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Nationalism in the Architecture of Modern Iran

Nationalism in the Architecture of Modern Iran


by Niloofar Kakhi

Format: Royal Hardback, 153mmx216mm
Published: 27 June 2024
Pages: 263 pages | 5 maps, 49 black&white illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-914983-14-6
Series: St Andrews Series

Available on back-order


Niloofar Kakhi’s Nationalism in the Architecture of Modern Iran charts the fascinating and contested history of the development of a national architectural identity in Iran across the 20th century and on into the creative turbulence of international architecture today. Beginning with a discussion of Iranian architecture in the late Kajar period, up to 1925, and its successor, the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-79), Kakhi describes the establishment of the Iranian Society of National Heritage, and the first steps toward the foundation of an academic discipline in the western Beaux Arts tradition, under such international figures as André Godard, Ernst Herzfeld, and Arthur Pope. The narrative goes on to consider the importance of archaeological discoveries, particularly of the Archaemenid (c.705 – 329BCE) and Sassanian (224-651CE) periods, on Iranian architecture, and the tension this set up between concepts of national identity and the influence of international modernism. These are explored through detailed discussion of such significant sites as Tehran’s National Garden, the Parade Ground and the Ferdowsi Monument, of such authorities as Mohsen Foroughi and Houshang Seyhoun; and of the paralells between architecture in Iran and in the broader Middle East.

The re-invention and importance of such architectural features as the iwan and the chahar-taq are explained for the reader, as is the role played by specific core texts, Sufi mysticism, and the first international congresses, constructing a conceptual platform for critically assessing representations of national identity in contemporary Iranian architecture, and enabling the development a comprehensive understanding of the modern history of architecture in Iran.


Niloofar Kakhi is an architect and researcher. She received her PhD in Histories and Theories of Architecture from Architectural Association. She has recently finished a Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of St Andrews.

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Weight 1 kg









Niloofar Kakhi has produced a splendidly rich and engaging study on Iran’s experience of modernity in the twentieth century, viewed through the lens of architectural traditions. With clear vision and depth of knowledge, Kakhi navigates the myriad forces that shaped Iranian identity and architecture in this period.

Robert Steele, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Iranian Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences