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The Role of the Scale -Measure-Distance in Achieving Unity in the Iranian Architecture

Mohammad Mansour Falamaki
University of Tehran and Islamic Azad University – Central Tehran Branch, and Founder and Director of FAZA Scientific and Cultural Institute

1. INTRODUCTION: Research Aim and Objectives

From Architecture to Urbanism, the concept of unity can be defined as integrated with a spectrum of physical-to-intangible factors raised from or affected by each particular context. To this end, this investigation aims to introduce a three-fold incorporated analysis about the scale, measure and distance in the past and present of Iranian Architecture. First, a profound introduction is necessary to consider the underlying antique manner of living in Iran. This research depicts an analytical vision of thoughts about the use of time and space in architecture as well as in the urban and social life of Iran. Considering the built environments in the diverse parts of Iran, including the majority of villages and cities, clarifies that the six universal directions of space have already formed the manner of fundamental Iranian thoughts about the time in architectural units, urban and constructed environments.

Second, the paper elaborates on the unique manner of architectural design in the various regions of the country, in which the physical space is understood by every single individual who in turns considers the time with his or her personal feelings accordingly. Third, the concept of time is regarded as a key for comprehension of the architectural space within the Iranian context. These three basic but fundamental elements can be perceived in any architectural realisation, from houses to public baths, religious architectural compositions and ceremonial places, and in various regions of Iran while indicating an active role in the urban human life of Iranians.


In the Iranian context, it seems necessary to appreciate that, after around four decades of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran —that mainly originated in 1907 and led to cultural revolution or Iran— the new active and modern life started to grow and subsequently, the Iranian modern architectural life began to diffuse throughout the country. Considering the actual situation of architectural production in Iran, one can observe that a generalised matter exists in the essential and practical vision of production and thought. In this generalised system, however, the models and fundamental thoughts with origins of the European style of Architecture can be easily found. Further development of the analysis of this matter has already formed the basis of many contemporary pieces of research to create new and different models for future Iranian Architecture and Urbanism. The national and/or international thoughts and studies clearly demonstrate this explanation (For further details, please see, for example, Benevolo, 1971; Falamki, 2020; Novello et al., 2005).

Referring to this point and with the reason of creating new approaches in this evolution, this investigation studies two critical issues in the general thoughts and the real world (theory and practice). First, the paper argues the production of scientific and cultural books, which in most cases, follow the theories and notes despite the capability of obtaining average energy for their realisation. Second, the paper delineates the matter of the new-modern architecture, which can also potentially be realised in other countries.


In both scopes mentioned above of analysis, three main issues need to be foregrounded, including 1) the active presence of the six-directional consistency of architectural space in all formats of creation; 2) the time as a prominent factor or element for the realisation of human-active determinant formation of architecture and space; and 3) the scale as a matter of architectural thought which can be acknowledged as the third fundamental element for any architectural cooperation with its quality of unitary existence.

This research introduces three elementary and fundamental parametric senses of architectural creation as an essential platform for achieving unity. They will create the underlying bases and conditions for developing physical, functional and communicational qualities of the theory and practice. Subsequently, these three bases can be considered as an introduction to what will be illustrated as the main findings of this investigation, or more precisely, the critical thesis in this argument. This thesis appreciates the role of time, measure and distance as the primary but chief elements in creating and perceiving the meaning of architectural creation, whereby it is considered as an elementary unit for the creation of architecture.

As an additional point, it is worth noting that while an architect tries to represent his/her final product as a united object, he/she needs to demonstrate a parallel, simultaneous and/or convergent procedure incorporating three scopes. These three domains include: 1) the formative elements or themes should be either identical, equal, equitable, or with a unified structure; 2) the outcome unified structure (of the previous section) should be robust and vigorous as well as dynamic even in its most initial stages of the formation of the underlying basis and foundation; and 3) the final imagination, perception and the spiritual synthesis of the audience should be united with himself/ herself. In addition to architecture, this three-fold process to achieve unity could be extended to other forms of arts, including but not limited to literature, music, painting, cinema and performance arts (for further reading, see Falamaki, 2014, pp. 27–55).


Figure 1: Dot and line, and their role in achieving unity (Source: Falamaki, 2020)

Figure 2: Space, varieties of creation and branches (Source: Falamaki, 2020)


This presentation is mainly based on the most recent architectural and cultural activities of the researcher and the associated team in the FAZA Institute. The latest findings have been published in the book entitled Modern Iranian Architecture: From Sassanid Era to Constitutional Revolution of Iran, published by FAZA Publication (affiliated to FAZA Scientific and Cultural Institute, Tehran, Iran) in 2020. I also would like to appreciate the kind supports of my wife, Dr Trudi Falamaki; my colleague, Dr Sanaz Shobeiri, and FAZA team members, particularly Dr Fatemeh Mousavi.

REFERENCES and Books for Further Reading

Benevolo, L. (1971). History of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Falamaki, M. Mansour. (2003). Theoretic Origins and Tendencies of Architecture. Tehran: Faza Publication affiliated to Faza Scientific and Cultural Institute.

Falamaki, M. Mansour. (2006). La Formation de l’Architecture dans les Experiences de l’Iran et des Pays de l’Ooccident (Formation of the Architecture in the Experiences of Iran and the West). 2nd ed. Tehran: Faza Publication affiliated to Faza Scientific and Cultural Institute.

Falamaki, M. Mansour. (2014). Comprehension of Unity in Iranian Architecture. Tehran: Faza Publication affiliated to Faza Scientific and Cultural Institute.

Falamaki, M. Mansour. (2020). Modern Iranian Architecture: From Sassanid Era to Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Tehran: Faza Publication affiliated to Faza Scientific and Cultural Institute.

Novello, A. Alpago; Mehryar, M; Roboubi, M; Falamaki, M. Mansour; Dadkhah, M. (2005). Architettura Popolare (Vernacular Architecture). 2nd ed. Tehran: Faza Publication affiliated to Faza Scientific and Cultural Institute.

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