no 3 | winter 2016 | bilingual student-run architecture and design zine in farsi (print) & english (online) this issue: [un]-Architecture: Rural Areas publisher: Students Architecture Assembly of University of Tehran editor-in-chief: Arshia Eghbali circulation director: Amirhossein Adelfar production director: Nima Dabirian editorial staff: Kimia Motamedi | Baran Tehrani | Payvand Taheri copy editors: Nima Ghodrati (en) | Mohammad Mohammadkhani (fa) page layout: Soroush Kalatian cover illustration: Masih Barin public relations: Ali Sanaeekia marketing: Koosha Mirasadollahi website designer & manager: Bardia Eghbali contributors to this issue: Nima Tabrizi | Ali Ghazi | Amirhossein Vafa| M Reza Karfar | Bert de Muynck | Dexter Hansen | Brad Wissmueller | Sahar Saqlain | Phuong Nguyen| Eroy William Gwavvu | IN:CH | Samira Abedi| Sadeq Hajimirzaee | Sadeq Kaveh | Nima Dabirian
address: no 2, College of Fine Arts bldg 3, Qods st, Enghelab ave, Tehran, Iran
special thanks to: Hamed Mazaherian, Hadi Naderi, Kourosh Asadollahpour, Mehdi Seyedkarimi, Sajjad Mansournia
table of contents 2
Editorial: [un]-architecture: Rural Areas
tune in... 4
Three Sketches for Three Essays / Arshia Eghbali
16 Rural-Urban Dispute / Nima Tabrizi
8 "Abnabat" / Kimia Motamedi 20 Tibet's Heritage / M Reza Karfar
projects 26 Malur Farmer House / IN:CH
30 RECHARGE / Phuong Nguyen
36 Community Initiative for Villages in Uganda / E. W. Gwavvu
40 Architecture for Education / Sahar Saqlain
44 An Elevated Embrace of Open Space / Brad Wissmueller
46 Adaptive Canvas / Dexter Hansen
50 Thorn House / Samira Abedi
52 The Pig Barn / Bert de Muynck
opinions 58 The Tale of Two Villages / Baran Tehrani
62 Imitation Game / Amirhossein Vafa
64 Where Earth Was Flowing Like River / Nima Tabrizi
66 Catch-22 in Mount Sinai / Payvand Taheri
68 Human Zoo / Ali Ghazi
[un]-Architecture: Rural Areas As of 2014, according to World Bank, 47% of world’s population live in rural areas – which in fact includes 70% of the world’s poor – so there is no doubt that rural areas must be a tremendous concern; but are they really? Evidently, theses rural lands are home to people who need extra attention and support – and wait a minute, did we just say ‘home’? Yes! Architecture surely has a huge part to play. But sadly enough, it is mostly occupied with the charm and glamour of madly growing urban areas and metropolises; thus the built environments of the rural areas are commonly not supervised, designed or constructed by architects. This results in a condition, which we would like to call, ‘un-architecture’. Though, just as there is no guarantee that architecture per se is good, there is no urge that ‘un-architecture’ is bad. All we are suggesting is that it surely deserves a closer look. In this issue, NAAM explores [un]Architecture: Rural Areas – covering both architecture and un-architecture in those areas – and tries to shed a light on this forgotten part of architectural discourse. In this issue, NAAM takes you to villages in Iran, India, Pakistan, China, United States, Uganda, Tibet and Romania. So make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy this journey.
Three Sketches for Three Essays Arshia Eghbali Editor-in-Chief, NAAM Student of Architecture University of Tehran
In my deserted home village The old cherry tree Now in bloom – Haiku by Issa
Second Sketch: A Call for Real Design Remote rural areas are usually romanticized, especially when seen from a maintained distance. All those tiny houses in a beautiful setting are almost like a Tahitian landscape painting by Gaugin; evoking the very exotic feel that mesmerizes an outsider. But inside, things are a bit different. The beautiful scenery is defragmented and now houses are lonely units, with inhabitants who really don’t care much for them. The exact same thing happens when we look at those rural areas from a chronological perspective. They are again romanticized as souvenirs of a vernacular tradition. Yet again, with a closer look, we can see villagers who feel dissatisfied with their share of the modern world.
First Sketch: What I Talk About, When I Talk About Unarchitecture Coining terms is one thing, and getting them accepted is another. So when I first made up the word “unArchitecture”, I wasn’t pretty sure if it made any sense outside my mind – and the minds of the NAAM team of course. But when the submissions started to roll in, I felt relieved with the connection that a number of people from different parts of the world had found with this word. Yet, here I feel the urge to clarify some points about “un-architecture”.
This, though, is not a plea for modernization of villages. The problem is not that villages are boring or outdated per se; but actually it’s that, despite the fact that architecture writers and scholars love to constantly label rural houses as vernacular, sustainable and valuable, the villagers themselves don’t seem to see the point – and I think they might be right. They seem to be unable of building an aesthetical bond with their built environment, while the functional bond is already damaged. Their houses are often old and need thoroughgoing renovations, but these people are mostly poor and incapable of doing so. In the meantime, since they are not educated about their cultural heritage and architecture (or un-architecture), and while they see that their houses don’t function well, they miss any promised aesthetical point about their village and surroundings.
Un-architecture is not a term only limited to rural areas. But let me begin from another point of departure: unarchitecture is not the opposite of architecture. If it was so, then we would have probably named it “antiarchitecture”, but that’s not the case. Just as architecture is derived from architect (originally from Ancient Greek “ἀρχιτέκτων”, arkhitéktōn, “master builder”), unarchitecture is similarly derived from un-architect; and for that matter, “un-master builder”. Defining un-master builder could be really tricky, but let’s take a simple, yet practical approach. Simply put, when people outside the realms of architecture (or people who do not carry the professional badge of ‘architect’) actually build something, then that is un-architecture. An un-master builder creates un-architecture, as a substitute for architecture, when it’s absent. As a result, it’s going to serve the same ends as architecture; aesthetically, structurally, functionally and even ethically. And its product, just like any work of architecture, could be good or bad, beautiful or horrible, efficient or dysfunctional and so on. So now I think it’s pretty clear why un-architecture is not only about rural areas. In every city, in every corner of the world – and particularly in developing countries – there are hundreds of buildings being built every day that are mere examples of un-architecture.
The educational system and the media in these areas are the same as the cities, so there is no mention of local and regional values while they also bombard the villagers with fake glittering images from urban life. But the intrusion is not only limited to some ‘glittering images’. The development and renovation programs and masterplans are initially designed to help these areas, but in fact they only add up to the problem. In the name of structural reinforcement, all the vernacular and local methods and technics are dismissed, and in the name of infrastructural
development, the rural fabric is torn unmercifully. And the result is a village with worn-out slums and newly-built ugly brick shoeboxes as houses.
than what they have to do in the city; an opportunity that perhaps in the wake of sustainable design on the one hand, and cities overflowing with architecture on the other hand, might shine brighter.
On the other hand, another common approach is to expect that villages must be left untouched and eventually turned into large museums. To be honest, this is very selfish. It’s a direct product of our urban egotism; as people in the city, we think that the lives of the villagers are secondary to ours, and so who cares about the quality of real life in the villages? The only important thing is to have a nice untouched holiday destination with an exotic twist.
Third Sketch: Nasser, the Master ‘Un-master Builder’ Last April, on a trip to lesser-known rural areas of northern Iran, my three friends and I decided to conclude our journey with a visit to “Churet” – at the end of a backroad, on top of a mountain, forking from the road from Sari to Kiasar. Like many other villages, Churet was gorgeous in a panorama, and not so pleasant in a close-up. But just as we passed across the only grocery store of the village with a group of sunburnt old men standing and chatting in front of it, we turned right into a cul-de-sac. That’s where we met Nasser and his wife and their home.
But for people in the village, there is more to it than an unmarked adventure destination for an occasional city break on the pages of a cool travel guide, or a map on the desk of a master-planner to whom the people of the village are nothing more than numbers and statistics. It’s time for real design; small-scale schemes that have real impacts. Young architects and designers should step in. Why should children in these so-called underprivileged areas go to schools that are only nasty boxes which cement has leaked from every hole on their walls, and look out of unfitted rusty windows that are tucked into them? Why should ‘design’ be a luxury? Why should villagers live in houses that are only a shelter but not a home? – And thus, little by little lose their sense of a good living environment.
It was a simple rural house that we learned Nasser had designed and built to its finest details. He even explained to us some of his future plans for its extension and maintenance. Everything was designed and predicted with the precision of a clock. But Nasser was no clockmaker, nor was he an architect; in fact he was a 65-year-old retired truck driver who was now making up for the time he hadn’t spent in the village, mostly around his self-built house. The cul-de-sac was actually a very short one; two houses on each side, and at the end of it was a green slope covered with tall trees Nasser claimed he had planted himself. His house was at the end of the cul-de-sac, on the left. He said that he had built it 40 years ago, and he was thrilled that we were surveying the architecture of rural areas. It seemed somehow that he had been waiting all those 40 years to discuss his oeuvre with someone who cared.
Instead, NGOs could go to rural areas and start a local practice to design and renovate buildings in villages (e.g. look at “Tibet’s Heritage” in this issue); or to educate people, particularly children, about their living environment (e.g. look at “Abnabat”). Universities could collaborate with architectural firms and villagers to build houses for their village (look at “Malur Farmer House”); and believe me, a pig-barn could be designed so fine that it’s more beautiful than whatever your firm has ever designed (look at “Bamboo Pig Barn”). And well, you don’t need to be Mother Theresa to go and design in rural areas; designing in villages is actually a very good opportunity for designers to show off their creativity by doing less
Between his house and the one facing his – which belonged to his brother – was enough space to park two or three cars, and right on the edge of the crag, there was a washing stone. Nasser had made a short bar on the ground to make sure that the soapy washing water doesn’t go to the trees below.
From there, we walked up three four stairs, and entered onto a somewhat large patio, over which Nasserâ€™s old Maple trees shaded pleasantly. He gave us a lecture on the advantages of broad-leaved trees and the calculations he had done to guarantee that they provided the desired shade over the patio in summer to refine and cool the air. Then Nasser took us inside and showed us the beautiful wooden coverings of the walls and the ceiling, and the window frames and the wooden niche he had crafted carefully. He told us over and over again that although the house is 40 years old, not a single spot of it is eaten by termite, because in winters he sets fire and sends the smoke behind the walls and inside the ceiling. He couldnâ€™t stop talking. He was planning to build a new paving for the parking space, and a new toilet for his wife and himself; he was spotting where to plant some additional trees and what kinds they should be. There was so much going on in his head. Nasser was a master un-architect.
