During the late Qâjâr period (i.e., at the beginning of the twentieth century), the continuity of Iranian architectural forms and urban structure was broken. Exposure to and arrival of European styles changed the demands as well as the requirements of housing construction and urban designs. Early imitations of European designs are refl ected in the appearance of structures built in this period, especially government buildings and public facilities. In the early period of Pahlavi rule, this trend penetrated first into the interior of public buildings and then into private homes as well. The European influence emerged in two forms. The first was the adaptation of French academic architectural style as taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Art in Paris. Known as neoclassical style, this European tradition was a modern rendering of ancient Roman and Greek architectural designs. Dominant during fascism in Italy, Stalinism in the Soviet Union, and Hitler’s Germany, neoclassicism represented the glory and grandeur of the state, and promoted nationalism and loyalty to tradition. As Rezâ Shah’s modernization of Iranian society and industrialization necessitated the fast importation of foreign models of development, centralization of power became the basis for the development of state buildings. Thus, new structures were built based on their functionality without any consideration of native architectural designs. Many factories built in the early twentieth century followed this European structural model: large spacious cubic styles with heavy use of cement and steel. During the period 1930–40, many European architects (some of whom were also archaeologists and art historians), especially from France, Italy, and Germany, worked for the Iranian government, helping in the construction of modern government offi ces. They included Nikolai Marcoff, Ernst Herzfeld, Erich Shmidt, Arthur Upham Pope, Andre Godard, and Maxime Siroux. The first college of architecture built in Iran followed the Beauxian model. The Marmar and Sa‘dâbâd palaces were also built mostly along European design, with some Persian touches. As time went on and nationalism became an integral part of Rezâ Shah’s modernization, architects were encouraged to employ elements of Achaemenid and Sasanid architectural designs for the appearance of some of these state buildings. The new form, called the national style ( sabk-e melli ), combined Western frames, technological foundations, elements of calligraphic design drawn from the Achaemenid period, and ceramic works from the Islamic period. In Tehran, buildings for the first Iranian railroad station, the Ministry of Justice, and even the University of Tehran were constructed in this manner. The appearance of buildings constructed for the Sherkat-e Farsh-e Irân (The Iranian Rug Company) and the Central Police Station in Tehran both had large Roman style poles with crowns designed after pre- Islamic forms. Soon, as George Nathaniel Curzon put it in 1892, Tehran began to “clothe itself at a West End tailor’s.” 1 In Tehran, the government began urban planning by building wide roads in new areas, encouraging stores to use glass doors rather than old wooden doors, and ordering city dwellers to avoid building walls taller than 3 meters for one-story houses and 8.5 meters for two-story houses. Additionally, monuments and statues in public squares ( maydâns ) were constructed, replacing the old tradition of mosques and public buildings around city squares. Monuments celebrating Iranian national heroes and the kings—especially the one in power—became popular. Most cities built statutes of Pahlavi shahs at the center of maydâns, first of the father and later of the son. The latter practice came to an end in 1979. All statues of the shahs were destroyed during the revolution and were replaced by monuments representing the martyrs of revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. The Shâhyâd Tower, built in 1971 in the middle of a square in western Tehran, came to be a symbol of the city and the greatness of Iran, was renamed as Âzâdi (Freedom) Square. The tower has been associated with many major historical events of the past quarter-century that were initiated from this square, including demonstrations leading to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The tower is 154 feet high, located in an area of some 5 hectares, and includes a museum, a grand hall, and several art galleries. It combines three architectural designs to a magnifi cent effect: Iranian (from the Sasanid period), Islamic, and Western. The second form of Western influence on the Iranian architecture came as a result of Iranian students who had received their education in the Western architectural schools, notably Vartan Havanessian (1896–1982), Paul Akbar (1908–1970), Gabriel Guevrekian (1900–1970), Kayqobâd Zâlâr (b. 1910), and Mohsen Forughi. Forughi’s role was crucial both because of his synthetic works and his professional advancement of the fi eld. Following Andre Godard, he became the dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Tehran and funded the Iranian Society of Architects. Another important Iranian architect who has had tremendous impact on modern Persian architecture is Hushang Seyhun. Seyhun’s didactic