Built on an area of 70 square metres, the Small House in Isfahan, Iran by Masih Fazile neighbours an old commercial building to the south and residential land to the north. The only entry points to the building is through the western side, which overlooks Mount Soffeh or the eastern side, which faces the centre of the
The client asked for two separate residential units, and according to the architect, the small plot size and height limitations in the city provided various challenges that were met through the architectural design including spatial differentiation, natural light and room for vegetation.
“We tried to break the restrictions of a small apartment, and instead of every space having one particular function, each would become multi-functional with proper light, visibility and ventilation,” said Fazile.
“Instead of using segregation elements such as walls, micro spaces were designed in different altitudes to separate spaces so as to establish a logical connection between them and the principle of hierarchy, as well as to form flexible spaces.”
Movement between the spaces is smooth and pleasant, added Fazile. Minimal staircases between the rooms are used to create a sense of movement and dynamism between the areas, while unusable space was kept to a minimum.
“In fact, the whole of the home space has been turned into a flight of stairs in which there is a height difference in each landing, and it is usable space, which evokes a sense of movement as well as a sense of tranquillity and comfort.”
Additionally, limitations in providing light and optimum visibility were resolved by designing and creating gaps and significant incisions in the façade, the architect explained. This lead to the formation of diverse spaces. Further, to provide more light in the basement, the sloping space below the main staircase helps bring in natural light.
The façade was designed based on the same notions of removing limitations and creating optimal use of available potential, like the views of the surrounding mountainscape and bringing in natural light. The western façade, for example, is perforated with small triangle shapes to let light into the building.
“Considering the conditions of Iran, as well as the constraints of the city of Isfahan, we tried to reconcile this modern building with the conditions of the community, as well as the users of the building through the establishment of restrictions and observance of the principle of hierarchy and segregation of private spaces from public space,” said Fazile.
“Regarding the legal height constraints of the neighbourhood, the west-facing façade was designed to be bent outwards, while the wall behind it is the main staircase and makes use of the favourable south light. On the eastern side, the angled, semi-transparent wooden surfaces were used in the façade to eliminate light and neighbouring constraints.”
Throughout the building, plants are grown at different levels and within unusable spaces, like beneath the small staircases, to create visual and tactile sense between residents. “Plants can regain a sense of living in a villa,” said Fazile. “They greatly impact the morale and cheerfulness of the residents.”
“Our motive in designing this building is to create a model for designing high-rise buildings that not only provides a decent quality of life, but also has a positive impact on the interactions of individuals in the community.”
Throughout the building, Fazile’s main materials included dual lacquered laminated glass, rambus wood,
travertine, knauf and KWC. Fazile was the main architect on the project, and supervised the construction of the project.