Nasser was a master un-architect.
Abnabat: a sweet, brief rural experienceâ€Ś
Kimia Motamedi Editor, NAAM Student of Architecure University of Tehran
Abnabat (The Farsi word for candy) is a young group, established in 2013 and with the single goal of developing the education of children within any culture. The group continues its works through limited sessions and 2-3 day workshops in schools, especially in villages throughout Iran.
The Story The story might be not as arresting as you probably expect. Just an accidental collaboration between a charity called ‘Mehr-e Giti’, whose job was to build schools in rural areas in Iran- all over the country from Khorasan to the wartorn1 city of Khorramshahr; And a bunch of university students like any other, who had already done volunteer work at an NGO2 against child labor. So all these people did was to acknowledge each other, the opportunity that showed itself and simply ACT. The Idea The idea at first, was to give the school kids at rural areas a brief yet sweet experience they ended up calling ‘abnabat’ (candy). So Abnabat shaped, formed and established as a group developing regions’ culture and education as well as teaching life skills3 to children. Accompanying Mehr-e Giti, they went into villages that new schools where being opened in, for otherwise they wouldn’t have been trusted. A new school meant that the targeted village didn’t already have a proper schooling system. The Purpose With the facts they had in hand through Mehr-e Giti’s experience with villages, a walk had to be determined for interacting with these children. The rural children were different from what the group had worked with in the city. In terms of social and physical ability these children were above the average, although the shortage in facilities may had harmed their lives in some ways, it had given them a chance to think more freely. On the other hand, because of their more traditional way of life they were limited
Qolian, stamping with potatoes.
more often and these limitations of thought and action caused them to have smaller dreams and goals for their future lives. It wasn’t claimed that a day or two would make a huge difference in the lives they already had, yet
1.The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the 20th century's longest conventional war. 2.Society for defending street and working children, Pasgah-e Nematabad, Tehran, Iran 3.Life skills have been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life”.
it was hoped that this short experience would widen the lens through which they observe the world. Another goal was to awaken a sort of pride in these children in their village and environment, having them appreciate their more nature oriented lives in comparison to the city life they envy; To make them aware, of the problems their village was facing and make them think about the possible solutions; and, for the group itself to discover a thing or two about the alternative ways of life.
Workshops take place on the target village’s school, usually limited to 3-5 classrooms and still under construction, during a one or two day event. Children are divided into two groups, with their age being a factor. The activities in every event for both of these two groups are:
Mostly, yet depending on the region, traditional music is common in these rural areas. Therefore these children tend to be more comfortable around music and instruments. In every workshop, a session of approximately 2 hours provides music innings through singing or making different
Haffar-e Sharqi, “we stopped in the middle, asking them to draw the rest of the story."
"They were so happy to see their fishes go up on the wall."
The younger group is taught to make a puppet, choosing a name and a certain voice for it, and then is asked to participate, as a puppeteer, in a play with the puppet he/she has made. The elder group participates in a workshop doing a game of Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed”, usually with a theme related to the problems they are facing.
Qolian, is a village in Kurdistan province, Iran
sounds, and even using instruments the children come to make in handicraft sessions.
the traditional dogma they live within usually lowers their confidence in such matters.
Reading and Creative Writing
The teachers first try to have the children acknowledge the books and libraries available around them. There really is a small chance that their village or school would have a library. Then a story, chosen based on the villageâ€™s background or issues, will be read to both of the groups to some point. The younger group is asked to draw the rest of the story and the elders to write it. They are encouraged to read theirs to the rest of the class yet are mostly not comfortable doing so, especially the girls; since
Children are given an opportunity to draw freely on large pieces of paper. They are given colors of all kinds and are encouraged to use them. Experience has shown that the children living in rural areas have a greater desire to use colors in comparison to the kids in the city. They think more freely and shapes they use for their paintings show a wider range of variety; of course due to the fact that they see more natural and diverse shapes in their surroundings. Furthermore, they are guided to make something by
hand; this is an attempt to bring their minds into line with their actions, and also to provide an opportunity for them to explore new materials. Wall Paintings This is done mostly by the members of the group while the children are gone. Painting on one or more walls in the school with patterns or pictures that resemble something from the village. The purpose is to bring a taste of color to their classrooms, having numerous effects on the children’s morale and positive feeling towards their learning environment, and also to be something for the children to remember the day by. Besides activities listed above the children are encouraged to stay in touch with Abnabat, sending their drawings and pictures. Through maintaining interaction, this experience they had could hopefully develop more long term effects.
Qolian, music session in the school’s yard.
The following are some of the works done by Abnabat described mostly through pictures:
the 2006 census, its population was 1,283, in 326 families. Its inhabitants engage in agriculture and gardening for a living. In terms of education, the only school in the village has only three classrooms and was built recently, in 2012. Sanandaj’s Combined Cycle Power Plant is located just outside this village.
Qolian is a village in Howmeh Rural District, in the Central District of Sanandaj County, Kurdistan Province, Iran. At
“We asked the kids to make different sounds, clap their hands and stump their feet with specific and harmonic
Qolian, the drawing done by one of the children is showing the village, the school, and a river that she has to cross for getting to school every morning.
Qolian, wall drawings, patterns inspired by Kurdish carpets. “We hit night while working, but even with a power plant in the village we were told that the school has no electricity. The workers in the school set up a generator for us to be able to continue our work.”
rhythms, and to coordinate themselves with the sound of the instrument. After practicing, we sang a Kurdish song and tried to conduct a special movement rhythm. They were wearing their traditional Kurd clothing.”
Qolian, wall drawings, patterns inspired by Kurdish carpets. “We hit night while working, but even with a power plant in the village we were told that the school has no electricity. The workers in the school set up a generator for us to be able to continue our work.”
“we asked one group to draw some part of their village, and others the most ideal village they could imagine. We wanted them to think about their village, what it was, and what it could be. For instanse, although a Combined Cycle Power Plant existed in the village, in their paintings there were signs of electricity and drinking water deficiency. A few of the children drew an amusement park”
Haffar-e Sharqi is a village in Howmeh-ye Sharqi Rural District, in the Central District of Khorramshahr County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,980, in 411 families. Since the village is near Karun River, some of the inhabitants do fishing for a living but most others are unemployed. The region was occupied by Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq War, and although they have recovered from it, the impact is still visible, only recently some old ammunition were found buried .The village has a 5-classroom elementary school. “What came to my attention at first, besides the extremely warm weather, was the huge difference in quality of life comparing to the surrounding cities. The other thing was the diversity in skin color, dialects and languages, some of the children spoke Arabic and didn’t know any other. They were so happy with all that was happening. The different atmosphere shaped a sort of delight in every each of them that I felt somehow bittersweet; genuinely happy
Qolian, the children drawing on paper rolls, using their fingers.
for them, but thinking that not so often they get to be this happy” “We gave them some socks and wool balls and buttons, then step by step, we told them what to do. The closer the socks got to look like a doll, the more excited they became. We helped them to choose a name for each of the puppets, most of them being religious names such as Fatemeh, Zahra or Zeinab. We encouraged them to make different sounds to pick one for their puppets. Then a few of them came to the front of the class, wearing the puppet socks, and played a small show for the others.”
Haffar-e Sharqi, theatre session, puppet making.
“For our first day, we decided to do image theatre of Boal’s Theatre for the Oppressed. Image Theatre uses the human body as a tool of representing feelings, ideas, and relationships. Through sculpting others or using their own body to demonstrate a body position, participants create anything from one-person to large-group image sculptures that reflect the sculptor’s impression of a situation or oppression. The goal of using this technic was to find out their life issues with their own help and to have them come up with consistent solutions for them. Three of the boys are sitting on the ground with pencils in
Haffar-e Sharqi, theatre session, Image Theatre
their mouths, a few other are standing nearby exchanging money for something. We ask them to explain: -The ones sitting are smoking cigarettes. The ones standing are buying drugs. One of them insists on reading a poem which is Arabic and we don’t understand much, but makes the children laugh. A girl wants to teach us how to buy drugs, she tells us that there must be a third party, and that the buying has to take place somewhere far from home…it was strange how a little girl knew all that much. -So, why do some people become drug addicts? -They are unemployed. -They don’t love their kids.
We try to have them understand that there are other ways to get over problems, ways other than what their parents have chosen towards unemployment. “They said there is a local library in the village’s bazaar. Only 2-3 of them claimed that they read story books. “The Little Black Fish” was read to them, pausing every once in a while to explain words and to make sure that they all understand the story. We stopped in the middle and asked them to write the rest. The interesting part was that all the girls pictured a bad ending for the little fish since it had ran away from home and not listened to its mother. The boys though, had mostly imagined brave ways for the little fish to fight the obstacles. Some had difficulty writing at ages 9 and 10.”
-They have problems… It seems they all agree that addiction is not good. -What can we do to prevent them from drug addiction? -Arresting the addicts. -Will arresting the addicts solve the problem? -No, it’s the sellers fault. -How can we stop the sellers? -We can talk to them.
Haffar-e Sharqi, hand-work session, work with scissors.
Haffar-e Sharqi, hand-work session, fish origami.
Rural-urban dispute And a proposal for the city of Tehran Nima Tabrizi Designer, Architect, Co-Founder Atelier MMaN Tehran, Iran
As soon as you step outside the historic parts of the city, not so far from the old borders of Nasseri Hisar1, signs of Tehranâ€™s rural heritage will become apparent. We like to call it Greater Tehran or Tehran Metropolis, yet substantial parts of this metropolis were based on a rural context and are still rather more rural than urban from multiple perspectives. 1.Nasseri Hisar is referred to the bastions constructed back in Nasseredin shahâ€™s era. (1848-1896).
Urban- rural dispute! Baghchale-Vanak vs. Sa'adat Abad.
The rural fabric of Baghchale-Vanak, right in the middle of Tehran!
All around the old polygon2 - under the name of Darolkhelafe - from which the Qajar dynasty was ruling the magnificent kingdom of Persia, there existed many villages of pleasant weather, enormous trees, flowing rivers and Qanat3s in their own vernacular context, all lost in the unlimited boundaries the city offers today. Now transformed into damned parts of the city, these Villages and their agricultural products and sincerity of culture used to be Tehran’s heart and soul. Some of them though, are actually the most expensive parts of the city today , yet in lack of standard urban infrastructures and peace4.
