An Analogical Quotation

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In considering the idea that there should be quotable commonalities in social housing projects, this paper will present an analogical examination of two distinct projects, designed by Alvaro Siza and Kamran Diba, respectively. The emergence of the Shushtar New Town Housing Project in 1977, designed by Iranian architect Kamran Diba, raised a great hope among Iranian architects: the project not only offered a new way to stand against the invasion of the international style architecture, but also presented itself as a flagship of Critical Regionalism in Iranian contemporary housing, as discussed by Kenneth Frampton. However, even while Diba's Shushtar social housing project was still being celebrated with worldwide architectural awards, signs of erosion were gradually emerging in the project. Today, just a few parts of the original design remain, the rest having been demolished by its residents. This issue has left architectural historians and critics with one major question: why should such a supposedly great pioneer project suddenly become one of the biggest architectural disasters in Iranian contemporary housing history? This paper will attempt to respond to this question by looking at Alvaro Siza's Malagueira social housing project in Evora, Portugal, built in the same year as Diba's project. Siza and Diba both carried out their housing projects at a particular historical juncture, using almost the same strategies, ideas, and design concepts. However, although there are incredible similarities between these two projects, a number of Siza's slight considerations, which Diba did not take into account, determined the enduringness of the Malagueira housing, and safeguarded this project from erosion. Exploring the commonalities between these two projects through analogical analysis, while utilising the success of the Malagueira housing project as an exemplar case, this paper posits that the lack of understanding of users' requirements, supervision and social sustainability design features, such as the space for future infrastructure and flexibility, played an essential role in the failure of the Shushtar New Town.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQUOTATION: What does history have in store for architecture today?
Subtitle of host publicationThe 34th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
EditorsGevork Hartoonian, John Ting
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherSAHANZ: Society of Architectural Historians
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780646981659
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event34th Annual Conference of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: QUOTATION - What does history have in store for architecture today? - Canberra, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 5 Jul 20178 Jul 2017


Conference34th Annual Conference of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Abbreviated titleSAHANZ2017


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