Raised in the historic city of Isfahan, Mohammad Gharipour received
his Ph.D. in Architectural Theory and History from Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2008 and Masters of Architecture from the University of Tehran in
2000. He teaches architecture at Morgan State University and is the Director and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His
areas of research include Japanese traditional and contemporary architecture,
Persianate gardens and architecture, and restorative environments. He is the
recipient of Spiro Kostof fellowship award from the Society of Architectural
Historians (SAH) in 2008 and the author of several publications including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in
Poetry, Arts and History(I.B. Tauris, 2013). in 2014, Dr. Gharipour was presented with the National Endowment for Humanities Faculty Award for his research on Synagogues of Isfahan, Iran.
Emami, Farshid. "Urbanism of Grandiosity: Planning a New Urban Centre for Tehran (1973–76)." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 3, Number 1 (pp. 69-102), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
In the 1970s a grand-scale ceremonial urban centre, with an extensive programme of governmental, commercial and residential buildings, was planned for north Tehran. Construction began in 1975, but was soon halted by the eruption of the street protests that led to the 1979 revolution. This essay analyses the project’s conception, socio-political underpinnings and ultimate failure, by contextualizing it within Tehran’s urban landscape and by tracing its design trajectory. As a grandiose project made possible by the oil boom, the final plan of Shahestan, drawn up by the planning firm Llewelyn-Davies International, not only reflects the megalomania of Mohammad Reza Shah (r. 1941–79) but also reveals the totalitarian nature of the Pahlavi regime in the 1970s. But prior to hiring the planning firm, Queen Farah supported a rival design by the internationally famous architects Louis Kahn and Kenzo Tange, who were indeed involved in the project for a few months before Kahn’s death in 1974. I argue that this duality of patronage, and all the oppositions that it embodies, is echoed in the gendered representation of monarchy in the final plan and signifies how the project subverts a liberal narrative of modernism. Moreover, the new urban centre was not at the city’s physical core but rather at the centre of its northern part – the locus of an expanding upper middle class. The discrepancy between the intended purpose of the project and the social realities of its urban context epitomizes the regime’s paradoxical approach to modernity and modernization.