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Traditional House Types Revived and Transformed: A Case Study in Sabzevar, Iran

  • Karin RaithEmail author
  • Hassan Estaji
Chapter
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Abstract

This chapter is not primarily concerned with the preservation of historical buildings—for which it is often too late—but rather with the question of how continuity between the cultural heritage and contemporary architecture can be established. In Sabzevar, Iran, many culturally valuable residential buildings have been demolished in recent decades due to the rapid economic and physical growth of the city and profound social changes. As real estate prices have risen, the density in inner-city areas has also increased, negatively impacting the historic urban fabric of low-rise courtyard houses. The traditional extended families have been gradually replaced by small households who prefer small apartments. Thus, it seems that the evolution of autochthonous house types has ended and that in the future only global standard housing will be constructed. An analysis of fourteen listed residential buildings revealed their careful adaptation to the desert climate. The oldest buildings, least influenced by European architecture, provided the best thermal comfort. Nowadays, however, electric air-conditioning is preferred to traditional temperature management. Although many houses could be adapted to new ways of living and working, the prospects of financial profit by rebuilding a property often outweigh the appreciation of a building’s cultural significance. While architectural heritage is neglected in favour of progress, the loss of local identity is being mourned. The paper highlights the surprising potential of two traditional house types to be transformed, typologically developed and applied to new urban developments, and it presents arguments for their revival:
  • Time-tested environmentally adapted structures help saving energy.

  • A flexible layout and neutral spaces provide the best options for an adaptation to new lifestyles.

  • A reinterpretation of traditional typologies by use of advanced construction methods and contemporary design vocabulary enhances the local character.

Keywords

Cultural heritage Environmental adaptation Flexibility Reinterpretation Traditional house typologies Sabzevar 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Applied Arts ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Hakim Sabzevari UniversitySabzevarIran

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