The sustainability of Iranian architectural elements throughout the Islamic era

Document Type : Research Article



“Stability” is, in fact, a feature that contributes to calmness and continuity of high quality life. This is compatible with the life style in various eras – a topic that has been investigated and evaluated in different fields. Architecture is one of the main elements that contributes to stability.  Iranian architecture is one of the rich indigenous expertise which has already been widely recognized across the world that has evolved into successful conceptual, connotative and mythological themes on its progress from Islamic era to the modern era.  At the same time, the influence of architectural themes on the Iranian culture has been clearly effective. With the advent of Islam into Iran, both the social and political conditions and the Islamic perspectives created new forms of architecture particularly in the shapes of mosques that were not compatible with the spirit of the Iranian architectural. As a result, this spirit changed throughout time and was replaced by new forms. The purpose of this study is to identify and investigate the effects of the Islamic era in using three Iranian architectural structures: Miansara, Eyvan and Gonbadkhaneh. These are examples of close, semi open and open spaces in Iranian architecture.  The present study will also try to find out the reasons for the stability of those structures. The goal of this research is not only to study the architectural culture but also to determine the role of culture and society in the shaping of the architectural elements in Iran. This study investigates the effect of these criteria in the reshaping of the architectural structures taken into the Iranian culture and adjusting them to fit the sprit and the known patterns of the dominant culture of the time. This exploration can be classified as a qualitative research in the context of the case study method. The studied cases include Ashore Palace, Firoz Abad Temple of Fire and Sarvestan Palace.  These are three main architectural sites in Iran before the advent of Islam. Zavare Mosque is the first edifice known for its four-corner design. In general, Miansara, Eivan and Gonbadkhaneh represent three types of architectural spaces; Gonbadkhaneh as an instance of closed space and Eivan and Miansara as examples of semi-open and open spaces. The effects of these spaces and the changes in the edifices from the Shabestani to four-corner design have been studied based on the existing documents as well as field observation. It seems that these changes occurred as a result of cultural and social changes playing a key role in the shaping of the architectural elements. This characteristic stems from the Parsi era called “Borsakardan” which means the experience in the local tribal language. Appearance and durability of these elements have been shaped in different society and political conditions indicating the creativity of the Iranian architectures in that era. This implies that these elements have persisted their performance, magnificent and spirituality while the society and political conditions were not aligned in the same direction. Alternatively, the relationship between theses three elements displayed the characteristics of the Iranian architecture.