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.
Situated in a rapidly expanding, wealthy neighborhood between existing resort towns, this residential complex, on the mountainside of northern Tehran, occupies a rectangular site sloping down to the south. The project was designed for ten relatives of a large family who desired to live near each other within a complex, sharing communal facilities such as gardens, courtyards, and a swimming pool.
The essential layout consists of eight flats of varying sizes arranged around two courtyards on different levels. A narrow, semi-covered path winds through the courtyards, providing the main access from the street and through the complex. Traditional spaces (iwans) connect the interior spaces to the external landscaped areas. The distinction between common and private areas was the governing principle around which the interior spaces were designed. Favorable orientations and natural ventilation were also prerequisites for each unit.
A hierarchy of spaces has been respected and traditional elements are used both internally and externally. Although the complex was designed for family members, some units were sold or rented to people outside the family, but the cohesion of the community has been maintained.
It is a steel frame main structure, with concrete floor slabs and hollow brick infill. The external finish is brick. Interiors are plastered and iwans are rendered with cement finish.