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Iranian Embassy, London, United Kingdom

Monday 02 Aug 2010

The Prince and Persia

Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom Iranian Embassy by WAN Editorial in London, United Kingdom
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 9

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09/09/10 roberts, london
Prince Charles ought to stick to Polo and leave Architecture to Architects. This is a modern design with panache. We are in the 21st Century,' move on'
04/08/10 Sergio Gaddar, POrtland, Maine
We've been through this before... function? form? When form is taken over is absurb!, when function is taken over is utilitarian! - The balance of both is what gives character to the building, to the architecture. This building in my opinion is out of balance...but it does have progressive design intent. The question to ask: does this building represents the people of Iran? I don't think so, but it needed to be a political showcase - XXI Century World Architecture. When are we going to prize simple, but fullfilled designs?
Sergio Gaddar, AIA
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04/08/10 Murray Groves, London
this proposal is totally invasive... it possess no beauty but can only offer the worst form of fashion architecture currently being banded around. Surely there must be an international architectural competition to find a truely magical, inspiring and considered piece of architecture firmly rooted in the spirit of our age... Dr Daneshgar the problem ,contrary to what you may believe, is with the design!
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03/08/10 mostafa, zahedan
thanks, I love it very much, especially at night.
03/08/10 Steve, calgary/ London
Perfect- people should learn to move on. I have seen worse in Chelsea and the very same people complaining were decidedly quiet. Get over it...
03/08/10 H. Sung, Canada
The scale of the proposed embassy building seems to be respectful of and consistent with existing buildings surrounding the church, creating a harmonious street roof-line and 'block wall'. Although, I do realize 'different-looking' buildings are often seen as contentious in 'historical' parts of town, we must remember, that our 'old' buildings were at one time themselves new and contemporary. I'm not convinced, that the basic design concept is completely 'wrong', but some design development may work out the necessary details to make the building sit more comfortably with the neighbouring builidings.
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03/08/10 Chris, New York, NY
Welcome to the 21st Century people!!!! I think the building is quite striking and interesting! The rich Kensingtonians need to get over it! I'm all for historic preservation, but we are supposed to build some historic pastiche everywhere there is a "listed" building of questionable interest?! What makes an urban context interesting is the juxtaposition of one era with another. The listed church, nor the surrounding area is particularly interesting anyway!
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03/08/10 Keith Fielder, London
It's a ridiculous design and a pity that Prince Charles won't enjoy as much success with Ahmedinajani as he did with the Royals of Qatar.
03/08/10 Edgar Toms Carr, Durham, NC
Catagorized as modern architecture??? the physical law defying cantilever to gain but one floor or space defines the word "absurd"... The client is evidently more interested in shock notoriety than wise rational use of building and materials. Iranian citizens who pay for these types of things are the ones to loose.

This sort of thing has become common place... done to make the magazines! I doubt the Iranian populous even know?

Edgar Toms Carr, AIA
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Iranian Embassy set to escape tainted siege history with controversial £100m buiding 

News of Prince Charles’ deft hand in halting the controversial Chelsea Barracks project earlier this year has spread fast it seems, as wealthy South Kensington locals have appealed for his aid in preventing plans for a new Iranian Embassy in the centre of London being approved. Residents in the privileged urban area were outraged when the plans were released as they believe they have been mistreated in the development of their surroundings.

It is alleged that the council withheld images of the scheme (which has now been submitted for planning) from its website at the request of the police’s diplomatic protection group, who were concerned about security issues. This is not the only cause of contention however, as it appears the real source of dispute is the nature of the Embassy’s design. Chairman of the National Trust, Sir Simon Jenkins, commented: “It is inappropriate to locate a strident, modern building in such a sensitive conservation area, next to a magnificent listed church.”

Designed by Venice-based Iranian architect Dr. Armin Hohsen Daneshgar of Daneshgar Architects, the Iranian embassy will be a six-storey marble and stone structure sporting irregular windows and sharp, clean lines. Perched on the corner of Manson Place and Queensgate Mews the jutting corner of the building will overhang a smaller sub-structure – a contemporary art gallery and cultural centre. Dr. Daneshgar, lead architect on the project, explained: “I believe the problem is not with the design of the building but more probably with the function of it being used as an Embassy. If we copy the same form of existing buildings at the Queen’s Gate, the problem will continue to exist.”

Whilst such sharp-angled futuristic structures are in no sense rare in London – see Jean Nouvel’s Serpentine Pavilion for an extreme take on this trend – in the affluent area of South Kensington, traditionalist values remain a key focus in architectural design. With Prince Charles’ successful hand in the jettisoning of the Chelsea Barracks redevelopment project, the outraged residents have reportedly penned a letter begging for his assistance with their architectural predicament. The Prince of Wales royal is said to be awaiting the letter before commenting on the matter. Sirus Taghan, an Iranian architect based in London, told WAN: "I think it is typical of the authorities for not employing a UK based firm to design a more relevant scheme. They could have designed a more controversial scheme by relating it to the embassy's origin. It is not a suitable design for an embassy and this particular location."

Several hundred yards from the proposed site stands the current Iranian Embassy which was famously stormed in 1980 by the ‘Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan’ – a group of six Iranian Arab separatists – who demanded the release of ninety-one of their comrades, held in jail in Iran. With Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s permission, the SAS carried out a surprise military operation on the Embassy after one of twenty-six hostages held inside the building was killed. Five of the six terrorists were killed in the attack; the survivor was released from jail in 2008 and now resides under governmental protection in South London.

To read WAN Chairman Richard Coleman's response to the proposed design, click here.

Sian Disson
News Editor

Key Facts

Status Planning permission
Value 0(m€)
WAN Editorial

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