Does an urban life suggest any kind of preference over a rural? The question may seem hard to answer. Nonetheless, no one can deny that originality and sincerity are above both. New definitions of urban villages5 and rural cities6 leave us confused. In this complication, we must find the path to simplicity. “Change” is the main theme of the tale. All who ruled the newborn capital7, tried their best to manifest their power and ideology to the world through poor Tehran. Parisian-Londoner conversions of Nasseredin shah, wide
2.Nasseri Hisar was octagonal. 3.A Qanāt (Arabic: قناة, Persian: قنات/ )کاریزis a gently sloping underground channel with a series of vertical access shafts, used to transport water from an aquifer under a hill. Qanāts create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates. (Wikipedia) 4.North of Tehran, remarkably more expensive than other parts of the city, is constructed on the remnants of numerous villages. The organic contexts of those small and pleasing residences are replaced with high rises. Imagine what it’s like to have rural houses replaced with huge buildings, connected with the same narrow alleys of a village. (e.g. Khansefid, Jamaran, Zargande, Dezashib, etc.) 5.Lots of Iranian villages all around the country, are trying to replace their traditional construction methods with a very low-level urban construction system, justified with labels such as modernization and safety. They are losing their vernacular heritages, and also their safety due to the low-quality new building structures they are choosing. 6.How about cities such as Rio with large percentages of slums? In Iran, most cities are technically nothing more than a huge village. 7.Tehran is the capital city of Iran since 1796.
Is it forbidden or not?
â€œDarakehâ€? River-Valley, Former Evin village.
streets of Reza Shah around the new unbounded capital city of Pahlavi connected with kilometers of railway to other parts of the country, modern architectural icons of starchitects in the most modern city of the middle east in Aryamehr era, chaotic alterations in the confusing time of
the revolution and war, and irrational and over-accelerated post-war developments that made Tehran even more discrete from its roots. Basically, all these changes were mostly shaped by neglecting natural, cultural and also historical heritages of Tehran. Every new person in charge
8.Frankly this is true for most cities, yet the way in which this may be perceived in them is related to the amount of respect the inhabitants are paying to their natural context. Finding the natural paths inside Tehran is becoming harder and harder day by day. City authorities allow the erection of shopping centers on top of natural creeks (e.g. Shahr Shopping Center in Mirdamad and Nasr Shopping Center in Gisha) instead of reviving it to become a bio-icon for the city. 9.Darabad, Golab-darreh, Darakeh, Velenjak, Farahzad, Kan are the main river valleys of Tehran, there are also some other less important ones. All of the river valleys are originated from Alborz mountains.
Two different approaches: a shopping center over the river vs. public park along the river-valley.
explored himself in the elimination of the old, therefore the city’s identity dissolved into the history. Natural context of Tehran has always played a crucial role in its formation8, this is better understood from an aerial view. The city has laid down on the foothills of Alborz all the way to the desert, it has a north-south slope with seven river-valleys9 watering the lower lands. These life streams form the organic life of hundreds of villages. Throughout the years, there has been an effort to fight the natural essence in the (fake) name of development. Hence, not only the city is emptied of any kind of natural possessions, but also the context has downgraded from un-architecture to antiarchitecture. Fortunately, awareness is increasing10 . Young architects are paying more attention to Tehran’s heritage and its identity. It’s time to ask the government and authorities to do their part in preserving what is left. According to Tehran’s master plan, the river-valleys can be revitalized as bio green paths for the city. Perusing this goal requires the recovery of city’s vernacular remains of these river-valleys and redefining Tehran as an urban-village. Urban-villages can be defined as a context for environmental-friendly activities and research purposes such as ecoparks and water-sensitive zones, to inform people about the problems their region is facing. The goal requires a change in plans and actions, it does not need to follow the old methods of development programs which do not involve people and local inhabitants in shaping the life of their own environment. People have to be given a chance to act, to shape their environment in a natural and new manner. Sustainable mechanisms should replace current rent-seeking approaches.11 10.Projects such as Nahjolbalaqe Park show us that Tehran’s authorities are trying to change their policies, yet the outcome is not satisfying enough for architects and urban planners. 11.Constructing green buffer zones and eco-parks are not a brand-new trend throughout the world. Lots of proposals and researches about Tehran’s natural contexts and especially river-valleys can be found in University libraries and scientific journals. Until today, there has not been a single effort to help make them happen.
Tibet’s Heritage M Reza Karfar Architect Tehran, Iran
translated from the Farsi by Sadeq Kaveh
It was a little after sunset when we headed to Jammu from Delhi on train. And the sun was rising when we arrived at Jammu station. The wagon was crawling with passengers. The first thing that drew my attention was the presence of the police and trenches settled in the station. Many had come to Jammu to hold a special ceremony for “Lord Shiva”. We went to the bazaar close to the station that was full of shops selling military clothes and equipment. The bazaar was known as “Shivaji market”, typical in all Indian cities, there is a shopping center named so. After finishing breakfast, we returned to the train station. We asked for “Sirinegar” and conducting a lot of bargain with a driver, we headed to Sirinegar around 11. We passed the evening in the winding road. It was 9 pm that we arrived at Sirinegar. There, we met my fiend Iqbal. We said a warm farewell to the driver, even though until making to Sirinegar I kept an eye on him not to fall sleep.
dination was felt in the city in a different sense. In any alley little “Stupaahaas” were seen. The Great Mosque was settled beside Imam-Bare (the mosque for Shias). Sikhs were propagating their “Grut-Wraay”. A beautiful palace was settled uptown for the Buddhist Lord who have had a Muslim wife. The smell of bread in allies, flowing in the air in front of stores and people saying “julé” crossing each other with smiles. An afternoon, for grocery shopping, I walked through the village’s fabric. Some half constructed buildings caught my eyes. Some of them were built in the usual way of concrete construction system of big cities. The people themselves insisted on keeping the face of their houses similar to the cities’, but some had chosen a different approach. Building in traditional and vernacular style, yet based on modern science. And this bolded the questions I was pondering about. I asked about those houses. Everyone, with great oriental politeness and gratitude, spoke of a group that was involved in those constructions. I asked about them from a salesman – whom I had befriended – “It’s a group that is renovating the houses here for some years.” He said. I went to a friend who was previously introduced – her name was Zahra. I called her. She was a teacher. We arranged a meeting in front of the mosque. She invited me to her home, and brought me some Kashmiri Nama-
It wasn’t morning yet; Iqbal brought us to a room he had prepared for us. Dinner and sleeping rigs were previously arranged. We washed up and ate. It was “Biryani” with chicken Qurma and Kashmiri roghan-jush. After all the hustle we were finally finding some peace. It was the rays of sunlight in the morning that waked us. We stayed in Kashmir for two days and finally left Sirinegar with all of its adventures and all the passion we received from Mir Seyyed Ali Hamedani and his people. It was five in the morning that we left Sirinegar for “Leh” in “Laddakh” state. We arrived there about afternoon and we asked for a village in which our friends had previously set up a shop. “Chuq-Lamsaar” is fourteen kilometers away from the city, the place where “Kalachakra” ceremony was held close to. We passed the night in a room they had in “Lassa” hostel. During our accommodation in Chuq-Lamsaar which was our destination, in afternoons, we went to Leh for shopping, and to take a walk. The pictures passing in front of my eyes, temples, houses, stones set on each other, rivers, the eyes of people I saw, built up a big curiosity in me to discover that amazing town. These things in Leh changed into serious questions in my mind. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs – respectively – formed the majority to minority of the city’s population. They lived in harmony with each other. Although it is not a new phenomenon in India; but this coor-
kin-Chay and home-baked bread. We ate at a table that its form and construction was simpler than those of Buddhists – which they use in temples for putting their books on. I asked Zahra about the houses and she explained the story as much as she knew and told me that the group hangs out in a café – renovated by themselves – named “Lala”. I passed the night thinking of going to the café. The following morning I went to Leh. I found the café but it was closed. I had forgotten that no café is open at eight in the morning! I wandered to kill time. I went up the road beside the café. While walking around I saw a couple. A man with narrow eyes (but not like those of Laddakhies), long hair, wide face, a felt bag and a fish necklace and a smiling woman. We made eye contact and passed by saying julé. But they didn’t seem to be tourists. Their presence was of another kind. I went back to the café. It had opened. The building seemed to have two floors. On the right, there was a stone statue, a woman figure carved on it. On the left, there was a little store in which an old man made Tibetan spoons and rings. In between, there was a small door that opened and led the way through the café. Upon entering, there were some narrow stairs. I went up the stairs to the first floor. On its sides there was a place to sit. On the front there was a shelf filled with handcrafts of the local
people. Obviously they had tried to enhance their value and craftsmanship whilst keeping their originalities. The maps that volunteer architecture students used to guide the tourists were hanged beside the shelf off the wall. On the right side, there was a little kitchen and on its front there were some stairs going to the roof. The man behind the counter, “Ken”, was a Japanese architect. He made me some tea. At the same time a neighbor woman who had recently learnt to bake cheesecake and chocolate cake (brilliant they were) brought in some. Immediately I ordered for a cheesecake while I was looking around the room for details. The man I saw in the morning came up the stairs and entered. He started talking to Ken. Until that moment I hadn’t told Ken what had brought me to the café. So I told him about my trip and Ken started talking about his own story. That it’s been certain years that he is working in a group and the café is now under the management of “Yutaka” and “Pimpim.” He was just going to tell his story that I jumped in and asked “Is that the man who just came here?” “Yes that’s right.” He said. I wanted to hear the rest of the story from Yutaka himself. “Where did he go? How can I find him?” I asked. “He must have gone to the museum.” He answered. Hurriedly I ran after him. I was worried to lose him. The thing that happens to people in large cities. But there I can say it was barely more than seven minutes from the
café to the museum. Yutaka the Chinese architect of the complex stood in the middle of the court talking to the craftsmen. I went to him and introduced myself. With sweet smiles he invited me for a tea, and I sat beside a woman, a local mason. “About twelve years ago we got together. Pimpim from Portugal, me from China, Andrea Alexander from Germany. Andrea was the head of the group who, by the way, unfortunately died two years ago. The design of the main building of the museum is by Andrea which consists of three main parts in three floors. Each floor is specified to cultures existing in the area and the top floor, is a photo gallery, biographies of craftsmen and locals who helped during these years.” The story just got more interesting, I wanted Yutaka to continue. Three architects from three different cultures working together for such a long period of time with different languages, what were they doing here?! Pimpim came in while Yutaka continued. I stood up suddenly. A lady with medium height, smiling with a straw hat. We were introduced to each other. It was noon then and time for lunch. Pimpim suggested to go to a Kashmiri restaurant in the bazaar in front of the mosque and I accepted it without any doubt in order to learn more about them. Eventually, Pimpim explained about the fund they had created, “Tibet’s Heritage”, and after the success of the projects in “Lasa” and “Si-Kim” they had come to Leh and had started to work. She went on about how the “Yosho” earthquake and the flood in Laddakh revealed new aspects of the job, How they found the craftsmen, what they learned from them and what they taught them, the craftsmen who had left their original jobs because of lack of demand; and finally to complete the process, they sent them to several workshops in Germany, and how this thing turned out to be a treasure. She talked about empathy with people and the energy that they received from the atmosphere and the bond that they had with the people of the town. How time made everything easy for them and how they experienced the art
of “being and becoming”. And in the end, I requested to stay there at Leh to understand how to “be” and how to “become”. Pimpim was leaving for Portugal for a while that night. So I asked her to leave me with a message and I told her about Iran. “It’s a pity that we don’t know much about Iran” she said. “Go to your country. See your people. Understand what they want and how they want it. See if they accept your invitation, and if not, remember that it’s the people who live in a place that maintain it” I gazed in her eyes too much that I wasn’t aware that Yutaka drew a map in my notebook of the paths in which I could go for walk. He returned the notebook to me. The lunch was finished and when Pimpim was getting up from the table she said: “Listen to grandpas and grandmas too.” After that I stayed with them for two weeks and I rented a room in Leh and tried to make a documentary film from their cooperation and coexistence. From the way that the craftsmen and architects learned from each other and worked together, how each of them thanked and prayed to their own God. From how it is possible to cooperate with anyone with modesty and in full presence. The fact that maintaining and revitalizing cultural, architectural, and environmental heritage and lifestyle is possible and how the secret of time translates the sustainability to an extent that we consider it a dream. And in the end, I packed my stuff, fastened my shoelace and went back to Delhi.
