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During my years in university, I was member of a group, together with Parsa Ardam and Leila Hamzehpour, called ZAV where we designed objects and furniture, organized exhibitions and gradually started to do some projects. 

Towards the end of my masters, when I became more acquainted with the field of urban design, architecture took on another meaning for me. I developed a deeper interest in urban questions and how users and builders of architecture can affect it. Back then I realized architecture can be a whole lot more multi-faceted, dynamic and animated than a single building and it ought not to be imprisoned inside the building. 

Around 1998 I co-wrote my thesis with Parsa Ardam about Khorramshahr, a city devastated by the Iran-Iraq war a few years back. Khorramshahr is located North of the Persian Gulf close to the Iran-Iraq border. It’s a city that contains the essence of issues surrounding this war, and is in this sense considered a city of national importance. 

The city of Khorrmshahr illustrates the economic and social circumstances of the Iran of yesterday or even today. The economic and social circumstances discussed in the thesis are still pertinent in the country and for ZAV, and the same applies to the spatial scenarios of our thesis. Being interventions that avoid formal presumptions and favour small down-to-earth action, suspending product-driven aesthetics and encouraging a benefit-driven approach in favour of everyone, their approach still remains the main preoccupation of ZAV Architects in their projects. 

Amidst urban ruins and a population who is deprived of their hopes and wishes because of war, how can architecture inspire them to have wishes for something better again; real, down-to-earth and achievable wishes that could improve their lives greatly through space. The thesis proposes 6 scenarios with a bottom-up approach, that instead of government-led urban developments, using expensive material construction, tend to shape activities, based on field research, for its economic and social regeneration, activities that are achievable with near at hand resources and the help of people through flexible and adapting spaces. 

In 2006, ZAV became an official architectural office. One main characteristic of ZAV is that collaborations with architects and experts outside the office are frequent. With time, these collaborations became increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary, and after Parsa left the group two new associates joined: Golnaz Bahrami and Fati Rezaei. In collaboration with other architects and researchers such as Soroush Majidi, Sara Jafari, Sheila Ehsaei, Fereshteh Assadzadeh and many others, ZAV believes that collective creativity can reach grounds unattainable to individual efforts. 

ZAV has a research-driven and pragmatic approach towards architecture that tries to explore realistic and practical subjects. The design product is not the starting point of ZAV’s work. Work starts with investigating capacities that enable social and economic agency and even whatever can make small wishes come true, and use architectural means for this end. Spatial scenario and program, spatial organization, architectural typologies, craftmanship and construction techniques, can all become subject to research in order to find out how their capacities can be activated. In following a social and economic agenda, it is important that architectural qualities are not set aside and neglected, but that instead they become the means of realization of these goals with their inner capacities and tools. And this is some sort of compromise between different and sometimes diverging interests that redefine the question of what architecture is about, and reveal its mediating attributes.


Mohamadreza Ghodousi

Tehran 21.Nov.2020

Mohamadreza Ghodousi
Founder
From 2006
Parsa Ardam
Founding Partner
2006-2013
Fateme Rezaei
Partner
From 2009
Golnaz Bahrami
Partner
From 2013
Sheila Ehsaei
Partner
From 2016
Nogol Zarbafian
Associate
2015-2018
Hosein Hejrat
Associate
2009-2010
Soroush Majidi
Project Architect
From 2013
Payman Barkhordari
Project Architect
From 2018
Ebrahim Mahmoudi
Support
From 2018
Mahmoud Ganji
Project Architect
From 2018
Fereshteh Assadzadeh
Project Architect
From 2019
Somayeh Saeedi
Project Architect
From 2020
Arshia Hashemipour
Project Architect
From 2020
Ali Chaichian
Project Architect
From 2021
Mahsa Faal
Project Architect
From 2022
Sara Jafari
Project Architect
2014-2020
Mohsen Safshekan
Project Architect
2015-2020
Pasha Ardam
Project Architect
2008-2013
Mahta Aminali
Project Architect
2016-2020
Yeganeh Ghezellou
Project Architect
2015-2018
Negin Koushk Jalali
Project Architect
2015-2018
Mandi Amiri
Project Architect
2012-2015
Bahar Mehdi Pour
Project Architect
2011-2014
Azin Ravayee
Project Architect
2019-2021
Dorsa Tavakoli
Project Architect
2019-2021
Mohsen Dehghan
Project Architect
2018-2020
Sara Azar Khish
Project Architect
2018-2020
Negar Monzavian
Project Architect
2017-2019
Hosein Panjeh Pour
Project Architect
2015-2017
Kaveh Rashid Zadeh
Project Architect
2015-2017
Sara Dastmalchian
Project Architect
2011-2013
Shahrzad Fadaei
Project Architect
2010-2012
Leila Hamzeh Pour
Project Architect
2006-2008
Ramin BeyraghDar
Project Architect
2006-2008
Sanam Movaseghi
Director of Administration
2006-2008
Parisa Mohamamdi
Project Architect
2021-2022
Mina Pourzand
Project Architect
2009-2010
Sara Fallahzadeh
Project Architect
2021-2022
Hanieh Alizadeh
Project Architect
2019-2020
Golnaz Khosravani
Project Architect
2017-2018
Niloufar DavoudianFar
Project Architect
2017-2018
Farid Golmohamadi
Project Architect
2016-2017
AmirAli Rastegar
Project Architect
2016-2017
Semiramis Ghorbani
Project Architect
2016-2017
Mehdi Mahoutian
Project Architect
2016-2017
Sarvenaz Yasari
Project Architect
2014-2015
Mahshid Gharibi
Project Architect
2010-2011
Sara Aslani
Project Architect
2010-2011
Kamran Khazrayei
Project Architect
2010-2011
Parisa BehzadPour
Project Architect
2009-2010
Solmaz Malek
Project Architect
2009-2010
Pouneh Sadri Manesh
Project Architect
2007-2008
Alireza Yousefi
Project Architect
2006-2007
Samin Mesgaran
Project Architect
2006-2007
Mona Vazirpour
Project Architect
2021-2021
Roza Bemani
Project Architect
2021-2021
Azin Nemati
Project Architect
2019-2019
Saman Soleimanian
Project Architect
2018-2018
Jinous Mobasherfar
Project Architect
2015-2015
Samaneh Hashemi
Project Architect
2014-2014
Shadi Sajad
Project Architect
2011-2011
Shima Moayer
Project Architect
2010-2010
Behnaz Behbahani
Project Architect
2010-2010
Shida Roghani
Project Architect
2009-2009