Cinema Radio City in Tehran by Heydar Ghiaï-Chamlou [1967]. The façade exhibits the introduction of Googie design into Iran through its outlandish neon geometry. The entire of the project follows modernist principles through the exploration of balance between straight and curved forms. Unfortunately, the cinema suffered a fire and was shut down with its neon facade removed, remaining in abandoned central Tehran.


Karachi University by Michel Écochard, Pierre Riboulet, and Gérard Thurnauer [1958]. The project was designed as part of a reform in the Ministry of Education of Pakistan and was intended to be the central university of the country. The building programme accommodates some seven thousand students in Faculties of Arts, Islamic Learning, Sciences, Business and Public Administration, Education and Law. The design adheres to Corbusierian principles and the essential concepts of modernism. Every structure was built using reenforced concrete which was morphed into dramatic geometric forms and brise-soleils. The architects did not focus on the buildings themselves but rather on how they interacted with light and space. The architectural language was introduced rather than developed thus created an interesting impact in Pakistani design, changing the vernacular vocabulary.


Alvar Aalto, Three Exterior Views of theHelsinki House of Culture”, (1958)

 The House of Culture in Helsinki is Aalto in his ‘red brick period’. He achieves the free-form curves of the concert hall walls using wedge-shaped bricks, arranged variously with their shorter edge facing inside or outside the wall. The impact of the solid brick walls must be seen in the context of what had gone before. In Finland, the National-Romantics had used wood and granite to show closeness to Finnish nature, while the modern movement (as elsewhere) used more abstract white plaster surfaces (which did not wear well particularly in the Finnish climate). Aalto’s red brick was therefore a bigger statement than it now seems: a man-made material that keeps its individuality and local personality.


The Ex-Majlis Building in Tehran by Heydar Gholi Khan Ghiaï-Chamlou in 1955. The project depends heavily on principles of Islamic geometry and combines them with varied textures, materials, and dimensions. Long, exaggerated lines are used on the exterior façades, echoing the Futurist Manifesto. The brise-soleil recalls traditional Middle Eastern screens that filter light and delineate ornate patterns cast in shadows upon three dimensional surfaces. The dome of the building was inspired by the architect’s family crest. It was one of the first major modernist projects in Tehran and was considered the greatest advance in Iranian architecture at the time. Rather than borrowing from the west, it evolved the traditional forms already found in the vernacular architectural vocabulary of the region.