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Introduction to Iranian/Persian Architecture
The introductory module lays a comprehensive groundwork for understanding the rich tapestry of Iranian/Persian architecture. By traversing through the chronicles of its history, students will grasp the defining characteristics that set this architectural tradition apart. Delving into the cultural, political, and religious influences allows a multi-faceted examination of the forces that shaped the aesthetics and functionality of Iranian/Persian architecture. This module acts as a portal to the ancient world, setting the stage for a deeper exploration in the subsequent modules.

  • Overview of Iranian/Persian Architecture History
  • Defining Characteristics of Iranian/Persian Architecture
  • Cultural Influences on Iranian/Persian Architecture
  • Political Influences on Iranian/Persian Architecture
  • Religious Influences on Iranian/Persian Architecture

Early and Medieval Periods
In this module, the students will voyage back in time to the grandeur of the Achaemenid era, marveling at the artistic contributions reflected in the ruins of Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Susa. The narrative then transitions to the Sassanian era, focusing on architectural marvels like the Arch of Ctesiphon. The Islamic Conquest ushers in a period of artistic transformation, introducing Islamic motifs and geometric patterns. The emergence of early Islamic Persian architectural forms and the evolution of medieval urban design will be explored, painting a vivid picture of the architectural metamorphosis during these periods.

The Golden Age of Persian Architecture
The Golden Age witnessed the blossoming of intricate tile work and iconic architectural monuments like the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. Students will learn about the advanced techniques of dome construction and muqarnas, and the materials employed to create timeless edifices. The module also illuminates the lives and contributions of key architects who left an indelible mark on the architectural landscape of Persia during this epoch of architectural ingenuity.

Later Dynasties and Evolving Styles
The architectural narrative continues through the Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi eras, each bringing a unique flavor to the architectural style. The integration of gardens with architecture during the Safavid era, European influences during the Qajar era, and modernization during the Pahlavi era highlight the evolution of Persian architecture. This module elucidates how external influences and internal transitions blended to create a rich tapestry of architectural styles.

Modern and Contemporary Iranian Architecture
The modern era marks a period of rejuvenation and global recognition for Iranian architecture. Students will delve into the genesis of the modern architectural movement in Iran, identifying key modern and contemporary architects. The module also explores the themes, techniques, and the global recognition garnered by modern Iranian architects, offering a lens into Iran’s place in the contemporary architectural domain.

Contextual Understanding and Analysis
This analytical module encourages a deep dive into the socio-political themes mirrored in Iranian/Persian architecture. From gender representation to the impact of historical events, students will engage in a comparative study with other regional architectural forms. This module enhances the comprehension of architectural narratives and their evolution over time, fostering a well-rounded understanding.

Practical Engagement and Analysis
Hands-on engagement is at the heart of this module. Students will immerse themselves in traditional and modern architectural workshops, critique sessions, and field visits to architectural sites and museums. This module nurtures a practical understanding and appreciation of Persian architectural styles, bridging theoretical knowledge with real-world insights.

Contemporary Discourse and Future Directions
Engaging with the current trends, emerging architects, and new movements in Iranian/Persian architecture, this module dives into the global influence and reception of this architectural tradition. Contemporary debates and discussions around the future of Iranian/Persian architecture will foster a forward-thinking perspective among the students, opening dialogues for future explorations.

Capstone Projects
The Capstone Projects are designed to offer a platform for in-depth exploration, practical engagement, and critical analysis. Students may choose to investigate a specific era, style, or architect, create a piece of architectural design, or engage with local Iranian/Persian architectural communities. Through these projects, students will not only enhance their understanding but also contribute to the broader discourse on Iranian/Persian architecture.

Additional Projects
These projects offer further avenues for engagement, discussion, and practical exploration. From curating virtual gallery exhibitions to organizing interactive workshops, students will have the opportunity to delve deeper into modern and contemporary Iranian/Persian architecture. Engaging with architects through interviews and developing a portfolio of architectural critiques will enrich the learning experience, fostering a holistic understanding of Iranian/Persian architecture.

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Free access this course
Enrollment validity: Lifetime



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