Malur Farmer House IN:CH Architects and Planners Bangalore, India
What you are going to view and read about, is a small housing prototype for the poor. It was realized for a family in India who has been living in Malur, a village defined by so called un-architecture. The design is basic, uses local material and construction methods. Thoughtfully designed details and a sustainable concept differ it from the other houses and generate a positive change for the family. The architectsâ€™ aim - besides shelter and hygiene - was to create an identity for the family, integrate them in the process of execution and develop a design that takes into account the village context, the un-architecture. This project was submitted to NAAM by IN:CH in response to our open call.
About IN:CH IN:CH is a transcultural and interdisciplinary organization which aims to bring positive changes through design and innovation to all strata of the society. IN:CH is rooted in both the Indian and the Swiss cultures. The spontaneity and innovativeness, frowm India, and the precision and planning, from Switzerland, are a part of every project that they do. They are a group of architects, planners and designers who work towards realizing projects that are sustainable to the environment, contemporary, aesthetic, universal and most of all provide social equity and upliftment. Social, climatic, regional and environmental considerations are chief components of their designs. The Project â€œ I am so proud, that I was able to save 400 rupees in the last four monthsâ€?, Says the woman standing in front of her decaying hut, where her family of two daughters and an alcoholic husband lives. What will I do with this statement, this encounter? Me, an architect from Switzerland with an office in Bangalore. Nothing! Since I was confronted with various experiences like this in the past. I give her money. Because I do have more money in my pocket than all this womanâ€™s savings. I do what my circumstances allow me to do. Sometime ahead an opportunity arises. Bettina Steuri and Gionatan Vignola, two architecture students approach me with an interesting thesis work in India for me to mentor, as a professor in the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The task for their thesis was to explore rural India and develop a proposal for a house within the standards of sustainable architecture. A very challenging task, where the two students were going to learn enormously much. The result of their two-month analysis was a documentation about the everyday life of families from a chosen village, Malur, a region 45 km north-east of Bangalore. It was about how they assure their subsistence, what chances children from there will have in their future, what in-
fluence the Caste System has in everyday life, how men and women live, and what the quality of their nutrition is, etc. Within a further two-month phase, the students developed a prototype house as well as pointing out intervention possibilities for neighboring houses. Bettina Steuri and Gionatan Vignola’s thesis was awarded the “Award for Sustainable Architecture” of the Bern University of Applied Sciences. With a Pooja, a religious ritual, the house was inaugurated and ready to be inhabited by the Anjunappa family. The idea was that they could live as self-reliant as possible. The rainwater gets collected, filtered and stored in a tank. Solar panels generate electricity. A cow and a biogas plant produce gas for the kitchen. In the garden of the house, pesticide-free vegetables and fruits are grown. The temperature inside the house is at least five degrees cool-
er than the neighboring houses. The house is built with rammed earth. It is covered by waste material from damaged biscuit wrappers, which were pressed into plates. The peculiarity of the windows allows for individual light and air control. Every family member has claimed their own window niche, where they exhibit their images and figures of gods. Although the house consists of only one room, the family gradually uses this space, gets acquainted with its possibilities and gives the building and its surrounding a special identity. For the architects from “IN:CH architects and planners”, Bangalore, this was the beginning of a one year journey. The students’ work formed the base for our engagement with our partners, BELAKU, a local NGO, which helped in finding a family suitable to realize the first prototype house with. Farmer Anjunappa had to be skilled in build-
ing. Furthermore, he had to agree to supervise the building process of all the future housing units. He realized the house with the help of unskilled workers. Swissnex India supported the research phase financially. That way we were able to engage experts with specific knowledge and to pay for the materials. As architects we worked free of charge. One person in the office supervised the building process, by being on site every second day and giving directions. The insight we gained from this experience as architects, is directly effecting our knowledge of sustainable architecture and settlement development within our studios and workshops at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. With only few money we will be able to build more houses like this and improve the already existing. A further step is to remodel the old house of the family and give it to the community as a commune room. This will, as well, be another journey, for which we need partners.
Recharge Phuong Nguyen Student of Architecture University of Nebraska Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska, USA Phuong Nguyen is from Halong city, Vietnam. She completed her undergraduate studies in Interior Design and is currently a graduate student in the three year Master Program of Architecture at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL). This project was assigned and supported by David Karle, an Assistant Professor of Architecture at UNL, where he teaches courses in design and contemporary American urbanism. The inventory and analysis map was contributed by Phoung and her group members, Luke Abkes and Lenora Allen. This project was submitted to NAAM by Phuong in response to our open call.
I-80 in Nebraska is a 733 km long interstate from the border of Wyoming State to Omaha. I-80 runs along different parts of Nebraska, from metropolitan city with more than 400,000 people such as Omaha, primary class city with 270,000 people such as Lincoln, to smaller cities in rural areas with less than 2000 people and even villages with population of 100 to 800 people. The construction on I-80 began in 1957 and officially ended on October 1974. Not only improving traffic condition, the completion of I-80 Nebraska also helps revitalize business activity, especially for those communities near the interstate, by attracting businesses throughout the state including Walmart, Cabelas, restaurants and trucking firms. It’s an important moment of the highway driving experience to stop and get energized to continue on the journey. The existing conditions/activity of RECHARGE on the highway are Gas Station – to recharge vehicles and fast food places, truck stops, rest areas – to recharge the human body. This project is an attempt to explore the intersection between architecture, landscape and technology, science, the natural and synthetic through the possible development, innovation of rest stops on I-80 Nebraska
as case studies. All, some or limited rest stop services may include, full toilet facilities, vending machines, benches and tables. A few rest stops have picnic shelters, but no camping or sleeping are allowed. There are a number of issues with the current rest stops provided, such as the absence of proper food as well as being vulnerable to crime due to their locations. However, most importantly, there’s no designated place to sleep or meditate. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 “Sleep in America” poll, more than one-third (over 103 million people) in America have fallen asleep while driving. Four percent (eleven million drivers) have had an accident or nearly caused accident because they were too tired to drive. Over 100,000 police reported crashes are because of driver fatigue each year, which resulted in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 million in monetary losses. These horrifying number of loss are enough to speak about the danger of not getting enough rest while driving. So what could help? It is proved that spending even just a few minutes meditating can restore your calm and inner peace, which benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. These benefits don’t
end when your meditation session ends. It carries you more calmly through your day and gives you the energy to actually enjoy your trip. How does the new system designed change the experience of the highway rest stops? The new forms of highway recharge proposed are recharge through Speed up, and recharge through Slow down. Recharge through Speed up is speeding up the time it takes to recharge your vehicles by using different modern technologies and getting yourself awake with junk food and energy drinks from vending machines. Recharge through slowdown could be done by pulling over to get some sleep or meditation, which helps to improve brain function, attention span and delight oneâ€™s mood.
The new system of highway rest stop will have both the Slow down and Speed up stations to fulfill different user purposes. People who just want to get on their vehicles and finish their journey as soon as possible will utilize the Speed up Station, while people who have time and want to enjoy their trip healthily will utilize the Slow down station. There will be different recreational activities embedded within the function of both stations to enhance the experience of visitors. In the Speed up station, visitors will have the chance to ride the roller coaster while getting their cars charged at the same time. The Slow down station has meditation activities such as butterfly viewing or kite flying. The four main sections of the new rest stop system are the
Auto Recharge section (including the Roller Coaster-100% recharge and the Priority Recharge lane â€“ 25% recharge), the Truck Parking, the Car stop and the Slow down station. These sections create a gradient of speed of 75mph on the highway, 60 mph on the roller coaster, 40 mph on the priority lane, 30 mph on the truck stop, a 10 to 15 mph on the path to the cars stop and a walking speed of 3 mph on the Slow down station. The path to the car stop acts as a transition from the Speed up station to the Slow down station. The curvilinear of the path slows people down, helps them to take a quick look at what is happening within the captivating scenery of the Slow down area. People who are in no hurry will want to stop, park their car and enjoy the beauty of nature with different meditation ac-
tivities like bird watching, butterfly viewing or kite flying, to totally free their minds, get energized mentally and enjoy their trips. The red ribbon runs continuously from the start of the Speed up station to the end of the Slowdown station. Besides acting as a way finding system, the ribbon adapts itself to different purposes of the design, such as a roller coaster station, a platform for dart throwing, an overhead for way finding at the truck parking zone, a canopy for the car parking, then transforming into a bathroom and vending machine facility.
community initiative for villages in Uganda Eroy William Gwavvu Architectural Engineer, Designer Stockholm, Sweden
Eroy William Gwavvu is a recent graduate of Aalborg University Denmark, holding a Master of Science in Architecture. He is driven by the urge to create sustainable architecture through simple expressions of symbolism using fine detail. Most of his projects have revolved around sustainability. He is interested in creating architecture that has a social impact on its users and the community by positively improving the social well-being of people. Through his studies and travels to different parts of the world like Europe, Asia and Africa, he has broadened his understanding of architecture and design in general; it has also given him a more critical mind-set of Architecture and Design in relation to the different cultures and societies. What you are about to read and view, is Eroyâ€™s submission to NAAM in response to our open call.
