1School Of Architecture, University Of Queensland, , Australia
In the nations and nation states of the Global South, the rise of modern architecture remains historically attributed to western-educated architects. Following arrivals in ‘unfamiliar settings’ these architects were faced with the challenge of how they should embrace Western modernity while maintaining local traditions. This scenario was particularly relevant to Iran in the early 1920s. Pre-modern Iran (once ancient and medieval Persia) experienced almost a hundred years of political independence while its culture came to be contested and revisited in the making of its modern identity. Among the main agents which introduced modern architecture to Iran was the French institution of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The Ecole’s system and particularly its architecture cast a critical influence over the formulation of Iran’s twentieth century architecture and remain an unfinished legacy. Within this scenario, to what extent did the Ecole serve as a suitable model of architectural education and practice in Iran? Did it enable an architectural genre which could be labelled as ‘modern’ yet ‘Iranian’? This paper expands these critical observations while accessing the contributions of the Beaux-Arts in the making of 20th-century Iranian architecture, while establishing its traces in Iranian modern architecture.
Peyman Akhgar has a Bachelors’ and Masters’ Degree in architecture from Iran and Italy. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland’s School of Architecture. His area of interest focuses on the influence of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts on the 20th-century Iranian architectural education and practice.