Embassy of the I. R. of Iran
Location: Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany
Project Year: 2002-2005
Project Type: Embassy
Project site area: 3,000 sqm.
Client: Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The site is situated in northern Berlin, in an elongated narrow slot, in one of the nicest avenue, with low-rise and low-density building regulations, adjacent to the registered national centre of archaeology.
The building has three floors and includes administrative and consular zones,
assembly room, reception space, public reception hall, and related offices. The public entrance is situated nearby the street in the ground floor, providing direct access for consular procedures. Other private entrances have been planned on the sides for the staff, consular and cultural heads, and the ambassador. A direct access to the floors has been also provided from the lower area, from the garden and parking places, leading to the personnel offices.
A strong axial circulation, viewed through a well-ordered geometrical layout with sequential patterns, runs through a symmetrical continuous path in the middle of the building, offering clear locations for the embassy different quarters. The main reception ceremony area is also situated in the ground floor, with a direct access from the Persian garden. The consulate department is in front of the public entrance, while the ambassador’s quarters (office and reception area) is located on the third floor with an open view towards the surrounding garden. A consultative assembly space for staff briefing and special official gatherings is located in the upper floor. This special assembly space has been designed with tectonic components of spatial traditional Iranian architecture: dome and vault with sky openings in the centre.
The structure is made of concrete, and the facades have been elaborated with Iranian white stones, fixed in a structured dry construction joints with the concrete. The interior is also designed with white stones, giving the ensemble a sense of peace and purity; the only decorative colors are articulated from Iranian carpets to enlighten the ascetic appearance.
Due to the surrounding environment, the municipality regulations, the trees, the low-rise quarter, the design was conceptualize to offer a calm continuity through the environment and avoid any exuberance or foreign formal intrusion in the site. Therefore, considering all these elements, constraints and prerequisites, the design took shape, gathering ideas and principles of a systemic complex paradigm of key essential concepts such as: world-view of archetypal expression (jahanbini), sense of unity (vahdat) through geometric patterns, sequential ordered passages (rah/tarighat), geometry as the inherent order of place, light as wisdom emergence (maarefat), space continuity (tadavom) through vertical and horizontal circulations, sky vault and dome (gonbad asemani), four orientations of enlightenment (chahar-tagh/four arches), transitional passage encounter (iwan), respect of nature (Persian garden), and other conceptual and metaphorical patterns of Iranian perennial essence.
The embassy building design, emerging from such considerations, and cross-cultural aims, remains today one of the successful attempts to achieve a synthesis of Iranian cultural heritage with contemporary times, modern technology, material and function.