Over the past years, Uganda has encountered a rapid growth in population and the wide spread of uneven distribution of resources within the country. This has in turn led to uneven development throughout the country with some areas remaining beyond unbearable conditions, particularly the villages. We can all agree that even development is an abstraction, all sectors cannot develop simultaneously but rather in series. African villages in particular are still lagging behind in terms of social and economic aspects. Turning the focus on the economic aspect, the people in villages mainly engage themselves in agricultural activities such as farming and animal rearing. However, the income generated from their economic back bone is not enough to improve the quality of their lives let alone their surroundings. African countries are therefore characterized by a major influx of inhabitants from rural areas to urban areas; the governments have however found this issue to be a problem rather than part of a solution simply because it is widely assumed that poverty causes the people to move rather than migration itself being the potential route out of poverty. Social and demographic transformations in most parts of Africa can be best understood as methods that are based on the complementary relationships between rural and urban developments. We look at rural developments sustaining the major urban markets. According to the United Nations, successful rural development stimulates and supports urban development, and urban development is often a key impetus to rural development, especially where the latter is based on relatively equal access to resources, that is, in most cases, access to small and medium size farming rather than agri-business production. But how can rural developments be achieved and sustained within a rather alarming demographic situation? I believe this can only be addressed by the equal distribution of resources to enable the rural areas to develop and sustain their systems. The built environment in villages is one of the major sectors that have suffered a huge
blow due to the lack of means and funds to develop it. A huge percentage of people in the villages still occupy vernacular architecture (small round huts made of mud and grass) as a form of shelter. The state of villages in Uganda is complex in that it presents its self with challenges and opportunities which paves way for a clear definition yet to be achieved. This project therefore explores the opportunities and challenges presented by a village called Mpirigwa, in Mityana district, Uganda. A community initiative in form of low income housing for villages in Uganda is established as a strategy to achieve and sustain rural developments. Much as the initiative generally takes its point of departure from sustainability, the main emphasis is placed on the aspect of social sustainability in order to stimulate the impacts on the social well-being of the people. Mpirigwa village, for that matter is used as a prototype to test the outcomes of the initiative in general. Mpirigwa is a village located in Mityana district in central Uganda. The district is approximately 77 km west of Kampala, the capital of the Uganda. According to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the district is estimated to be occupied by an estimate 311,600 people. Agriculture is the main income generating activity in the district with the two major cash crops being coffee and tea. The project also focuses on the technical aspects during the development of the project as a means to address the engineering point of view in architectural design. The in-
itiative is established on an urban scale in parallel to the neighbourhood scale. (Housing units) During the design process, the integrated design process is used as a method to tackle the key issues meant to be addressed. The integrated design process incorporates the design principles and calculation parameters to come up with an optimum solution. This superintends the consideration of tools from the engineering discipline, experimental testing to figure out what happens when specific decisions are made and the possible outcomes in the project as demonstrated by parametric and behavioural studies. The integrated iterative process therefore identifies and defines the design criteria such as building and context. They are used as points of departure during the design process, rather not the process itself. Even though the design criterion is presented discretely, they are not treated separately despite the fact that they are interrelated and conflicting at specific times. The design criterion is flexible during the process because ‘A building is not an autonomous matter but a dynamic and interactive part of society, a context and a user’s daily life.’ During the development of the master scheme, a variety of parameters are put into consideration with the scheme’s main point of departure being the accessibility to the proposed site and its integration with the existing street structure in Mpirigwa village. Mpirigwa village does not have a properly planned structure system therefore the proposed accessibility routes are structured in such a way that creates synergy with the existing street structure. Definite and relatively few paths and roads lead into the site in order to enable successful definition of the proposed neighbourhood. The master plan comprises of 1 storey free standing building volumes that are placed on cut terraces along contour lines and constitute of different mixed functions. The buildings are arranged and clustered in subcultures that are defined by the street structure on the site thereby giving different spatial qualities to the outside spaces. The user profile is distributed on the site based on the target-
ed user groups and different homesteads are arranged along the edges of the site with an accessible public space situated at the centre of the site. The central public space constitutes of public entities such as the proposed kindergarten, community hall, playing court and open green spaces. The lower edge of the site is characterised by the family units and commercial units. The commercial units are located along the intersection nodes or junctions within the public space’s vicinity for easy access. The single and couple’s homesteads are arranged on the more bustling edges of the site towards the north end of the site. The master plan also constitutes of farm land on the northern end of the site where the occupants of the community can carry out farming activities like growing of cash crops. The apartments are planned based on the different realms according to the user profile. The different realms are distributed amongst three volumes; the main house, kitchen and the washrooms. The main house comprises of the living areas such as the bedrooms, study areas, dining rooms and living room. The private spaces such as the bedrooms are situated towards the western end and the common spaces are situated towards the eastern end of the main house. The common spaces act as a point of transition between the private spaces and the outside detached spac-
es. As different families have different spatial needs, the building layouts are planned so that the different housing units vary in size. All housing units are characterised by semi private spaces around the homesteads The low income housing units aim to use their constructability as a strategy to engage the local people of Mpririgwa village in the creation of their built environment. The use of typically available and sustainable resources such as earth (soil), timber, iron sheets and efficient building technologies have not only proven to be an advantage to the environment but have also proven to have the capability to create impacts on the well-being of the local people in general. With the hydra form building technology, the local people are able to mould construction blocks out of soil and further taking it upon themselves to lay the blocks and construct their houses. This type of technology avails the local people with new skills and most importantly cheaper means to construct houses.
The core characteristic of the housing designs in the initiative is their capability to suit the needs of the different established user typologies in a village setting. With most homesteads being characterized by extended families with very huge numbers of inhabitants, the initiative takes a risk to break down the current trend in villages in order to diversify and create a window of possibilities. The housing units are however clustered and arranged in a manner that depicts the African traditional society as it used to be thereby creating the connection and relationship between the built environment and the cultural values of the local people. The houses are designed in a manner that is sensitive to the climate such as; the perforation of the building facades to enhance the use of natural ventilation, the use of raised sloping roof systems to harness renewable resources such as solar energy from the sun and rain water from the rainfall. All these design parameters provide, environmental, social and economic benefits to the people of Mpirigwa village.
Architecture for Education Paving the Way for a Better Tomorrow Sahar Saqlain Interior Designer, Writer Lahore, Pakistan
Sahar Saqlain got her Masters in Interior Design from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore in December 2005. Since March 2006 she has been working at M/s Kalim Siddiqui and Associates in Lahore. Currently she holds the position of Senior Project Interior Designer and Project Manager. She is a Visiting Faculty member at the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD), Lahore for B.S degree programs of Furniture Design and Manufacture and Textile Design. Besides, Sahar is the Features Editor in Architecture + Interiors (A+I) Magazine and also writes for ArchiTimes published in Karachi. She is also the Joint Secretary to THAAP (Trust for History, Art and Architecture of Pakistan). What you are about to read is a report that Sahar has made for NAAM about a complex of newly-built rural schools in Pakistan.
DAANISH SCHOOLS FOR BOYS & GIRLS At Chishtian - District Bahawalnagar, Hasilpur - District Bahawalpur & Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan Architectural Consultant: M/s Pervaiz Vandal & Associates Structural Consultant: M/s Civil & Urban Engineering (CUE) Plumbing & Electrical Consultant: M/s Jers Engineering
Consultants Client: Government of the Punjab, Pakistan Project Commencement: December, 2009 Project Handing over: May, 2011
Daanish School system is a paradigm for providing the talented children of the underprivileged communities with a state of the art facility for learning, boarding and lodging. The word ‘Daanish’ is derived from the Persian language, adopted in Urdu which means ‘Deep rooted wisdom that results from consistent accumulation and assimilation of knowledge’. The first Daanish Schools started functioning in Hasilpur-District Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Chishtian-District Bahawalnagar. Educational and residential expenses of the students in these schools are borne by the Government. They have been equipped with many facilities of modern schools including arts club, computer lab, science lab, gardening and sports club. The entire building complex includes separate Primary & High School sections with an education block, a hostel block, an administration block, a library, an auditorium, a sports ground, the principal’s residence, the staff residences, a mosque, a park & shops. Special considerations have been taken into account by the architect in designing the Primary school block, in order to encourage a child’s instinctive curiosity & love for learning. A 'climatically adaptive approach' towards the architectural design of the building has been adopted to provide thermal comfort with minimal expenditure of energy. For this reason the two storied high academic blocks were built on the concept of a ‘building within a building’. Rath-
er than investing in non-renewable energy to counteract the local climate of the desert region, the natural energies were harnessed to great advantage by adapting the architectural design of the building. This has resulted in a major saving in maintenance costs. Daanish School Campus at Chishtian is located at 10 km distance from Chishtian and 37 km from district headquarter Bahawalnager. It is an underdeveloped area with only few industries. The site is spread at an area of 400 acres with the covered area of 296,000 sft. Before the construction, it was a desolate and abandoned place with massive sand dunes but it has now changed into a place that will render a significant role in changing the fate of the country. Daanish School Campus at Hasilpur is locat-
ed at 6 km distance from the Bahawalpur road near Judicial Complex. The site is spread at an area of 400 acres with the covered area of 296,000 sft. The facilities in the academic block include fully furnished IT Labs, interactive smart boards, library, science lab, art rooms and student counselorâ€™s offices. The hostel block consists of spacious and well-ventilated dormitories, study rooms, common lounge and mess. The complex facilities also include vast playgrounds & residential blocks for the staff. Daanish School Campus at Rahim Yar Khan is located near Sunny Bridge, Palace road in main City. The site is spread at an area of 100 acres with the covered area of 180,000 sft. This school stands in stark contrast to the rural terrain of the city. It has proved to be an affirmative action in pro-
viding the underprivileged children with a chance to have an equal opportunity for education. The design & form of the entire building complex are replicated at all the three sites. When designing in deserts, the flow of water during the rainy season has to be prevented so that it should not keep eroding the sand. For this reason the architect did not propose any culverts in the design & looked into the possibilities for rain harvesting, so that the ground should retain as much water & moisture as possible. The terracing system was designed in a way that does not let the water flow. Due to sand dunes and uneven topography, designing the structure for these schools was yet another challenge. For this, a special pile foundation was designed & laid 4 to 5 feet below the surface level within the compacted earth. The main entrance gate of the complex is unique with dome shaped structures adding to its value & grandeur. The schoolâ€™s education block is an un-conventional cocoon shaped structure in brick lattice. A green area up to a distance of 30 ft. has been developed around this structure. The natural deflection of sunlight from the grass on to the building has helped in lowering down the temperature to quite an extent, thereby providing a comfortable learning environment to the students. An open to sky pond for life sciences & agricultural botany was initially proposed in the courtyard but later at the time of construction it was developed into a green area. A continuous corridor encircles this courtyard with doors opening into the classrooms. Each classroom has another opening towards the outside of the building along with windows which are cordoned off & surrounded by a cocoon shaped structure in brick lattice. The space in between acts as a corridor that has a semi covered ceiling. It also acts as a buffer zone for reducing the heat & dust storm thereby keeping the inside room temperatures at normal. The objective of setting up Danish Schools was to provide modern educational facilities to the students of underprivileged areas. The building complex does not only fulfill the purpose for its intended use, but also provides
for the answers to the questions of sustainability & green building by utilizing the natural resources to the fullest. A thorough understanding of the local climate was required for the creation of an agreeable micro-climate with minimal investment of energy. The project is a fine example of outstanding architectural compositions with a climate conscious design.
