge the gap between local culture and internationalism, by forming a novel synthesis of these two approaches. To illustrate the latter, this article examines the design and development of Shushtar-Nou, a new community model designed by Diba in southwest Iran. Implicit within its design is Diba's view on the Congress debates and his goal in developing a malleable environment that accommodated growth and change over time, while preserving its core attributes.
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Keywords: Habitat Bill of Rights; Iran; Kamran Diba; New Creation; Persian garden; Team X; public housing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000120974740 Delft University of Technology

Publication date: March 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) is intended for those interested in urban design and planning, architecture, and landscape design in the historic Islamic world, encompassing the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, but also the more recent geographies of Islam in its global dimensions. The main emphasis is on detailed analysis of the practical, historical and theoretical aspects of architecture, with a focus on both design and its reception. The journal is also specifically interested in contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to social and cultural history, geography, politics, aesthetics, technology, and conservation. Spanning across cultures and disciplines, IJIA seeks to analyze and explain issues related to the built environment throughout the regions covered. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of this journal will significantly contribute to the knowledge in this field.

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