The Authenticity and Originality of Contemporary Architectural Works (A Case Study of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. Student of Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor of Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Problem statement: Originality and authenticity of architectural works have been examined from the legal, artistic, restoration of historical buildings, and architectural theory viewpoints. The issue of originality in the contemporary architecture of Iran has been the focus of many specialized and public journals; however, in scientific research’s discourse, criteria are vague. Therefore, the question is what are the criteria of originality and authenticity in contemporary architecture? To scientifically enrich the discourse of originality, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most important contemporary projects in Iran, was chosen as the case study based on the proposed criteria
Research objective:This research aims to clarify the differences and similarities between the terms authenticity and originality and to propose criteria for measuring them in contemporary architectural works.
Research method: This research employs mixed interpretive-historical strategies and logical reasoning through consultation with bibliographic data.
Conclusion:The “Original” scheme has exquisite features that have not been seen before. An architectural work can be named “Authentic” if it has the following features: 1- imitation of elements or idea, 2- presentation of creativity and innovation in its composition, 3- alliance with and influence on the context and society, and 4- explicitness and honesty. The comparison of the case studies in terms of aspects of form, spatial organization, circulation, and the materials revealed that Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has not presented its distinguished elements of form for the first time, therefore, it cannot be considered  “authentic” work from this point of view. Despite these outward similarities, four other criteria can be identified in the scheme of the museum which can give it eligibility to be considered “creditable”.


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