In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
Author: Rana Habibi

Abstract

In the 1940s, Iran experienced dramatic changes in its urban form, as worldwide modernization movements were embodied in new, modern neighborhood units in Tehran. Proposals for these neighborhoods, like those in other countries, not only included new housing typologies, but were also aimed to alter existing social structures and facilitate nation-building. The Iranian government advanced the modernization of the state by unveiling and promoting a new social spirit which took the form of new urban districts. Discussions and proposals regarding new neighborhoods centered on creating healthy, suitable, low-cost housing for new government employees – a group emblematic of Iran’s newly established, modern middle class.

However, the traditional lifestyle was an undeniable fact of society. Dealing with the modern socio-urban policies while deriving from a socially traditional way of living led to both cultural change and landscape transformation. This chapter discusses questions like: How the archetypical elements of traditional Iranian architecture transform the international housing model; how Western conventions of modernity were transformed by regional tradition and a different lifestyle. It also deals with how the institutionalization of modern neighborhoods, based on the lifestyles of its people, created an indigenous modernity.

This chapter illustrates how urban and social reform practices in the early twentieth century were embodied by Tehran’s first modern neighborhood, Chahārsad Dastgāh, as well as how domestic Iranian lifestyles influenced the modern neighborhood and distinguished it from its contemporaries.

In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
Author: Rana Habibi

Abstract

This chapter investigates the Iranian encounter with and influence on the international modernist movement. The reception of international modernist discourses and their weaving into Iranian housing and city building practices, contributed to the formation of a peculiar, alternative, and indigenous version of modernism that took hold in the 1950s. While such practices were clearly part of the international modern movement, they were at the same time definable as uniquely Iranian. By analyzing the Nārmak quarter in Tehran, this chapter explores how the production of a middle-class neighborhood became part of a nation-building strategy. Through processes of moderation and appropriation, the idealistic modernist version was made more practical based on pre-existing socio-cultural characteristics and typological elements. Ultimately, this local version of modernism led to its acceptance, provoked urban reaction and produced some unexpected social consequences.

In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
Author: Rana Habibi

Abstract

In the 1970s Tehran was considered the oil capital of Iran and the Middle East. As such, it captured the interest of many international – and often American – investors. Consequently, Iran, particularly Tehran, underwent a wave of internationalism during this decade. To cope with Tehran’s housing crisis, massive building projects were undertaken in cooperation with international companies. These housing projects were indicative of the “open to internationalization” mindset, while, at the same time, emblematic of the search for Iran’s own local culture. The projects accommodated elements of the local along with international way of life, providing a transnational model in Iran. In Tehran, however, this combination of lifestyle was, in comparison to previous decades, more in line with international standards than with vernacular rules. The construction of various types of towers and high-rises in the city in the 1970s demonstrates this new application of international architectural standards.

This chapter analyzes the development of the Ekbātān housing complex, as a product of 1970s internationalism and situated within the complex transnational flows of ideas, architectural theories and models. Construction of the Ekbātān housing complex started in 1976 under the supervision of Rahmān Golzār, an Iranian architect and partner of the American construction firm Starrett, along with the South Korean architect Kim Swoo Geun. An iconic housing complex, Ekbātān was indeed emblematic of the wave of internationalism experienced during the 1970s. Its development continued after the Iranian revolution of 1979, becoming a distinct neighborhood with a strong local identity and sense of pride among residents.

In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
Author: Rana Habibi

Abstract

Since the late nineteenth century, Iranian domestic culture has been confronted with several imported image guides that projected new lifestyles, being instrumental in the gradual transformation of the same. This chapter focuses on transformations during the 1960s, the role of the architect as a mediator of change, and housing as an embodiment of all those imported images. The 1960s were characterized by the Kennedy Doctrine that spread throughout the world and initiated decades of development in many countries. At the same time, Iran was celebrating and embracing its American century. Most of the imported images were from the United States. Some of these images were in the form of comprehensive plans. Others were simply advertisements for household commodities. Many of these images had directly to do with housing, lifestyle and household culture. This chapter will also discuss how Iranian architectural journals influenced the popular taste for mass housing by proposing the global modernist movement and its achievements. It also demonstrates how the construction of modernist middle-class neighborhoods further wove this modern taste and lifestyle into Iranian society. The two case studies of Kuy-e Farah, built in 1961, and Kuy-e Chahārom-e Ābān, built in 1969, demonstrate how middle-class houses adapted to this new taste. The approval of apartment ownership in 1965 is another factor in the transformation of housing and lifestyle; it dramatically altered the relations between indoor and outdoor space and introduced a new definition of urban block.

In short, this chapter will discuss how Iranian architects built up a taste based on the aforementioned imported domesticity. It will also illustrate, through two case studies, Kuy-e Farah and Kuy-e Chahārom-e Ābān, how the global imagination of domesticity guided the reorientation of Iranian dwelling tastes, from the row house to the apartment building complex.

In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
In: Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran
Reproduction of an Archetype: Episodes of Urbanism 1945–1979
Author: Rana Habibi
In Modern Middle-Class Housing in Tehran – Reproduction of an Archetype, Rana Habibi offers an engaging analysis of the modern urban history of Tehran during the Cold War period: 1945–1979. The book, while arguing about the institutionalism of modernity in the form of modern middle-class housing in Tehran, shows how vernacular archetypes found their way into the construction of new neighborhoods. The trajectory of ideal modernism towards popular modernism, the introduction of modern taste to traditional society through architects, while tracing the path of transnational models in local projects, are all subjects extensively expounded by Rana Habibi through engaging graphical analyses and appealing theoretical interpretations involving five modern Tehran neighborhoods.