Pass and Pause Iranian Architecture Revisited

Pass and Pause: Iranian Architecture Revisited
Reza Haeri



In the early 1960s, Ali-Akbar Saremi - a young student of architecture - went on a trip around Iran visiting historic architectural sites with his colleagues. The group went by a minibus and took the route from Tehran towards Kashan, Semnan, Tabas, Yazd, Isfahan, Bam, Minab and Gheshm Island. They also headed south west of Iran, to Khuzestan, and crossed the border to Karbala and Baghdad in Iraq.

During these trips, other than sketching tools, Ali had an 8mm camera with him. With each stop and every pause, he sketched the façade of traditional buildings, noting the roofs as significant spatial layers of these magnificent pieces of architecture. He filmed these spaces, producing silent imagery. Some of these sites do not exist anymore, due to development, lack of care, or natural disasters such as earthquakes. The remaining pieces of architectural heritage in Iran attract many foreigners to this day.

Dr. Ali Saremi, who studied with Louis Kahn (the famous American architect of 20th century) during his doctoral years at University of Pennsylvania), is himself one of the icons of contemporary Iranian architecture. His original narrative of traditional architecture is a refreshing one, which had been documented in the film Pass and Pause. This video was made based on his own archives and been edited by Reza Haeri. In this film, Ali tells the story of his trips while pointing out particularities of traditional architecture, mixed with his memories of Iran before the Islamic revolution:

“Many buildings we visited during these trips were in ruins and out of function. The ruins of Takht Soleyman, Shush, and many abandoned Caravanserais along our path in the vast desert had a magical effect on me. It was as if these ruins had mysteries yet to be discovered. When I would pass these enchanting sites, I would feel their long lasting energy coming from the minds of their builders, into my soul.”

The project Pass and Pause: Iranian Architecture Revisited consists of two 20 minute films and 30 sketches by Ali Saremi. Also, well known architects, Faryar Javaherian, Iraj Kalantari, and Mohammad Reza Haeri lectered about Ali Akbar Saremi, Iran Architecture in 60s and Rasht 29 Club.

All lectures moderated by Roham Maghsoudlou


Pass and Pause: Iranian Architecture Revisited

Afshar House