save my local culture and history, save my identity

The Kerman city hall is a historic building dating back half a century, now on the verge of being pulled down.

 

_Winter 2016_

The Kerman city hall is a historic building dating back half a century, now on the verge of being pulled down. The building has been witness to numerous influential events- having served many national figures, important conferences, not to mention being the location for Islamic Revolution court and children film festival, cultural events, regional music festival, supreme leader’s visit in 2005. Currently it is where the local council holds its meetings.

 

Sadeg Vaezi

©Sadeq Vaezi

It all started back in 2010, when the new plan of Kerman’s executive branch was approved by the governor. According to the plan, part of the new branch would fall inside the house and the new entrance would go through the House, leaving the House no fate but demolition. Local authorities have had different reactions, yet the striking feature in all of them has been their emphasis on the immediate necessity for the city council to be moved elsewhere. People’s major concern and of course all those involved in cultural heritage conservation, however, is the architectural and substantive value of the building itself, which cannot be replaced. This is why over the past few days people and experts together have formed rallies to demonstrate in an effort to conserve and renovate the House.

 

 

Sadeg Vaezi

©Sadeq Vaezi

According to Mahdiye Mahdinezhad, an expert in architecture and editorial assistant of villa (a specialized magazine for architecture) who is originally from Kerman, the building is noteworthy as it represents the dominant architectural style of 1960s in Iran. A period in which architects all tried to form a connection between current states of affairs and past architectural values of Iran, sometimes directly using the motifs and elements of Islamic architecture and other times metaphorically engendering a familiar environment for users.

The greatest influence of this movement can be seen in the outstanding public buildings having been erected in the capital city of Iran over the same period. Buildings like the City Theater ( Ali Afkhami 1968)  and Azadi Tower(Hossein Amanat 1971) are good examples. At the same time, Asghar Esfehani, aKermanian architect, erects a building in another corner of the country which is as valuable as the Azadi Tower to residents of Kerman.

 

 

Sadeg Vaezi

©Sadeq Vaezi

Another point is the resemblance this building bears to the Palace of Dawn by Oscar Niemeyer. These two structures are quite similar both in terms of form and user aspects. Niemeyer’s building was however built ten years before its counterpart in Kerman, is listed as a cultural heritage in Brazil.

 

Sadeg Vaezi

©Sadeq Vaezi

Amir Abbas Abultalebi, Iranian architect and editor-in-chief of villa magazine, believes the building is significant as it was constructed during the period when the general public and the central government were becoming united, isolated royal palaces were being replaced by some major city houses serving cultural and social purposes. Movements and social activities were organized independently and quite haphazardly before that period. Afterwards, however, there was an obvious tendency toward plazas and city get-togethers. The Iranian Revolution in 1979(ten years after the building was constructed) is more of reason for this argument. He continued by saying : ‘ according to article 1 from the statute of Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, cultural heritage is a collection of what has been passed down to us by our ancestors which could be said to be a sign of human evolution along the history. Recognition of this heritage is the backdrop to understanding the identity and cultural line of humanity, leading to lessons to be learned from this. Pulling down this building which not only represents the culture and history of architecture behind it but also cultural and social activities of its own generation is far from being professional and contrasts sharply with the public’s will.

 

Sadeg Vaezi

©Sadeq Vaezi

 

Sadeg Vaezi 

©Sadeq Vaezi