Sahel-e-Sepehr Office Building

Metamorphosis Method

Architect: Amirhossein Taheri

Location: Tehran, Iran

Date: 2014

Area: 10,164 sqm

Status: Completed

Client: Asia Physical Development Consulting Engineers, in Association with Sepehr-e-Saderat Co.

Design: Amirhossein Taheri

Design team (Phase 1): Iman Daneshvarnejad, Saeed Sarani, Iman Sadraei Tabatabaei, Mohamadreza Mohebali

Design team (Phase 2): Iman Daneshvarnejad, , Bita Rostami, Naser Naghdi

Supervision: Khashayar Bakhtiari, Zahra Khodabakhsh, Amirhossein Taheri, with thanks to Kaveh Kerdegari

Workshop & project manager: Ali Lal Mohammadi

Structure & supervision: Arya Daneshvar – Hendeseh Mehvar Engineering Co.

Mechanical consultant: Amirhossein Amiri

Electrical consultant: Ahmadreza Shirzad

Mechanical supervision: Amirhossein Amiri, Ashkan Amiri, Darvish

Resident supervision: Farzad Mehrfam

Construction: Asia Physical Development Consulting Engineers

Presentation: Shafagh Javidi, Irsa Khaleghi, Aria Rahnemaei, Shiva Shirazi

Photo: Parham Taghioff, Aria Rahnemaei, Soroush Majidi

A Flattened Architecture

Background-2006 we started the project Sahel Sepehr with a brief for small offices with distinct programs. The finances of the client took a turn and so did the brief which led to years of delay, such that the projects was reinitiated in 2010 and proceeded into construction phase with a different program; an office building comprising of offices between 60m2 and 120m2, and a single unit ground floor open space office that, turned into a double unit later on in the project, for the client’s use. Another aspect was that the building be designed so that units could be combined for single usage allowing the whole building to be used by a single organization if need be. The most prominent factor that caught our attention upon our first site visit was the site’s position in relation to neighboring western lots and a large construction site to the east. Our lot was the size of 8 of the regular western lots combined and a building going up according to zoning regulations would have been a threat to those neighboring buildings as well as to our project.

Zoning- Our first measure was to negotiate with the municipality in order to extend the empty space of the back and front yards of the adjacent eastern lots into our project so that we would not be blocking the urban green corridor created by those yards or have the protruding lip of the adjacent building, in our yard. We negotiated to be permitted to exceed the 60%+2m building limit, while still constraining the footprint of the building to the initial 50%. Another challenge that we took on with the Municipality was to take advantage of the road being a cul-de-sac and therefore extending out in the dead end side which resulted in a central yard. The combination of these two strategies created new depth that brought in light, air, and made a project that respected its context.

Qualities-With a four meter recess on the north side we have maintained for each unit light and air and views from two sides and also created an active façade facing our northern neighbors. The project’s circulation is open-air and suspended, with a gap from the main body only connecting at destination points, reinserting itself as an in-between space that opens up a new perspective of the city to us. These corridors have also determined the mechanical and utility installation routes.

Economy- The economical recession that followed the heavy sanctioning of IRAN hit the project at the stage that the building frame had gone up and had direct effects on our material pallet choice. However it seemed to us that our spatial strategies had already shaped the building therefore we welcomed this new challenge. Kenitex, and white composite louvers, for the Façade, cast in place mosaic for communal floors, steel profiles for railing, exposed concert structure although initialing not intended,… all materials used in the project were made in IRAN and these constraints somehow became characteristics of the project. Ultimately the building construction came to a total of $400 per square meter a figure beating minimum rates even in IRAN.

Market- Towards the end of construction it turned out that the client was to sell the building as a whole. In the current Iranian climate of luxury oriented taste in architecture we were apprehensive about the market response but the spatial qualities of the building proved to be convincing and our apprehensions soon faded.

Our ideas were read as obvious and integral, our artistic intervention could not be spotted, the projected was uniform; flattened.