ELAHIEH RESIDENTIAL TOWER

TEHRAN, IRAN

the Persian miniatures showed me the possibility of my sensations. That art had devices to suggest a greater space, a really plastic space. It helped me to get away from intimate painting.
— Henri Matisse

The site of this project is a challenging but precious, L-shaped plot. It sits between two adjacent residential buildings, on a beautiful street overlooking the Darband River, in the northern part of Tehran, Iran. The Entrance is on the old, narrow Fariba Street, where double-height hexagonal terraces are carved into an 8-foot deep façade, providing shading and an indoor/outdoor living space similar to Persian Caravanserai structures. This geometry and depth continues on the angled side of the site, maximizing views of the river for the residents.

A variety of 1,2 & 3 bedroom apartments occupy this 8-story building, topped by a larger penthouse. Parking, entertainment, spa, and gym facilities are below grade.

The hexagonal pattern of the building envelope wraps all exposed sides of the structure, and each hexagon is lined in turquoise-blue handmade Persian tiles. This pattern is inspired by the arrangement of space in Persian miniature painting, as well the faceted basins found in traditional Persian gardens. Persian Miniature paintings use non-linear perspective, isometric projection and layering to show three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional picture plane. Because of this method, the horizontal plane becomes vertical. Similarly this technique was used in the Cubist art of the 20th Century where the linear perspective dominating European art was challenged. Suddenly the façade becomes a series of basins flipped from the horizontal to the vertical plane, relating to the river and back to Persian culture.

In this project space is perceived, understood, represented and inhabited in distinctive ways, responding to the culture of the place. Persians have demonstrated in their art, through layering, that they perceive space in an active way. The aim here is to have the architecture of this residential building, with an ordinary program, become an extraordinary work of art, expressing an inspiring culture in a new way.