From 2005 to 2008 I took several trips to Iran. My point of departure for this project was the modern urban landscape that had, for the most part, developed after the Islamic Revolution (1979) and which is largely shaped by Western architectural influences. I was particularly interested in comparing this situation with the historical urban landscapes and cultural sites. They bear witness to a long cultural history in former Persia. I was also interested in to what extent this cultural history has left traces in the contemporary architecture of modern-day Iran and can in this way be addressed in the current cultural and architectural debate in Iranian society.
One aspect I find interesting in this constellation is the ambivalence in the emerging outward appearance of the urban landscape where Eastern and Western cultural images, conceptions, and influences converge. What I also find relevant is the prevalence of the latter and the resulting subconscious suppression of one’s own cultural and architectural history by Western influences. Iran is a country that, despite great historic changes and the influences of various cultures, has for millennia continued to develop different architectural idioms through numerous epochs, and that can be regarded as one of its cultural assets. In this context one wonders why this rich source is of such little interest in the contemporary cultural discourse.