PROJECT GENERAL INFORMATION
Name: Commercial-Residential Complex (International Competition)
Location: Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi, Iran
Architect: Ravand-e-Hamahang [Link] (Iran) + BIG (Denmark)
- Iran: Ali Hamidi Moghadam, Nima Farzaneh, Neda Heidary, Saina Majidi, Mahan Abolghasem Shirazi
- Denmark: Bjarke Ingels, Doug A Stechschulte, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Kuba Snopek, CatHuang, Gaetan Brunet, Takumi Iwasawa
Status: Honorable Mention
What is a hotel? An accumulation of rooms tailored for individual visitors.
To reach the required density and respond to the city codes, the two buildings are bent into two V-shaped volumes creating three triangular urban spaces: a sunken market, an open courtyard and a public park in the middle. To meet the demands and desires of individual guests, the hotel has been designed inside out. As a result each V-shaped slab is composed of a fish bone structure of rooms looking towards the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza.
Considering that the site of the project forms the eastern gateway to the urban area around the Holy Shrine, the project proposes a building that shelters the residences and public spaces from the unpleasant noise and the crowd on the main Boulevard while opening up towards the religious area. Moving towards the shrine, one experiences a closed and simple façade respecting Mashhad’s Holy icon. The scale of the wall is broken down; it is an accumulation of single rooms of different types based on a specific geometric pattern. Moving in the opposite direction, away from the shrine, one faces maximum transparency as the facades open up towards the holy site.
The complex is designed to provide each pilgrim or tourist with an optimal experience of the religious site. Each unit is sheltered from the traffic noise, screened from the views of neighbors and by-passers and only opens up toward the view of the shrine. The resulting architecture is simultaneously calm and varied, well integrated and outstanding, traditional and contemporary.
About the International Competition for Commercial-Residential Complex in Mashhad
Mashhad—home to the shrine of the 8th Imam of Shiites—is one of the most significant religious sites in Iran. It attracts many more visitors than the holy city of Mecca; almost 10 times as many per year. Given the economic and political power of the religious authorities in Iran, as tourism and travel overtake all industries around the world, Mashhad becomes the center of investment and development in this country.
The obvious need for accommodation and entertainment of the visitors has lead to major decisions in the recent Master Plan of the city. The Master Planning Vision has shifted from the strategy of isolation of the shrine via a green belt to a strategy of reconnection via boulevards. These boulevards are lined with large scale buildings with pilgrim accommodation and shopping as major functions. The site of the competition is located on one of the three main boulevards and acts as one of the three gateways to the religious site
The competition called for entries for a 5-star hotel, hotel apartments, residential spaces, commercial spaces, a public park and a multi-story public parking in a development of about 80,000 m2. The site consists of 5 plots, however the brief allows for and the master plan of the city encourages the project to merge the 5 sites into one.
The competition was held by an architecture office; The Eight Company. The client was a private Iranian bank- Bank-e Pasargad. Of the twelve teams invited to the competition, 4 had been widely known foreign office associates (Atelier Bow-Wow from Japan, BIG from Denmark, BRT from Germany and Guallart Architects from Spain).
The Jury was composed of architects and developers from the city of Mashhad and prominent Iranian architects from the Association of Iranian Architects, including Iraj Kalantari, Abolfath Sepanloo, along with Seyed Reza Hashemi. Of the remaining 11 entries from 8 participating offices, 3 winners and 2 honorable mentions were awarded. The three winners of first to third place will be awarded monetary prizes. In addition, the first place winner will be awarded a contract to execute the project.