Landscape Design Magazine No.98
Rong Cultural Center (Hormuz Island, Iran)
Hormuz Island is an oval-shaped salty patch, near Bandar Abbas-Persian Gulf with 42 km2 land area. It is warm, humid and dry and is economically stressed out. Hormuz Red Soil has long been a matter of tension and heated dialogue both in local and national level as a series of market-driven investments targeted systematic excavation of the soil. Rong Cultural Center is located in Hormoz main port.
Before offering any architecture typology for Rong. We had decided to have a calculated presence in Island by paying attention to social and environmental sustainability. A collaborative process has been set up towards future vision for Island and multi-disciplinary brainstorming workshops were held by participation of both Hormuzians and designer, the result of which was a consensus on the fact that any presence in Hormoz requires to draw maximum level of people's companionship, needs to be environmentally compatibility, has to operate with self-sufficiency and should require simple implementation and on top of all that, in terms of architectural quality it shouldn’t oppose any strange volume to colorful geography of the island.
As a result, first a community center was set up temporarily to gain participation of locals. With intention of providing permanent space for cultural activities and due to lack of an acceptable construction system and architectural typology offering something that deals with geography and environment of Hormuz was essential in shaping process.
To obtain such a space which is harmonized with the island, geo-morphology of Hormoz has been studied and one of a kind of land effects that is a like short hills has been chosen. To construct such a natural form, team concluded that rammed earth system and Nader Khalili’s “Super Adobe” could be appropriated. Due to its soil-preserving technology, the resulting system satisfies environmental lovers. At the same time, it has not yet become a viable and functional construction system that can be widely adopted in similar situations. Till now, it remains as a temporary technique at academic level due to its idealistic setup. A primitive method of construction that can cooperate the Hormuzians developed by architectural team into a design theme that Hormuzians are proud of. In its implementation, the adopted sandbag technology was combined with steel structure covered with Nano-cement in order to provide more outdoor durability.
Rong Cultural Center includes a 45 square meter tourist information and café and a bike rental at the same size with 80 square meter back stage. An 80 square meter step platform hosts cultural activities, events and ceremonies that operate as a mediator between locals and tourists and is an urban space that people can walk on it. It has harmony with island’s geo-morphology and is iconic at same time. Its presence brings pride for Hormuzians and is seen as a beautiful space by answering demand of a cultural center. Rong brought a flexible public space. Café became a break space for tourists, locals and nearby workers. Stairs are playing a public space role that embrace musical, cultural and environmental events, and shapes Hormuzians’ night life. Rong accepts people's reality and invites their participation and engagement. It is sustainable and recyclable fast and easy built with ease, it can be replicated again and again.
Red soil goes into sandbags and symbolically saves for coming generation while it works as a topography that smoothly morphs into the Island’s land.
Rong Cultural Center offers public platform for interaction between locals and tourists and this makes people of Hormoz positive about their future while by learning upgraded Adobe system, they receive new job offers.