maskan mehr

Incorporating Traditional Iranian Dwellings Values into Low-Income Modern Housing in Iran

The design proposal chapter attempts to provide a solution for housing issues in MaskanMehrs residential units. To achieve an effective functional design layout, an analysis has been carried listing the issue of the existing residential units. Data analysis and outcomes assist in highlight functional solutions to be brought about in the new design. The main goal of the redesign of MaskanMehr unit is to achieve a design combining the values of traditional Iranian architecture with the modern residential unit.

Modern Housing cannot adapt to local arid weather and climate change. It does not offer an efficient, environment-friendly, building due to inadequate space arrangement about Iran’s weather. Buildings consume more energy than it used to in passive ventilated, traditional Iranian dwellings. (Seyedzade Sani and Jalali, 2015) A combination of Iranian traditional dwelling values with contemporary architecture could lead a healthy and functional living spaces for low-income family members in MasknMehrs units. The design solution proposed aims to provide a better solution for the architectural relationship between form and space in modern residential dwellings for three family members inhabiting a space as such provided in MasknMehrs concerning socio-cultural norms and daily living pattern of Iranians.

Maskn Mehr’s Design Issues

In the attempt to incorporate the values of traditional Iranian houses into Maskan Mehr’s modern unit’s significant matters relating to Iranian socio-cultural aspects is addressed. The design proposal aims to resolve major space design layout issues such as the lack of privacy in addition to adapting to the harsh climate, values which have been neglected in the past decades in residential architecture.

Absence of Privacy

The absence of privacy in the plan layout illustrated in allowing direct visual views from a unit to another located in the same building block. The door location and opening angle provide no privacy, also lack privacy resulting from window openings and location in private zone. Moreover, interior layout also allows a direct view through kitchen location, bedrooms and lavatories from semi-private zone.

Energy consumption

The Iranian tradition dwelling was designed based on the region sun path and wind direction. It was employed to the benefit of space function and purpose. Contemporary architecture responds poorly to local climate. Therefore, alternative expensive solution is presented. Thermal comfort in the internal spaces is achieved by the application of unsustainable and energy consuming electrical air conditioners.

There is also another issue caused by the insufficient interior arrangement. The modern layout allows undesired strong sunlight into spaces in certain hours in the day.

Exterior Facade

Each block forms a solid cube with no sense of a distinctive, authentic Iranian character. No resemblance of any aesthetic design principles or characteristics of traditional Iranian architecture. Exterior window opening location and proportion lack the unique harmony it once presented instead all openings follow a rigid grid system. The exterior facade does not assign any Iranian decorative elements, nor introduces any satisfying and enjoyable sense of experience to people walking by on the street.

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Design Proposal

Following an intelligent analysis of the design issues in each block, incorporating traditional housing space arrangement and values will be implemented in several ways. From now on, a significant method in adoption traditional design principles. The main goal is to provide adequate living spaces layout for low-income families inside the existing residential blocks.

To achieve a sufficient amount of privacy from the public street and between different interior private zones, movable panels will be implemented as a main element to control the sunlight, air flow and supply an adequate level of thermal comfort to inhabitant’s interior spaces.


Achieving the desired privacy in each space of proposed unit was by dividing each space into zones. Some zones are emphasized more such as in bedrooms, privacy is provided according to space function.


In traditional houses, privacy was achieved by employing light range to determine the privacy at each level. Closing the proposed panels behind room window around the bed, the room appears distant from public street view due to providing less light inside the room. Bed and panels cover the changing zone. The bed is placed on higher steps to avoid direct visual accessibility.


Movable panels also function as a privacy control element in the kitchen, which is located in the semi-private zone. It allows minimum visual access from semi-public zone inside the living space. Movable panels provide a high level of flexibility to be shaped according to each resident from minimum to maximum privacy as needed at different times of the day.

Living room

The living room space is divided into the semi-private and the semi-public zone. In the proposed design in this living space, a semi- floor is provided to allow more privacy in the upper level. Traditional dwellings employed different levels of privacy control. To avoid blocking natural daylight under the semi-floor, the colorful block glass material will allow efficient daylight reflections as it also blocks any visual access of activities on the upper floor.


Windows are designed to allow air circulation inside the interior spaces, it also functions as traditional wind catchers by providing rotating sticks with 45 degrees angle. The green space behind each window is located under. This green space grows to the interior spaces through the window to assist fresh air movement and a pleasant thermal comfort.

Additionally, windows are divided into two parts, the upper part is designed to discharge, and the lower part is to charge. This process aims to reduce energy consumption inside each unit achieved by employing an eco-friendly air conditioner in each unit. The panels behind window openings are movable and could be arranged to fit the inhabitant need from the space purpose and function, or whether to increase air circulation and/or for privacy matters.

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