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A revolutionary apartment building: Mahallat, Iran, by AbCT - Architecture by Collective.

Photo: View of the south elevation. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

It is not often we get to see the interesting work being created in Iran because of political reasons. So it is with some satisfaction that we get a glimpse of this apartment building in Mahallat, designed by Tehranian practice, AbCT - Architecture by Collective.

It uses a beautiful local stone for the exterior, as well as some interior walls, which imparts a rich and beautiful quality to the building. More importantly perhaps, the building has had a disproportionate impact on the environment and the local economy.

It is often in times of austerity, when resources are more scarce, that creativity flourishes. In this building we see how that creativity has taken advantage of a stone cutting process that discards around half of what is quarried because of imperfections in the stone. The economy of Mahallat, is predominately centred on stone cutting so by illustrating that exceptional architecture can be produced using what has hitherto been considered a waste product, efficiencies can be realised that are having an economic, as well as an environmental impact.

The elegant architectural solution plays on the underlying , crisp, essentially rectilinear form, which is then modulated by stone protrusions that shade the smaller windows like flaps cut from the building fabric. For the larger windows, operable timber shutters help to regulate the sunlight and internal temperatures.

The building is shortlisted for this year's Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Photo: Exterior view from south east at night. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Photo: Exterior view from south east. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Detail view of the east elevation. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Photo: Detail view of the south elevation. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Photo: Detail view of the yard's wall. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Photo: Interior view of living room. AKAA / Omid Khodapanahi.

Isometric. AKAA / Courtesy of architect.


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