"Contemporary Architecture and Legacy of the Persian Past"
About the Speaker: Hossein Amanat is an Iranian-Canadian architect, best known for his Azadi Tower design in Tehran, Iran. As a young graduate from the University of Tehran he won a nation-wide competition in 1966 to design the Shahyad Tower, renamed the Azadi Tower. This first architectural project led to the opportunity to create some of Iran’s most distinctive projects with reference to traditional Persian architecture. Among them are the initial buildings of the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, the Persian Heritage Center, the Faculty for Business Management of the Tehran University and the Embassy of Iran in Beijing, China.
Since moving to Canada in 1980, Hossein Amanat designed the three administrative buildings on the Bahá′í Arc in Haifa, Israel, the Bahá′í House of Worship in Samoa, the Jiang’an Library for the Sichuan University and the media library for the Beijing Broadcasting Institute. In addition, Mr. Amanat designed religious and cultural centers for the Bahá′í Faith near Dallas, Seattle, Washington D.C. and several multifamily condominiums in Santa Monica, California, and mixed-use high-rise buildings in San Diego, California and Burnaby, B.C. Canada.
Contemporary Architecture and Legacy of the Persian Past: In the 2nd annual Taleghani lecture, Mr. Amanat will explore how the rich architectural tradition of Iran gradually became neglected under the forces of modernity around the beginning of the 20th century. Main factors pivotal to architectural neglect were the arrival of new building technologies, the use of new materials, increasing urbanization, and social changes influenced by the West.
In the 1930’s, the political and cultural developments which swept Iran created an environment for some architects to introduce elements of Iranian architecture in their work. Nearly 30 years later, however, along with advances made in the area of art and literature, a new generation of architects looked back to the rich architectural heritage as an extensive source of inspiration to create a new architectural language. In presenting this new language, some examples of such attempts in re-interpreting the past will be discussed and analyzed.