An Elevated Embrace of Open Space Brad Wissmueller Student of Architecture University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Brad Wissmueller is in his second year of the three-year Masters of Architecture program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before entering the program he attended Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History, studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, and earned a Masters of Arts in Philosophy from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. For this project, he sought to create an architecture that was derived directly from the site and which would house or contribute to a recreational activity that was also site appropriate. The site was large, unusual, and very rural: the Nebraska Sandhills, a unique ecoregion comprising about 25% of the state of Nebraska. What you are about to read and view, is Brad’s submission to NAAM in response to our open call.
Part of the appeal of rural areas is how they foil the urban areas where an increasing number of people are now living. What makes them special is the lack of buildings—the absence of a human presence. This is seen clearly in the Nebraska Sandhills. The Sandhills are a unique ecoregion that—due to being difficult to farm—have remained largely untouched during human history. Even though it covers 25% of Nebraska, the only towns in the region are at the periphery and rarely have a population greater than 500. For this project I was tasked with creating an architectural intervention appropriate for the Sandhills which included a recreational component. Stargazing is a truly unique, rural-specific recreation. Whereas in many cities nowadays not a single star can be seen, in the rural environment of the Sandhills, where there is no light or air pollution, you can not only see stars but galaxies. Also, like the Sandhills, the night sky is vast and untouched. To play off this connection, and to preserve the land, I looked at ways for my architecture to occupy the middle plane between the Sandhills and the sky. The floating helium bubble not only achieves this, but also does not visually disrupt the experience and allows for a dynamic and dream-like experience appropriate for stargazing in the Sandhills. Cities are fast-paced, orderly, rational, and efficient. They are the permanent mark of human civilization and the architecture they have given rise to is stationary, con-
trolled, load-bearing, resource-intensive, earthbound, and weather resistant. What makes rural areas special is they provide a slow-paced and raw experience of being truly in nature andâ€”with the Sandhills especiallyâ€”the
mark of humanity is almost entirely absent. Therefore this architecture, I propose, should be different. Why not a mobile, unpredictable, weightless, resource-light, unbound, weather-responsive architecture?
Adaptive Canvas Dexter Hansen Student of Architecture University of Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Dexter grew up on a farm in Western Nebraska. He got a double major for his bachelorâ€™s degree in Business Administration and Sports Administration. He is currently a graduate architecture student at the University of Nebraska and a teaching assistant within the college and also a graduate school ambassador. Dexter submitted his project to NAAM, upon the encouragement of his studio professor, in response to our open call.
Having grown up in western Nebraska, I can relate to rural architecture. There is a beauty to the open range and that beauty does not beg for attention. It is beautiful because it is unobstructed. Some would question whether architecture even exists on the vast plains or if it even needs to; but that is a narrow minded way to look at architecture. Architecture does not have to be big, grand, and eye-opening. Architecture can exist in a way that is both subtle and beautiful and that is the opportunity that lies within rural architecture. There is a very unique land sitting within the boundaries of Nebraska known as the Sandhills. The Nebraska Sandhills cover more than one quarter of the state but account for less than 10% of the state’s population. The land cannot be cultivated. 85% of the Sandhills is still intact. The only means of production in the Sandhills is ranching livestock. Going to the Sandhills is relatable to stepping back in time. It is an untouched land and there is a certain kind of beauty about it. The project that I propose is an attempt at creating an architecture that is subtle yet functionally innovative. An architectural form that makes sense given the environment, history and culture of the Nebraska Sandhills. In order to create an architectural form that mimicked its environment, I had to consider the people of the land. Throughout history the Sandhills were not
settled. Settlers simply passed through, to them the land was waste. However, there were people that saw the benefits of the land. There were a few Indian tribes that understood the potential of the land and they thrived. They thrived because they understood and adapted to animal movement. Animals migrate. One moment there could be an abundance of animals in front of you and the next they could be gone. The Indian tribes’ only hope was to move with the animals, making them nomadic. An understanding of the land’s past made me consider the idea of nomadic architecture and what that could be, how it could be used and who would use it today. Conservation of this land is very important as well. It was untouched in the beginning because nobody understood its potential. It is untouched now because we know how important the land truly is. Truthfully, architecture doesn’t belong here. How can architecture exist where is doesn’t belong?
The concept of the proposed architecture is to relate to the Sandhills. Relatable characteristics include subtle (doesn’t compete with the land), adaptable (relates to the people of the land), functional (multiple uses) and conservative (the architecture must always serve a purpose). The architectural concept is to start with modular units
ranchers could connect to create an interactive blanketing system. A 5â€™ X 5â€™ adaptable square unit that could double in size utilizing an extendable/collapsible type structure. One unit alone is not much but by putting units together the structural system can begin to take different shapes. The system acts like an adaptable blanket that can take multiple forms. When the module system is not being utilized it lays flat, protecting the fragile land. (Due to the sandy nature of the land, erosion is prominent.) Ranchers could utilize this blanking system in multiple locations to protect damaged land. The ranchers will also utilize the system for personal protection when needed. The idea is to be able to form space under the system which can be utilized in different ways. Every rancher has different variables to deal with. The modular system would allow for differences that the ranchers have by simply connecting or disconnecting modular pieces creating a grid pattern that works for each situation. It would be up to the rancher to decide how many systems he wants to create on his land, how far apart they are and how big they are. The idea would be that ranchers would strategically place these systems in a pattern on their land in a rotational grazing pattern. Ranchers would herd cattle from the homestead to the field with the first modular system is set up, to the field with the second modular system set up and so onâ€Ś. Until finally ending up back at the homestead at
the end of the grazing season. The modular system would give them shelter so they would not have to journey back to the homestead every night. It would also allow them to stay with their herd to monitor and control their cattle to more efficiently utilize the land. When the modular unit is not in use, it lays dormant protecting the land from wind damage. When ranchers want to use the system they disconnect a few joints and pop it up like a tent. When they are ready to move on they lay the system back down to protect the land while they are away.
What is great about the system is that it allows the user to define the space. Two people do not need as much space as ten. The system would allow for that kind of variation. Two people could create a space that works for them using the same modular system ten people could use to create a space for themselves. The modular unit could be used in multiple ways. Modular units could be put together to create a tent, a barn, an artificial landscape, structures for different types of recreational activities or even a complex of these multiple functions.
Thorn House Samira Abedi Graduate Student of Landscape Design University of Tehran
Inspired by characteristics of rural architecture of southern Iran , this project is part of a design that won the third place in “The Memorial for the Martyrs of the Imposed War ” design competition held in Iran, 2012. Sponsored by Hourno association, the competition was held after a brief visit to the site and an introduction of cultural, historical, geographical and natural backgrounds to the participants. What you will read and see further on, is Samira’s project description submitted to NAAM in response to our open call.
The manner of interaction between vernacular architecture and rural architecture of these areas, in addition to climate and geographical issues has shaped the rough concept of the project â€œThorn Houseâ€?. Taking advantage of provided shadows by dampened thorns and the natural flow of air between them has solved the issues of heat and dust in the air. Also, the project tries not to get involved in the adventures of form. The space is shaped through the effort of projecting theoretical foundations behind its subject, resulting the project to be humble and respectful towards the climate and vernacular architecture of the region.
The Pig Barn Bert de Muynck Architect, Co-founder MovingCities Shanghai, China
This is a report in pictures from a pig barn in Taiyang, China, designed and built by Hangzhou based practice â€˜Atelier Chen Haoruâ€™. It is totally built with sustainable and local materials with a bamboo structure. Atelier Chen Haoru is setting a new standard for building in the Chinese countryside. He was one of the architects included in 'ADAPTATION - architecture and change in China' exhibition at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Bert has prepared this report for NAAM.
The Tale of TWO VILLAGES Baran Tehrani Editor, NAAM Student of Architecure University of Tehran
In Romania, the farther you get from the capital city, and the closer to the Transylvania region, the villages become more pure, original and untouched. I started my journey from Bucharest, gradually moving towards the surrounding areas. Bordenii Mari was first; it was just a 40-minute train ride away from the capital city. This village had been renovated, and its wooden facade had been destroyed and replaced by concrete buildings. The remaining parts of the villageâ€™s nature that had survived and was left untouched was the only remarkable sight of this place.
After visiting Sinaia, Brasov and Sibiu, I finally reached Sighisoara. Sighisoara has an eight-century history and is said to be the birthplace of Vlad the third- the brutal emperor of Romania which became the inspiration for the character of Count Dracula in Bram Stokerâ€™s novel. Sighisoara is one of the most important tourism sights of Romania which consists of seven villages and is known for its citadel which is a world heritage site.
Speaking of citadels reminds me of a while ago when I visited Qaleh Qafeh; a village and also a citadel in Golestan province in Iran. Qaleh Qafeh was surrounded by breathtaking nature and could have become a tourism sight for the country because of its natural and historical features. However, this place is now facing crisis due to its growing percentage of migrations to big cities. Sighisoaraâ€™s Citadel and Qaleh Qafeh
are similar in many ways yet distinct due to different management approaches and thus two very contrasting futures await them. The remaining paragraphs are both a memoir of my journey to both places and also a comparative case study between Qaleh Qafeh and the Citadel.
The Citadel has a history of 8 centuries. As expected, this place has
a rich heritage from the medieval times, most of which are turned into museums and major touristic sites nowadays; such as The Clock Tower, The Torture Museum, The All German Boys School and two Gothic churches. Also, it is surrounded by a historical defense wall which frames the surrounding nature. The historical, old, colorful yet untouched architecture of the Citadel is a key factor for attracting hundreds of tourists to this place. The prospective policies of Sighisoara which have prevented the face of it from having major changes, results in a unique and harmonic atmosphere which is hard to find elsewhere. Photos of Sighisoara’s colorful streets and the local unique architecture posted on social networks, tempt so many people to travel there; which also was the main reason for my own visit. Qaleh Qafeh has also eight centuries of history. Defense was the main reason of its creation, as it was primarily the site of a citadel surrounded by walls and bastions but nowadays you can see no remaining trails of that since it has been demolished and replaced by the villagers’ houses. Fortunately though, the face of this village has remained intact and has survived time. However, it has started to change as Qaleh Qafeh has become a target of baseless and immethodical renovation projects nowadays. The old, historical, wooden and thatched, local eye-catching architecture is now
being destroyed and replaced with concrete and metal obscene ones. This is harming the face of the village.