method intuitively synthesized the modern language of architecture with the beauty and fi neness of old Persian architecture. When these Iranian architects returned home, each used his intuition about Persian forms and blended them with what he had seen and learned about in the West. The first instances of works of the modernist generation are the Bâshgâh-e Afsarân (General’s Club) and Honarestân-e Dokhtarân (Girls’ Academy of Arts). Soon, private homes in affl uent parts of Tehran, and later in other cities, followed this modernist style. The new pattern was completely new for Iran and had no resemblance to either traditional Iranian forms or neoclassical types. The logic behind this modern architecture was rationalism—a school emphasizing simplicity, pragmatism, functionality, and adaptation to modern technological advancements. Their simplicity made it attractive to speculative developers who replicated these designs without due environmental considerations. Given the large migration of rural poor to the cities and the rise of the middle class, this simple style lent itself to mass-housing production by unprofessional developers without adequate consideration for city planning. Surely, the new style has been responsive to the country’s increasing housing needs, but it has also contributed to a congested environment lacking adequate planning and larger social consideration for environmental sustainability. Today, most new high-rise housing in Tehran resembles piled up boxes very much like those found in the inner cities of the West. A modern phenomenon that has had tremendous impact on the structure and aesthetics of modern cities is roads. Modern roads are wide and often long, cutting through neighborhoods, communities, farmlands, and even markets. With their increasing population, older Iranian cities suffer from lack of adequate roads allowing for movement of passenger cars and shipping trucks. People living in traditional neighborhoods fi nd it diffi cult to adjust their desire for the modern convenience of mobility with the old fabric of their housing arrangements in which alleys ( kucheh ) were the major routes connecting their homes to the outside world. To open up some of these closed communities, the government had to buy back some premises in these areas for the construction of roads. But changes in these neighborhoods were not limited to roads and modern lines of sewage and water. Shortage of houses has forced many modern residents to demolish their old fl ats and replace them with high-rises in very old communities with narrow alleys and limited city services (water, sewer, fi re stations, adequate green space, parking, etc.). These reconstructive activities, while benefi cial to the city for licensing fees and taxation, have become a major problem when responding to their residents’ demands. Since the Revolution of 1979, Iran’s population has doubled and turned Iranian cities, especially Tehran (from 1.5 million in 1956 to 2.7 million in 1966 to 6 million in 1986 and 12 million in 2002) and Mashhad (2,926,000 in 2002), into gigantic communities with congested traffi c, crowded streets, high production of garbage, high rates of crime and automobile accidents, a growing underground prostitution problem, and a large number of addicts and street children. The Islamic government has tried to respond the challenges of this growth and to meet the demands of the public for services. In 1999, the Tehran Metro—a project conceived prior to the revolution, abandoned, and again restarted in 1984—began its first service between Tehran and Karaj. Now, electric trains move people to key stations around the sprawling cities. A major challenge in construction of this subway has been the underground wells traditionally used as septic systems beneath private homes all over the city. Today, the cities of Mashhad and Isfahan also have their own urban railways. With the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iranian architecture experienced a temporary rupture. The idea was to reject Westernization and go back to elements of Iranian-Islamic architecture. Some revolutionaries were against anything remotely connected to pre-Islamic Iran and were ready to demolish some of monuments and historical sites representing the glory of kings and the kingdom. Partially in fear of such attempts, and partially due to lack of resources during the war with Iraq, the Iranian government had to board up some of the historical monuments for several years. Although cooler heads prevailed and radicals’ efforts were stopped, the country was confronted with a new identity crisis. While new Islamic rulers wished to go back to Islamic art, secular elites were more interested in balancing the Iranian and Islamic elements. The result was the emergence of a new nativist trend, emphasizing traditional and Islamic values combined with those Iranian elements deemed appropriate for an Islamic society. This approach has also been applied to restoration of past monuments in need of repair. Some of these monuments are restored in a style commensurate with the new Islamic emphasis. Many of the new buildings and designs combined elements of the past and present. In 1985, the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization was established