Igol House in Iran by architect Nasim Razavian

The Igol house alludes to the diversity of the Persian garden

on a steep hill in the Iranian Village Igol, architect Nasim Razavian built this charming holiday home At home for a pair of hikers. The building, which is partially cantilevered to reduce its footprint, sits as a white volume that hovers over two upper terraces and reaches the tall sepidae trees in the neighboring northern property.

Vacation is a time when work and the tensions of everyday life are suspended. the design of the Igol House celebrates this state by extending time; it is a hymn to slowness. Inspired by the poetic diversity of Persian gardens, the existing terraces are transformed into polyphonic layered gardens. moreover, razavian responded to the cemetery opposite the property and choreographed the spaces to activate the joyful relativity between the human body, gravity and tilt.

Image © Nasim Razavian

gigantic excavations in igol are currently destroying its mountains. when razavian’s clients bought the land for the igol house, it consisted of nine terraces built on a 75% steep slope. these terraces had destroyed the former gardens. The builders have attempted to excavate these terraces, causing an unfortunate landslide on the adjacent properties. therefore, the architect has chosen to forego excavation and, where necessary, add soil material to the existing terraces to convert them into cultivable foundations. as a result, after sufficient expansion and adjustment, the nine plots are now being converted into layered gardens.

The new plot design is reminiscent of Pardis (پردیس), the Persian garden celebrated as an earthen paradise and reinvented in various forms over the centuries. Razavian explains: we wanted to respond to this diversity of ideas; The design thus overlays multiple materializations of the garden through different layers – both material and ideological layers.’ the garden is a fruit and vegetable garden on one level and an aroma room on the other. it is a swimming pool on one level and a reflecting stream of water on another. it contains a social area that eventually unfolds into a private space. It activates movement while stimulating stillness. and so forth.

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Image © Nasim Razavian

resist gravity and explore the potential of the slanted

Due to the steep slope and the narrow and varying width of the plot, the building becomes a threshold that separates and connects the front and rear gardens. to reach the house it is necessary to pass through the frontal gardens, either by going up the stairs or by taking the sloping external elevator. The elevator hangs from a sloping grass verge that replaced the steep, slippery, and damaged exterior stone stairs built by the previous owners years ago. the experience of riding this lift is, according to razavian, a celebration of the slope and its incline.

Indeed, the placement of the Igol house on the hillside evokes potential in slant and resistance to gravity, a very appropriate approach for the architects’ itinerant clients. for example, the oblique movement and suspension of the outdoor elevator on a green stripe – slowly moving among the polyphonic layered gardens – or the stairways that playfully change direction evoke the existence of gravity while activating play, curiosity and wonder. “The design of the Igol House and its layered gardens introduces a form of dwelling that is neither horizontal nor vertical, but both, or what exists between the two: sloping dwelling.” says the architect.

Embracing slowness and fluidity through a handcrafted home design

The Igol house has three floors. Each one works autonomously as it engages in unique dialogues with nature, implying different activities and activating specific sensations and modes. together they enable a polyphonic assemblage. The main entrance on the ground floor houses an art studio for one of the customers. The first floor houses a bedroom, a balcony, a bathroom and a multifunctional room, while the second level houses a living area and a balcony. Additionally, access to the rear, layered gardens is granted from the first and second floors, bringing the garden into the home by weaving the indoor and outdoor spaces through movement.

To emphasize this inner flow, there is a strong focus on craftsmanship and materiality. The previous owners used local green tuff for the terrace facades, the perimeter walls and the steep stairs. These stones are either repurposed or replaced during property additions and renovations. Additionally, the concrete Razavian used in the landscaping is cast in roughly textured recycled wood to record the passage of time, provide more friction, and avoid slipping while walking. ribbed material was also used for a streamlet running through one of the back gardens; This helps intensify the sound of the water while also stimulating the growth of new life forms – like moss and algae.

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Image © Certificate Studio

One of the last remaining local blacksmiths crafted the house’s door and window frames to revitalize this vanishing Iranian craft. At the same time, the art studio’s floor tiles are developed in collaboration with the artist of the house and made by a local ceramist. razavian has also designed multifunctional furniture to hide the fan coil units while serving as a kitchen table, cupboard, storage space, raised shelf or drawer.

Returning to the concept of slowness, Razavian explored several architectural operations that activated this sensation. For example, the small windows on the north side capture the slow movement of the trunks, branches and leaves of the Sepidar trees. The roof is one of the places where slowness is also celebrated. A white expanse floating in the air, it offers a panoramic view of the enchanting landscape and celebrates the joyous giddiness that its owners know as hikers.

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Image © Certificate Studio

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Image © Certificate Studio

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