Both the Citadel and Qaleh Qafe are surrounded by beautiful nature and are established in mountains. In some parts of the Citadel the surrounding wall has been omitted in order to provide a view of the landscape and also a covered staircase has been constructed which connects the place to the higher parts of the mountains where different places such as cafes and benches have been embedded for people to sit and admire the beauty. But the significant natural surroundings of Qaleh Qafe can’t be admired since they have become a site of garbage disposal. Also since there is no sewerage system, the sewage flows on the ground till reaching the main stream which also causes water pollution. There are also lots of natural caves in the mountains surrounding Qaleh Qafe with mesmerizing beauty and tales behind, but since they are hard to reach, not many people get to visit them, thus no one knows the legends revolving around them, whilst almost everyone knows about Sighisoara’s Dracula.
Sighisoara’s economy is mostly based on tourism. The streets of Sighisoara are filled with street artists, catching
the eyes of every passer-by. There’s a gallery in the main square of the Citadel that showcases the artworks of the local artists during the year. This motivates the people of the village to have artistic outlets. The majority of the residents are engaged with manufacturing handicrafts such as leather handbags, local costumes, wooden and felt dolls, jewelry and handmade soaps. There are lots of stands on the streets selling homemade chocolates with wild fruits, herbal teas made out of local products and different types of jam. Nowadays some residents rent out their homes or spare rooms to the travelers and make a living out of this. Then again in Qaleh Qafe, Agriculture is the main source of income, which has been paralyzed in the past few years due to its nearly zero turnover. The villagers have put their lives on hold and chosen to migrate to bigger cities in search of a better life. Due to the absence of an appropriate market for the handicrafts, people have stopped these types of activities and according to an inappropriate intercultural education and the low number of visitors, the presence of tourists is accompanied with a feeling of insecurity for the local people; thus there is no accommodation facility for the travelers. There are different music, custom and dancing events and festivals happening in Sighisoara’s citadel which gives the people the opportunity to
get acquainted with the culture. Its atmosphere is always filled with music, performances and people. The surrounding is neat and its people are happy with their lives. By means of their local culture, the residents use all opportunities to develop their economy and attract tourists. This contradicts the stagnation that rules in Qaleh Qafeh. People are living in the quest for urbanization. They become more distant from their culture and are attracted more and more to what is happening in the cities. Reluctance to make a better life leaves the people of Qaleh Qafeh no choice but to migrate. All these result in a village with no soul. People live with the melancholy of becoming a citizen of a big city and the population of the village is decreasing day by day; sadly enough, Qaleh Qafeh is becoming a forgotten land.
Qaleh Qafeh, Iran
Imitation Game Amirhossein Vafa Student of architecture University of Tehran
-Hello! -Hi, Welcome! -Thanks. Are you from ‘Ouraman’? -Yeah, from around here. Where are you from? -Tehran. We are students. -Visiting? Huh? -Yes. Nice village you have. Good for you, enjoying such weather, and the nature… [He smirked, gradually bringing a strange look to his face.] -Yes, and we say the same: good for you living in Tehran... I choked, as I always do in such situations, especially in response to as shocking of an answer as he gave me. Having nothing to say, I reached for the camera. -Do you mind taking a picture with us? -Not at all! Come on.
The beauty was pure and magnificent; mountains covered in green from foot to top: A paradise up high. As I was looking around and enjoying the beauty, I saw a group of rural men getting off a blue pickup truck at the opposite side of the village on a higher ground. I got curious and started to look for a way to get to them, but there seemed to be none. It was a dirt road they were standing on staring at us. It must have been a really peculiar scene for them, to see so many guys and girls at once in their petit village. Climbing my way to where they were, I was going over our probable conversation in my head, nervously taking a friend’s camera to have an excuse for starting a chat. I got there, they gazed at me… -Hello! -Hi, Welcome! ….
Villages and then cities, as two most primary types of human settlements, have each had their own qualities and characteristics throughout the history. Advantages of rural life come to you in the very first minutes that you step inside a village: pleasant weather, scent of wet soil, homemade bread, and so on. Some others are concealed deeply in the life of the village, they have to be lived in order to be felt. It might seem a bit too poetic, but the
love that a builder of a rural house – who is probably the owner too – shares with the materials he builds with, tenders a sense of life into its architecture that cannot be ignored. Cities too, have their own qualities and advantages. Rapidity, is probably the most exciting of them. In fact, many of these qualities have almost become the city’s inherent functions: for instance, adequate and diverse job opportunities are the core of what makes a city. A quality which may, and only may, explain what that rural man was arguing. Each of these characteristics seem to act as two opposite ends of a magnet attracting human desires; characteristics that can only be found in one of lifestyles: urban or rural. But mankind is too greedy not to seek all the goods. This greed has resulted in several theories in modern architecture and urbanism, theories based on synthesis of villages and towns. Sir Ebenezer Haward’s garden city movement is a prominent example of such theories which, however, was never successful.
In all these ideas, apparently theorized to enhance the quality of human life, there lies a common notion: imitation. Imitation of a quality or a pattern applied in another time or place, imitation of nature and vernacular architecture applied to prefabricated concrete dwellings in the
suburbs, or ridiculously exaggerated vegetation on top of a mid-town skyscraper. The fact that these kinds of imitations drive human life to betterment is undeniable, but it can’t be denied too that the feeling of such betterment is untrue and momentary. Fact is, watching a few shrubs in the balcony of a noisy midtown condo can never replace the pleasure of lying on a cottage terrace at the time of fresh breeze and scent of trees. On the other hand, let’s not forget that the tendency for imitation will have an even more destructive impact on villages. Even though they used to live with their own lively spirit for years, villages are now inevitably becoming more and more similar to cities. How cruel and clumsy, is the presence of enormous pylons over rural hills of a mountain village, or outlandish steel-structure houses constructed with a strangely heterogeneous manner towards their surroundings; killing a traditional and self-reliant architecture. These unpleasant and unrelated combinations will gradually destroy the purely traditional appearance of a village, disincline people from rural life and decolorize its bold values. The big question is: are these kinds of imitations the only solution? Isn’t there another way? The cliché phrase: “enhancing the quality of human life” has to have a better answer. Villages aren’t the same any more.
Where Earth flows Like River A piece of reminiscence
Nima Tabrizi Designer, Architect, Co-Founder Atelier MMaN Tehran, Iran
The earth is moving. I open my eyes to see a swinging emergency lamp. I sit up and look at sunbeams falling upon the hills of â€œAli-abad Lezgibolaghâ€? through an opening in the fabric, the tent I am staying in belongs to the Iranian Red Crescent. Aftershocks.1 1.SALAM Group, under the supervision of Mehdi Reisi. In collaboration with Astaneh Architects Association.
It is the summer of 2012 and I’m 22. Along with a group of other volunteer students, most of whom I have never met before, I have come to the earthquake-stricken Varzaghan to build2. The damaged region holds many villages. Scattered pieces of wood, piles of stone and soil: all that is left of them. Red Crescent has set up its white tents, Bonyad-Maskan3 is not here yet! We dig the earth, and carry heavy stones with wheelbarrows to build the foundations of stone and cement. We are here to construct earth-bag buildings inspired by Nader Khalili4’s initiative. We start four workshops, three shelters for Ali, Hojjat, and Hossein, and a public bath for the village.
It is the summer of 2015 and I’m 25, looking through my notes from those days… From Ali-abad Lezgibolagh: 1. “We ask a young boy whether he wants to help, carrying wheelbarrows and bringing stone. He tells us he will leave this village, walks right past us not bothering to help. He’ll probably abandon the village to go to Varzaghan, Tabriz or even Tehran…” 2. “Hadi, a young boy of Ali-abad Lezgibolagh, resists to help. He says the government has promised to build up the region in three months. I tell him the promise won’t be kept if he is not willing to help make it happen…” 3. “Here, earth is like the sea, wavy… mountains are not the reliable sup-
ports they used to be anymore, they move and move several times a day, reminding us that nothing is as stable as it seems. Hello dynamism! “ 4. “What’s become of the get-up-andgo...? The local pride…?” I went back to the village, a month later, to find the public bath almost finished, Hojjat’s shelter half-done, Ali’s shelter abandoned and Hossein’s completely destroyed. Ali-abad Lezgibolagh was filled with half-done constructions done by Bonyad- Maskan, constructions of no bond to the roots.
2.August 2012, Varzaghan Earthquake, East Azerbaijan province, Iran. 3.An Iranian governmental foundation established after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with the aim of providing housing for the underprivileged serving as the administrator of the development of the country’s villages and construction of low-cost urban residential units. 4.Nader Khalili (2008-1936) was an Iranian-born American architect, writer, and humanitarian.
Catch-22 in Mount Sinai Payvand Taheri Editor, NAAM Student of Architecure University of Tehran It's 8 AM and here is Qaleh Qafeh Village. The routine life is going to start soon. The sound of cattle and roosters and sheep can be heard. Their shepherd - who is a young girl - will be grazing them soon. A group of old men are sitting on the stairs of a house by the main route of the village. They used to be farmers, as many others in this village, but these days, it’s not worthwhile to be a farmer anymore. It’s a ten-hour trip by car from Tehran to Minoodasht, and From Minoodasht, it takes about an hour to get to Qaleh Qafeh. The road winds around Mount “Maran” and passes the Heaven1 to get to the village.
