An Extract of My IB Design Technology Essay Discussing the Post-Modernist Iranian Mosque – Similar to Maya Lin

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Postmodernist Architecture

Postmodernism initiated a few decades after Modernism (Muscato), and abides by the postmodernist architect, Robert Venturis’ philosophy: “Less is a bore” (Venturi & Scully), which was a response to the well-known quote “Less is more” acclaimed by the Modernist architect Mies-can-der-Rohe (Ludwig Mies). Postmodernism resembles “richness of meaning, rather than clarity of meaning” (Postmodern). Postmodernism is “avant-gaurde” and also recognized as “metaphorical architecture”; meaning thatstructural designs derive their inspirations from non-architectural forms; such as analogy; An idea from one context is used to stimulate ideas for solving a problem in another context(Trumphold).

Ia. Characteristics

The archetypical postmodernist structure is limited in color,expressive of significant artistic intention through form/façades and constructed out of synthetic materials such as reinforced-concrete as seen in the case study: Vali-e-Asr.

vali e asr

Ib. Vali-e-Asr

The Vali-e-Asr Mosque, located in Tehran, Iran, is still under-construction since 2003 till this day due to the shortage of financial support caused by continuous controversy and harsh rejection from its society (Desk). Vali-e-Asr is a strong argument against Islamic architecture adapting to new architectural movements such as postmodernism due to the societies common perspective of the design being an “insulting postmodernist design” and “is empty of any meaning” to their cultural beliefs, according to the Mashregh News.

Ic. Catherine Spiridonoff and Reza Daneshmir (The Architects_

The architects of the Vali-e-Asr, present a valid counterclaim published in The Guardian(Dehghan),

“Simplicity was a main feature of the first mosques…Our biggest source of inspiration was the Qur’an itself…the Qur’an doesn’t dictate a special structure for it. It’s what it contains that is important.The Vali-e-Asr doesn’t have a minaret; neither did the first mosque [The Dome of the Rock] We tried to design with modesty, simplicity and good faith, and not a mosque which would get its pride from its structural height”

The director at “Studio Integrate in London”, Mehran Gharleghi, shares his perspective towards the topic to The Guardian magazine claiming,

            “Whilst there are examples of humble religious spaces … religious buildings are often created from grand atriums, domes and towers which stand high to dominate the visitors…these typologies metaphorically refer to the grand nature of God. Breaking this tradition is in contrast with the religious beliefs of many.”

Gharleghi depicts the geometry of the mosque being camouflage with its surrounding environment. With the metaphorical expression in form as interactive design for visitors to climb over the mosque to reach the top through its subtle ascending dome. The metaphorical intention is so “the mosque is an accessible and a humble religious space…” (Dehghan).

close up

The upcoming architects of Iran are influenced by Spiridonoff and Daneshmirs’ Postmodernist mosque and it has been recorded that more designs of modernized traditional structures have been constructed and are pushing the limits of the Iranian culture and their hesitant communal acceptance towards its degrees of sacredness.



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