Giving Life to Zāyanderūd

Villa Magazine invites the Iranian Government to organize "Open Architectural & Town-Planning Competition" in order to develop innovative ideas for reorganization and reclamation of the urban riverside spaces - Zayanderud - Isfahan - Iran

The Zayandeh Roud, or “life-giving river”, has flowed through the ancient city for more than 1,000 years en route from its source in the Zagros Mountains in the west of the country to the vast wetlands of Gavkhooni in the south of the Isfahan region. But the riverbed now resembles a vast, gravelly beach, a dead stretch of sun-baked land that winds through the heart of Isfahan, a five-hour drive south of Tehran 

The water that disappeared – a result largely of mismanagement and overuse rather than drought – is stored at the Zayandeh Roud dam and diverted for domestic and industrial consumption, leaving the city’s 11 river bridges standing as symbols of what is missing. (Poor planning, populist policies, and drought have contributed to a critical water shortage) -  Najmeh Bozorgmehr AUGUST 21, 2014


Author: Najmeh Bozorgmehr

Villa Magazine invites the Iranian Government to organize "Open Architectural & Town-Planning Competition" in order to develop innovative ideas for reorganization and reclamation of the urban riverside spaces - Zayanderud - Isfahan - Iran including the solution of some particular tasks as below: 

+  modern ecological, town-planning, architectural and designing development of the riverside territory in the water area of the Zayanderud bend from the Khaju Bridge to the 33-Pol Bridge

+ creation of the cultural, sports and recreational environment

+ comprehensive development of water tourism 

+ promotion of new technologies and the active New-Isfahan life-style 


+ To rehabilitate the territory with diversified approaches to water.

+ To ensure the functionality of the embankment by producing public spaces, taking into account their seasonal use

+ To organize a communication between the coastal zone and city center

+ To propose actions in order to preserve and renew historical, cultural and natural-recreational sites

+ To provide for measures in order to improve the environmental situation and make the territory more healthy

Copyright: Mateusz Pospiech

ٍ(Case study): More than most, this proposal must be ecologically sound: you can’t replace a river lost by poor management, irrigation and climate change with a megastructure that wastes even more water. The "green cover" of the upper area functions as a sunshade during the more arid summer months, while in winter months it allows more light into the lower areas. The whole development is built using traditional, low impact materials (manufactured without using the steel plants that have used a great deal of the Zayanderud’s water) using a system of reinforced concrete frames and mudbrick, something that has the added bonus of aiding the creation of interior microclimates with the breathable nature of mudbrick. Most importantly, the green areas of this project are managed using efficient drip irrigation, and the whole scheme uses a comprehensive water conservation and recycling scheme.

Copyright: Mateusz Pospiech

The Architect states that his aim is to create an ‘evolution’ of the Zayanderud, rather than just build over it and wipe it from the memories of citizens. While some may question the proposal to use water-hungry grass considering the importance placed on water recycling, the project clearly puts care into recognizing the river as part of the identity of Isfahan. And though Pospiech may not want the citizens of Isfahan to forget about the river, this project could offer them something a little more functional than a parched channel in the meantime.

Author: Amir Sarabandi

We have real experience from the past of using the power of the River in a sustainable way, breaking the hard wheat of the north with only the falling of water. Our design is presented in that spirit and with a belief in the River itself to steady our minds, fill our hearts for the challenges before us.

Photo: Morteza Salehi


We can make this a 21st Century of change and invention! Old values have to be reevaluated. New ethics and new aesthetics have to be invented. And most importantly, new solutions have to be and can be, implemented, so we can build on the foundations of previous generations, a more healthy and beautiful Isfahan. 
Our mission is to complete and renew the Minneapolis park system vision based on our understanding of new challenges, new knowledge, and new technologies, to
recover the full potential of the Upper Riverfront and give i back to the city. We will make full use of the landscape a productive, ecological infrastructure for enhancing
social equality, generating economic vitality, and regaining cultural identity. (Dr. x )

proposed challenges: 

+ Ecological Renewal
+ Social Equity
+ Vibrant Economy
+ Cultural Identity 

proposed strategies for the "Giving Life" to Zayanderud:

+ Think of ecological infrastructure
+ Rethink smart Zayanderud
+ Curate the vision through time