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+180 02

The city of Qom is located at 120 kilometers distance from Tehran. It took form on the banks of Qom River, a river that springs from heights of Khansar and Golpayegan and after being joined by branches of Khomein and Laalbar crosses over Qom and ends up in Namak Lake (the desert of Salt). The salty soil of this territory has rendered even the city’s drinking water to taste salty, has caused vegetation to hardly grow and instead lose the battle against the growth of sand and the desert. The arid landscape and climate has not been successful in forcing Qom’s people to flee from it, since it has long been a religious and spiritual center for Iranians and believers of Shiite Islam with its grand monuments, the schools and the holy shrines that attract students and pilgrims, together with the industrial centers keep the city’s economy alive. How would Qom’s public and administrative office buildings position and represent this unique spiritual identity of the city as well as acquire high standards of construction and comfort for their users? In addition, there are strict regulations for building in residential neighbourhoods in this city in order to respect the principles of privacy and the right to not be seen directly; in other words, in situations where the neighbor’s building faces your building you cannot have a direct transparent window (opening) unless the height of 180 centimeters above the floor. Our project’s plot faces the residential fabric from two sides; therefore the 180 cm regulation should be applied, and from one side overlooks a main street of the city, so it can have transparent windows. These aspects were influential in forming the spatial diagram of the project: to produce an ‘Iranian’ space which functions as a high standard office building, providing comfort for its users, respecting the privacy regulations of the city. We define this expected quality space as a space which is easily understandable, enjoys direct pleasant daylight and a reasonable view, has a sort of connection with the green or open space while preserving its rational relation to other spaces of the building. A new reading of the traditional concept of an inner-looking (introvert) space that can solve the privacy issue can be proposed as a diagram of inside-outside: consider an introverted architecture with a central courtyard surrounded on three sides with the building’s mass and the fourth side is covered with a wall. The southern and eastern sides of our building follow this introverted diagram. We defined a thick zone of vertical, extroverted inner court surrounding the building. The northern side which faces the city and the street, the monuments and the gardens they all become the courtyards of this project. This public façade can still hold its intimate privacy through the terraces. This spatial strategy that solves automatically the problem of (visual) privacy is rooted in the inner-courtyard building typology brings the possibilities of producing a crystallized architecture that has simplicity, plasticity, liveliness the porosity of green and open semi-open spaces filled with an interplay of light and shadow, clouding the inner with the outer.

Lead Architect(s)

Mohamadreza Ghodousi, Nogol Zarbafian,


Mr. Panahi,

Design Team

Fateme Rezaei Fakhr, Golnaz Bahrami, Sheila Ehsaei, Sara Jafari, Kaveh Rashid Zadeh,

Graphic & Illustration

Soroush Majidi, Mahta Aminali, Farid Golmohamadi,

Project Manager

Golnaz Bahrami,


Jalal Aslani,


Mohammadreza Shekarchi,

Structural Consultant

Hesam Abedi,

Mechanical Engineer

Ali Ghanizadeh, Hojad Norouzi,

Electrical Engineer

Ali Piltan,