The development of urban high rise buildings in most areas of Tehran occurred without considering the extents of their function and a specific design criterion, which consequently led to a monotonous and chaotic urban-scape without a strong identity.
Nevertheless the design and formation of a building can be in a manner that while retaining harmony with its surroundings and adjacent buildings; it still can be unique and different from other buildings and thus can work as an urban landmark. This process completes when the building statue responses perfectly to the needs and function of its organization and present the highest level of link between form and function- like two wings- in the art of architecture.
Additionally, the creative mind of an architect can imagine a structure and convert it to a design that due to its functional characteristic has identity; an identity that touches place, time and its nature, an identity that is a basis for initiating of a movement. Hence, the first step in design and construction of the building of ports and shipping organization initiated in April 1999 by the selection of a lot in the east side of Africa Blvd. and the north side of Hemmat highway, located in “Äbbas Abaas” hills; the objective was to move this organization from a crowded place with congested traffic in the center of Tehran to an appropriate place. The selection of the lot occurred in one of the best indicated areas in Tehran, regarding the accessibility to the highway networks and convenient connection to other organizations related to the Ministry of Road. The goal was to provide the possibility of creating coordination between the secondary buildings scattered in various areas of Tehran. This lot in two parts with total area about 4000 square meter, with change of function from residential (by %120 accumulation- density) to administrative function (by % 560 accumulation) has been under study and design.
Desire for having open views, flexibility, creativity and proportion of design with lot form, as well as observing human and urban scales and harmony between function and structure of the building, all have been the principles of design. Locating the main building or tower in the north part of the lot for administrative functions and the shipping building in the south for service and convenience functions were the first criteria in division of functions in this complex.
The physiognomy (typology) of the main building or tower has been designed to have strong visual influence from far away and to be visible from long distance. Although the lower levels, in regard to near observer, has human scale and also order by having proper division in elements of elevations and decoration of composite layers which create a visual comfort for the viewer. This building has been designed in 17 floors. Three floors have been allocated to basement for parking and other services. The ground floor and the 13 storeys on top of it have been designed regarding the hierarchical order of the area, function and population. The first three floors have larger areas and serve more clients and people, while upper floors have lower areas and are less crowded. Consequently, the function of the last three floors is very specific and the last floor on top of the complex creates an interesting sky line with different shapes and dimensions. The main space of this floor is covered by a two-layered dome with beautiful proportions which its interior surface is painted by inspiration from Persian shores and ports; in the head of the dome, there is sky and shores while the dry lands surrounding it!
The main entrance of the building is located in the north-side and leads clients to the main central space that has a three-level high. This hall has been covered by a dome and decorated by another painting that joins in horizon line with combination of water and sky. At the present time, because of unfinished secondary highways and lots of Abaas Abaad hills, the entrance is contemporary accessible from the north-west side. The total permissible area for the building is about 18000 square meters that has been established according to maximum density (% 560). Initially this area was allocated to 300 personnel’s. Therefore, minimum vertical and horizontal connected spaces have been considered by the designer. At present, the personnel’s are beyond the expected capacity.
In the shipping building, convenient spaces, Amphi Theater, dining salon and prayer room have been designed. This section of the complex has two accesses to the first floor of the tower and another one, linked directly to the enclosure space, that can work independently in emergency times.
The convex shape of ship plan regarding its function has provided proper space for Amphi Theater with 300 persons capacity and also a free and flexible form for dining salon. The link between tower and ship has been possible by a bridge from the first floor and by passing through this bridge; observers can enjoy beautiful views from the bushy and green landscape of Taleghani Park.
This complex has been designed and constructed by Dr. Mohammad Mahdi Mahmoudi; with a clear functional definition while providing harmony between form and function; and is well-matched with its existing location. The designer has also another building in his resume called ‘the center of Islamic Encyclopedia’. In that project, the designer, regarding the function of the building, with different view and emphasis on the Persian architecture created an introspection belief in Iranian attitudes. (The mentioned building has been published in the first number of … weekly magazine.)
The structure of the building is consisted of steel resistant to earthquake and it is as a composed one with gripping connections and mooring in two directions; the system of air conditioner of the complex is formed by absorbed chillers, steam boilers and heat transformers… This intelligent building has control piping system and video-sonic device system in Amphi Theater as well as meeting rooms.
The façade of the building has been covered by aluminum composite panels with steel bases rather than stone (which is more popular in Tehran), which is considered as one of the recent techniques in architecture. Therefore, besides esthetic aspects, this choice was made regarding the seismic issues as Aluminum is a light structure, and thus safer. The construction process of this project started in March 2000 by excavation and building the foundations and steel structure, completed in December 2004. Installation of facilities and fixing decorations was performed in different stages from September until 2004.
One of the positive aspects about high-rise buildings is their provision of a better view from the urban landscape. Therefore; in all floors of the building, vertical connections and service spaces have been located in the western side to prevent main spaces from the harsh light and heat due to compatibility with the climatic condition. This leaves the southern, eastern and northern sides free for open views to Damavand summit and Alborz Mountains in the north of Tehran and southern landscapes. The viewer can observe the fast-growth of Tehran and its dual character, manifested in the style, high and quality of buildings with lower and old buildings in the south to more modern and high-rise buildings in the north .
This panorama is a also a passage from the past to the present life of the city which can introduce us with this vivid, dynamic and alive city.