[ Research ] Benetton

Project Name: Bennetton @ Val[ley]-Asr
Location: Teheran, Iran
Typology: Retail, Commercial + Residential
Size: 10,000 sq.ft
Date: 2008
Project Team: Jay S. Lim (Project Lead), Christopher Reynolds , Erick Gregory

The design is derived from culture, geography and the analogous relationship between architecture and fashion. The vast landscape of the city is woven with the course grain of architecture. Construction is applied to the landscape incrementally, building the urban fabric. Like fashion, each new building must address its context in time, climate, politics and society. Architecture, like fashion in its most sincere form, successfully negotiates the dual roles of providing a concealing protection while simultaneously revealing the nature of the underlying form. As clothing responds to the body, so too must the form of the building relate to the landscape. In this way, the building itself becomes an extension and enhancement of the natural environment.

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Cultural Sensibility:

As Teheran becomes an increasingly international city, its culture remains rooted in its Islamic heritage. With nearly 99% of the population practicing Islam, the Val[ley]Asr design provides a modern architectural icon yet recognizes this cultural significance through subtle architectural gestures.

The design is anchored around modern interpretations of three Islamic features:
The Iwan - a vaulted space, that is enclosed on only three sides.
The Sahn - a courtyard, surrounded on all sides by rooms.
The Howz - a central pool within the Sahn which provides a place for reflection and provides cooling.

In Persian culture, geometrical designs convey an aura of spirituality and transcendent beauty. The building harnesses this sensibility by manipulating the Benetton logo to develop a harmonious fritting pattern along the curtain wall. The translucent film enables natural light to fill the building yet reduces direct heat from the sun. The fritting is is symbolic of a jali screen, a common feature in traditional Islamic architecture. The screening offers privacy to the buildings tenants while strategic cuts within the pattern offer glimpses of activity and frame majestic panoramic views of the City. The prominent, mixed use complex would serve as the headquarters and retail location for the United Colors of Benetton in Iran.