Mashhad City Complex

Many cities in Iran are developing big retail areas following international standards, and new Mall formats are erasing old retail shops and the city life that they bring to the streets.  New retail concepts try to concentrate all impulsive buying into one big area and it is understood as a leisure activity. This concentration has a big impact into neighborhoods, increasing traffic and creating huge parking lots. All this covered and air conditioned area has also great implications on the carbon footprint driven by the shopping activity. This is normally underestimated in oil producer’s economies. The urban complexity is fully achieved when diversifying urban uses. Small shopping units set around important urban axis or disseminated in the neighborhood, are proved to be essential for citizens day life and even for security reasons. So this proposal is focused on empowering the city pedestrian users, splitting big introspecting Mall units into an atomized city where shops and public spaces are connected. This is a topographic proposal where ground floor and first floor levels exchange public spaces and open to street retail areas, on the other hand we left big area on the basement level for a big mall unit.

The volume proposal shows a massive balance, with simple volumes that lays on top of the public gardens grid developed on the lower levels.  Mashhad Mausoleum is part of the building concept, most of the dwellings face the sanctuary. All facades are defined as per historic memories of the Persian architecture, defining geometries that might remember to the typical Persian dywan structures. This project is an opportunity for a deeper research about a changing city culture. It shows a dialogue between some of the traditional concepts that are part of the great Iranian culture, and some of the new occidental ideas that must be restudied and adapted for Iran and its time.