In many ways closed to the outside world since the 1979 Revolution, Iran remains a remarkably rich environment for architecture, both historic and contemporary. A large young population avidly seeks information on trends in the Western world, while the very active Iranian Cultural Heritage Organisation (icho) maintains high standards of intervention on the country's considerable array of monuments. It is in this context that the Aga Khan Award for Architecture brought together in this international seminar specialists in historic preservation in Yazd, Iran, and a number of leading figures in contemporary architecture at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Participants included Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti, head of the icho, as well as such internationally recognised figures such as the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki or the American critic Charles Jencks. Architects and participants from Iran engaged for the first time in an open and fruitful discussion with their colleagues from the Muslim world but also with those from the West and the Far East.
The collection of essays presented here is richly illustrated with exciting colour images of contemporary world architecture alongside photographs of the restored, award-winning monuments and projects. This volume represents a fascinating look into the situation of contemporary Iran as it seeks to come to terms with the challenges of the new and of a rich tradition.