Seyed Hadi Mirmiran, represents a significant architect and urban figure in the late 90s’ in Iran. After the Islamic revolution and beginning of the war, for almost a decade terms of “arts & architecture” in Iran had been used like an isolated luxury object cause of the dominant ideology and economic conditions. But in the early ’90s, a new flow of architecture with Islamic historicist approach begun and continued almost for a decade in which Mirmiran‘s works are counted the most impressive examples of this period.
Mirmiran was born in 1944 in Qavin. He studied architecture in the faculty of fines arts of Tehran University under the supervision of Professor Seyhoun( one of the most significant role of modern architecture in Iran). In the 60’s, as he had been working as a junior architect in Isfahan, Myths of modern architecture like “Forughui, Seyhoun, Farmanfarmayan, Nader Ardalan, Kamran Diba and Hossein Amanat” were trying to find an identity for contemporary Persian architecture and had created lasting traces.
After the Islamic revolution and the beginning of the war between Iran & Iraq(1978), the architecture went through a very isolated decade, most architects left the country before the revolution and caused a mortal silence in Iranian architecture. At the same time, Mirmiran was working as the head of the Design department (in Iranian social housing co.), which was in line with the main government policies for low-income housing, during the war.
After the war, Architecture once again became an instrument to demonstrate the culture and power of the Islamic republic of Iran. The main policy was to construct a city which fits with the need of Islamic Ummah and promotes its power. In this period Mirmiran established his own company, Naghshe Jahan Pars, in Tehran ( Capital of Iran). The landmark of the architecture in the post-revolutionary period of Iran, was the design competition for an Academy of culture in Tehran. Naghshe Jahan Pars was the winner of the competition and this was Mirmiran’s first achievement as a famous architect.
Mirmiran’s design is the first admirable instance of real Historicist architecture after the Islamic revolution, cause before that, all of the islamic-historitic examples were reduced to the formal designs and vulgar forms. (Historicist approach was first introduced in 40s’ by a foreign architect “Andre Godard” laterally with the anti-islamic approach which adopts forms of pre-islamic architecture.)
Mirmiran used the concept of opposition of inside and outside, and the dome as the principal islamic architectural elements of his design. After this project, till 2006 when Mirmiran died of cancer at age 59, his design ideas and methods were in line with the historicism and search for identity like his professors( Seyhoun, Foroughi) .
Mirmiran ideas in concept process
Mirmiran’s 20 years living and working in Isfahan made him so fond of Safavid architecture and he gained a profound empirical knowledge. He said Isfahan is the heart of Iranian architecture which with Europe and other ancient civilizations play a crucial role in the development of world architecture. He identified several elements which would make up the alphabet of his plan: “Space, light, water and horizon.”
Reducing material and increasing the space with the help of light and glass works were MirMiran’s main concerns. Mirmiran like other Persian contemporary architects wasn’t concerned about the relation between humans and an architectural manufacture, he shaved an architectural space by a sculptural approach.
At a time when architecture was limited to vulgar use of islamic elements like” dome, tile and pound”, Mirmiran’s method was the starting point for the restoration of Iranian architecture. His impact on students and the architectural community is certainly undeniable. In late 2001, the historicism approach which was resurrected by Mirmiran, slowly went into oblivion and was replaced by the spirit of the current time, thanks to the new generation of architects who were educated abroad, network communications, universities and architectural magazines.
Consulate Office of Iran
The consulate building is a transparent volume, which conducts the sense of lightlessness to the audiences. It consists of floating and independent volumes, glass plates which are connected to the environment green space.
The process of design was based on:
- The building should be the representative of Iran’s ancient architecture and culture.
- The use of modern technology in the construction of the building.
Accordingly, Mirmiran used three principles of Iranian architecture that makes up the alphabet of the majority of his works, Simplicity of exterior and dynamic interior space , Light and transparency , Use of vernacular materials.
The gallery of the consulate building is divided into two parts. The first part is devoted to daily activities (visa) and the second part is devoted to formal diplomatic activities. The space for the daily activities has a visual and spatial connection with the main gallery. These two space are organized by a volume with red stone facade. The red travertine is directly transported from Iran to Frankfort. In fact, Mirmiran used this stone to bring the spirit of iranian architecture in to the building.
Mixing technology and the spatial concepts of architecture that Mirmiran has adopted from Iranian architectural elements, has created a monumental architecture which represents one of his best impressive works. Glass walls are the connection between the outside and inside , they create a dynamic interior space which simultaneously reflect the green space around the building and reminds the spirit of Persian gardens. Mirmiran’s strategy was to play with light by transparent and blurring the facade to create maximum spatial diversity.
Translation from Persian by Atieh Diba