“This building has the opportunity to act as an ‘urban camera’,” wrote Arash G Tehrani, co-creator of the Diba Commercial Centre, in the project’s presentation. “It could invite end-users to pay attention to the historic treasures of their city.”
The architecture of the Diba Commercial Centre, designed in collaboration between Tehrani and Parivash Yazdani, was informed by the surrounding context, which is home to historic landmarks including the Sepahsalaar Mosque, as well as boutiques for women’s wear.
Designed for a competition, the centre consists of a food court and rooftop that features five distinct openings offering views of the cityscape and important landmarks. The complex also hosts shopping venues and office spaces, although they weren’t included in the brief. According to the architects, the client’s aim was to reflect traditional Iranian architecture and Tehran’s environment.
“Around the site, there are several historic mansions and houses that have been abandoned or are now used as storage [spaces] and workshops. There are also several important historic spots, such as the Tehran Parliament, Golestan Palace, the bazaar, and many others,” said Tehrani.
“We didn’t want to use traditional elements and ornaments as they are, so we designed the façade and public levels as places where end-users would be encouraged to [admire] the nearby sites. We rotated the vistas to [be in line] with some of these sites. We also decided to use brick as the main material because it’s not exactly a copy of traditional Iranian architecture, but a contemporary material that’s still nostalgic.”
Because the building is located in a narrow alley, the food court wasn’t in a particularly prime position for sightseeing, but the architects created a viewing spot positioned toward the main street running through Sepahsalaar.
“The simple geometry of the building and ordered windows with adjustable openings for climate control are the other attributes of the site’s context that we used in the design,” added Tehrani.