Set at the foot of the Alborz mountains, Tehran, once an agricultural enclave characterized by forests and abundant mountain water, developed at the site of a citadel since medieval times. Tehran was first walled during the Safavid era, in the mid-sixteenth century. With the decline of other regional centers, Tehran replaced Shiraz as the capital of the Zand dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century, before being proclaimed the capital of the succeeding Qajar dynasty in 1795. Tehran flourished under Qajar patronage, and the city gained the addition of various gardens and complexes, perhaps the most notable being the Kakh-i Gulistan, or Gulistan Palace.
By the early twentieth century, these walls were subsumed by the continually expanding city, as the population growth reached half a million. From 1870-2/1287-9 AH, Nasir al-Din undertook the city's modernization, extending the city walls, adding decorative towers and twelve new, tiled gates. Inspired by the urban development of Paris under Napoleon III, which al-Din had witnessed personally on a visit abroad in 1873, the new walls were designed with the work of Sebastien Leprestre de Vauban in mind, and the area north of the original city transformed to the likeness of the Boulevard Haussman. New avenues and squares were constructed, among them; Meydan-e Tupkhane (Cannon Square) , Avenue Lalezar (Tulipbed Street), and Ala Od Dwale Under al-Din's direction the city quadrupled in size, and many of the gardens surrounding the city were used for further construction. The Kakh-i Gulistan was rebuilt, and became the centerpiece of the city, with the addition of turreted towers, supervised by Dust 'Ali Khan Nizam al Dawla. Polychrome tiles replaced the painted ornamentation in much of the complex, as did carved stucco and decorative mirror-work. In addition to the Kakh-i Gulistan, summer palaces were constructed in the Shimiranat villages in the city's northern suburbs.
Tehran yet again underwent expansion and modernization efforts in the mid-twentieth century, as the prosperity that accompanied the exploitation of oil from the 1950s accelerated the growth of the city. In 1979, Tehran became a hub for revolutionary activities, aimed at concluding the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The city has continued to be a site of development, with over half of Iran's total industry being based in Tehran, and the construction of many research and educational centers.
Navai, Kambiz. "An Architectural Analysis: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issue 1 (2010).
Kamran Tabatabai Diba is one of Iranian Architects, whose works during 60’s and 70’s are well-known among architects and scholars. His works are mostly considered as examples of Modern Style, scented by Iranian Architecture. His efforts on creating public, socio-cultural centers in Iran was a result of his concern about social matters, as well as seeking for a national, contemporary Architecture.
Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most popular and well-known Diba’s works. In this article an effort has been made to get a better understanding of this remarkable piece of work, and to light up the Architect’s intents and the architectural methods he used to express them. The critique is concentrated mostly on two mentioned aspects of Diba’s works: “Integrating Modern Style and traditional Iranian Architecture”, and “Creating socio-cultural centers and institutions well related to society”.
The Analysis is based on the most important features of every work of Architecture: “Space” and “Form”. The author seeks for the meaning by “watching” the whole complex carefully, “giving descriptive information” about it, and in the meantime “analyzing data” with the help of “basic design methods" together with the knowledge of “Modern Style”, “Characteristics of Late Modern Movement” and “Traditional Iranian Architecture”.
Text is accompanied by drawings and figures, which help for better knowing the complex. The effort is made to use a simple language, understandable not only by Architects or scholars, but by every other interested non-specialist reader.