According to ancient stories, this is Mount Qaf 2 where Simorgh3 used to live. However, the real raison d’etre of the village is a castle located in the old part. The castle is surrounded from three sides by the valley and from one side by the mountain. Therefore, it provides a safe area which brings together many people to live. According to the residents, many people used to migrate to this village in the past. The population of the village was about 800 people in 2006, but it has decreased to about 430 people this year. The educated population has decreased equally. Educational facilities are not good enough so this might be the reason behind the migrations and the reduction in demographics. Fatemeh is 8. She goes to the only school of the village. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. The residents of southern Qaleh Qafeh have to go to Northern Qaleh Qafeh - which is the neighboring village located at the top of mount Maran- to attend high school and to continue their education. Now we are at the top of mount Maran and Qaleh Qafeh looks beautiful from up here. You can see the monolithic fabric of Qaleh Qafeh embedded in green mountains. Houses are
tiny and beautiful. Almost all of them are covered with thatch. There is no unsavory cement block or if there is, it’s not visible from here. New buildings in the village are made of brick. Like the mosque which is reconstructed lately. The mosque has been rebuilt many times in recent years, yet its facade is still incomplete. It’s not only a place to pray in, but also an office or maybe a meeting room. There’s a meeting in Fatemieh - the women’s part of the mosque - and since the speaker is open, you can hear what’s going on. Mr. Mostafaloo who is the son of the former land owner of the village, is the head of the Village Council and is attending this meeting. Several meetings are held every day, but it’s not easy to say how successful these meetings are. Noticeably, there are many problems with governmental and environmental organizations regarding garbage disposal and other similar issues. There isn’t any sewage disposal network either. Considering the fact that agriculture doesn’t pay off anymore, it seems that administrative jobs are more popular in the village. More specifically, the bureaucracy. All you need is plenty of daily meetings and try not to do anything efficient, and that’s
all. Here’s an example of the process I went through only to obtain super-basic demographics from the health center4: First of all, you must provide an introduction letter from your original university. Then, you must go to a university located in a nearby city. After the acceptance, you have to go to the city’s health center, and at last you get a letter to the village’s health center, you have to go there, and you will hopefully gain access to the secret population statistics - if the health center isn’t close, that is! The rural fabric of Qaleh Qafeh is not yet affected by urban architecture. However, in terms of social fabric, people in Qaleh Qafeh are heavily under the influence of a wrecked urban state of mind. It is noticeable even in the way they dress. Unfortunately, this lifestyle is preventing them from production. It’s almost noon and everywhere is quiet. The sun shines on the green farms all around the village. Kids are laughing and playing down the hill. Suddenly the village is alive... Qaleh Qafeh is yet full of promising children.
1.The narrow part of the road named Chehel-Chai is also known as “Behesht” – «The Heaven». 2.Mount Qaf is a legendry mountain in the well-known Iranian grand epic poem “Shahnameh”, which is unimaginably high and far. In Iranian culture and literature “Mount Qaf” is a symbol of remoteness. 3.“Simorgh” is a legendry gigantic bird who lives at the summit of mount Qaf. 4.The smallest healthcare unit in Iran that operates in rural areas as a community health provider.
Human Zoo Ali Ghazi Student of Architecture University of Tehran translated from the Farsi by Nima Dabirian
By reaching the climax of European cinema and its beginning to wane in the 80’s, developed countries felt the urge to discover and use the raw and natural materials of other territories; the third era of colonialism. Meanwhile, the film “Where Is the Friend's Home?” by “Abbas Kiarostami” paved the way for others. Ahmad Ahmadpour, the little boy of “Where Is the Friend’s Home?” while running the curved path on the hills of Kokar village in Gilan showed the way to Locarno, Rome, Amsterdam and ultimately, Cannes to every filmmaker. Now was the time for kids and elders to migrate to film screens while directors headed to faraway villages. And while performing this feat, their films went to faraway countries and won faraway awards.
The directors of the European festivals, like their sailor ancestors, were happy from discovering intact lands with intact materials; films of these wonderlands were rich of such resources. Resources like scenes they’ve never encountered; materials that you can’t see in the usual story-based or blockbuster films. Post-story Cinema? Metanarrative? There is always room for arbitrary commentary and critique. They smell of mysticism too. The destructive kind; best suited for the new generation of European hippies who are harmless and non-remonstrative. On the other hand, there’s the ascendency of Hollywood’s story-telling cinema. The Europeans became speechless abate of modern cinema giants. Materials like long shots and plan-sequences. The idea of referring to cinema itself and the idea of film in film (obvious in Kiarostami’s works). Now with this new discovery, even the likes of Godard and Bordwell lost control1. In the aftermath of the 1990 earthquake in Iran that killed over 30,000 people, the leading role of Kiarostami’s “Life, and Nothing More…” – played by Farhad Kheradmand – goes among the earthquake victims. His excuse is to get some news about the actors of “Where Is the Friend's
Home?”. He chats with groups of people and tells them that “life goes on” and leaves. He always keeps his distance, he doesn’t get out of the car unless he has to. He is not familiar with the agony of those people and he doesn’t even try, and of course he does nothing to ease their pain too. Just like the filming crew who sit in the car with their camera and film the earthquake victims along the way from the side window and don’t even bother to get out of their car unless they really have to. The earthquake is a justification, but the film could have taken place in any other time, and the motion picture of the people from the side window would have run in front of us anyway and then life would have still gone on. Filmmakers have traveled to villages as tourists. Things that look exotic to a tourist are everyday stuff to locals; a tourist looks for eye-catching keepsakes to prove that he/she has been somewhere; like taking snapshots on a vacation or buying fake handicrafts. It’s the same with these touristic films. They are all the same. It doesn’t matter where it takes place; villages of Gilan or Kurdistan. When war broke out in Iraq and Afghanistan, these festival-filmmakers (the festives!) went there too. They even
went to Africa for their last resort. Because it doesn’t matter where you go or who you’re filming, the only thing that matters is filming primitivism. Let’s forget about our humanitarian masks and human-rights rationalizations. Because the filmmaker hasn’t considered the residents of these villages as humans and doesn’t introduce them to us as humans. The villagers are creatures that are presented to the viewer because they are unusual and astonishing or worse, they are pathetic and pitiful. The filmmaker sells their pain and in return, gains attention and awards. And cinema as a humanistic form of art, becomes a postmodern form of those “freak shows” and “human zoos” of the late 19th and early 20th century that took place in Europe. But this time, we are the directors of these shows and the honor of this racism goes to us as well. For example, take “A Time for Drunken Horses” (a film by Bahman Qobadi). Who cares where it happens? The only thing that matters is the misery. In the beginning, they took away their car and the father dies, the cripple brother is dying and they are forcing the sister to marry someone she doesn’t want to, they trade the brother for a mule and they are
1.Jean-Luc Godard has said: «Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.» [http://www.theguardian.com/ film/2005/apr/16/art] David Bordwell named Kiarostami as the best filmmaker of 90s: “…Person of the Decade can only be Abbas Kiarostami, who seems along with his Iranian colleagues and the best Asian directors to be reinventing the history of the cinema…” [http://www. filmcomment.com/article/film-comments-best-of-the90-s-poll-part-one/]
attacked by officers while passing the borders and the drunk donkeys don’t walk. That’s the whole film; a list of unfortunate incidents happening one after another. Reaching a point that it even becomes predictable and annoying. The characters are just a reaction to the incidents; usual and stereotypic reactions. A family loses its financial supporter, so the senior son has to work harder. That’s it. We don’t see details of their relationships and terms as a family. And actually it doesn’t matter if they are a family or a bunch of random people together. Even their count doesn’t matter. Because none of them has a personality of its own and none of their characters are developed. When this happens, we don’t relate to them as a viewer. We might see pathetic creatures but we don’t understand them. They have a lot of problems, but it is not our problem. So the distance created, is identical to the stance of the creatures behind the bars of a zoo. When the filmmaker does not care to develop a character throughout the film, it doesn’t mean that it’s globalized, it’s just undefined. Accidents can happen everywhere and to everyone. But it’s the person in the center of these accidents and the humane life created within them that has originality, not the accidents per se. If the humane life goes on in all its aspects, then we can claim we have shared an experience with the people in the film. And when we share an experience, we never forget it.
It is always a hard task to compare, but let’s take Fellini’s “Amarcord” once (regardless of its romantic and nostalgic aspects). The film is free from the realist and documentary style masks that are common in Iranian cinema (like real location filming), but it still carries the legacy of Italian neo-realistic cinema. So the important feat which it is successful in doing, is building the whole little city in front of us. In a way that when the two-hour length of the film goes on and the "manine" or puffballs float on the wind again, we have lived a year in that town. We know “Rimini” and its people and they live on in our memories forever. In Iran, we have valuable villages that we haven’t known and our filmmakers haven’t known. The world has got to know our filmmakers, but no one has found the opportunity to know our villages.
image acknowledgments Cover Illustration by Masih Barin. courtesy of author and NAAM© Three Sketches for Three Essays pp 4, 7. photos by Arshia Eghbali. Abnabat pp 8-15. archive photos courtesy of Abnabat© . submitted to NAAM by Kimia Motamedi. Rural-Urban Dispute p 16, map courtesy of Mezzocity Workshop ©, University of Tehran. submitted to NAAM by Nima Tabrizi. pp 17-19. photos by Nima Tabrizi. Tibet’s Heritage pp 20-23. photos courtesy of FHT © . submitted to NAAM by M Reza Karfar. Malur Farmer House pp 26-29. photos and diagrams courtesy of IN:CH © . submitted to NAAM by Romana Sander. RECHARGE pp 30-35. images courtesy of authors (Phuong Nguyen, Luke Abkes, Lenora Allen) . submitted to NAAM by Phuong Nguyen. Community Initiative for Villages in Uganda pp 36-39. images courtesy of author (Eroy William Guwavvu) . submitted to NAAM by author. Architecture for Education pp 40-43. images courtesy of architect (Parvaiz Vandal & Associates) . submitted to NAAM by Sahar Saqlain. An Elevated Embrace of Open Space pp 44-45. images courtesy of author (Brad Wissmueller) . submitted to NAAM by author. Adaptive Canvas pp 46-49. images and diagrams courtesy of author (Dexter Hansen) . submitted to NAAM by author. Thorn House pp 50-51. images courtesy of author (Samira Abedi) . submitted to NAAM by author.
The Pig Barn pp 24, 25, 52-55, 56, 57. images and diagrams courtesy of architect (Atelier Chen Haoru) . submitted to NAAM by Bert de Muynck. The Tale of Two Villages pp 58-61. photos by Baran Tehrani. Imitation Game p 62. photo by Arshia Eghbali. Where Earth Was Flowing Like River pp 64, 65 (right), image courtesy of Salam Group ©. submitted to NAAM by Nima Tabrizi. p 65 (left), photo by Nima Tabrizi. Catch-22 in Mount Sinai p 66. watercolor by Arshia Eghbali. original size 35x35 cm. Human Zoo p 68. film still from ‘Life and Nothing More...’ (1997) by Abbas Kiarostami. p 70. An ad for a ‘Peoples Show’ (Völkerschau) in Stuttgart (Germany), 1928. via Wikipedia.
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Published on Feb 11, 2016
NAAM explores [un]architecture: Rural Areas, and tries to shed a light on this forgotten part of architectural discourse. In this issue, NAA...