in order to coordinate activities of various organizations for preservation, restoration, and promotion of national monuments. In the past two decades, a variety of highly hybridized cultural forms have appeared on the Iranian urban landscape: Iranian-Islamic, Iranian-Western, Islamic-Western, and Iranian-Islamic-Western. These forms marry Islamic- Iranian motifs and ornamentations to Western traditions. Today, Tehran has become a laboratory of various architectural styles. Modern schools are designed in the format of old madrasehs (schools) with domed spaces and geometric designs. Postmodernist styles are adopted by younger architects interested in catching up with the latest Western trends. A number of diverse and confl icting motives play into urban planning, housing design, and decorative culture within the Iranian households. Several high-rise hotels in Tehran have been built with the latest technology and based on the latest technical and safety design but decorated and designed inside with the traditional Iranian styles. Today, the Shah ‘Abbâs Hotel in Isfahan represents one of the most attractive hotels in Iran, using parts of a beautiful Safavid building remodeled with the most modern conveniences and technology. While anxiety about the loss of identity might be a genuine concern, much of this worry originates from nativistic, anti-Western, and ideological tendencies that surfaced after the revolution. Considered one of the richest architectural cities in the world, the city of Isfahan passed legislation recently banning construction of buildings based on Western designs. This type of legislation refl ects the anxiety about losing one’s cultural identity in face of theWestern onslaught. Traditional bazaars are replaced by modern plazas and shopping malls in modern cities. This worries traditionalists who see the bazaar as a major feature of the Islamic-Iranian city. Some communities have tried to build modern shopping malls in the style of a traditional bazaar but with large parking lots around it with modern facilities. Ancestral technical know-how already has improved and integrated with modern techniques and production. Some of the old styles are simply not economical or safe in a time and age where cement and concrete are basic realities of construction. For a country prone to repeated earthquakes, remaining fully traditional in architectural construction is both unrealistic and anachronistic. Given the increasing urbanization of the country and the vast waves of architectural designs landing on the shores of each continent, Iran will be challenged to expand its urban planning by incorporating new and more convenient modern styles into its desired old structural forms. While the anxiety about the disappearance of traditional forms may be genuine, the growing appetite to become modern by adopting styles and techniques that are less costly and in-line with the norms of modern urbanism permeates Iranian society. Surely, the larger crisis of identity in the Iranian society alluded to in other chapters, surfaces in the embodied architectural forms and practices of the past and the necessity of the modern lifestyle. Finally, it should be noted that in a country where the housing shortage and lack of city services remain major social issues, attention to architectural sophistication is perceived as a luxury. The lower and middle classes are more interested in constructing adequate shelter rather than worrying about designs. The growing needs of the new rural immigrant population in the cities and the increasing demands that this large population growth has had on city services could not be responded to with architectural fi nesse. Though elite families play a signifi cant role in the creation of stylish singlefamily housing, architectural design became a matter of concern for religious and national buildings constructed either by the government or religious foundations. A host of issues relating to government licensing, regulation, and permission, as well as inadequate public resources such as water, sewer, and drainage have also contributed to lack of attention to full implementation of architectural plans and conformity with planned designs. On December 26, 2003, a powerful earthquake struck the city of Bam in southeastern Iran, killing over 43,000 people, injuring 20,000, and leaving 60,000 homeless. Bam was home to a 2,000-year-old citadel (Arg-e Bam), built primarily of mud brick, during the Sasanid period. Arg-e Bam was one of the most valued architectural sites in the world, some of it surviving from before the twelfth century and some built during the Safavid period. About 60 percent of the buildings in Bam were destroyed, and the old citadel was severely damaged. This devastating earthquake brought fresh attention to the new designs and devices for strengthening old national monuments. It also raised the national consciousness about the structural aspects of housing as a form of national identity and pride. Given the earthquake-prone nature of Iran, and the fact that in the past 1,500 years Tehran, the capital, has been leveled by earthquakes three times, it becomes extremely important to design buildings, roads, and bridges in a way that will not devastate the 12 million inhabitants of this city.