Review of the Boundaries of the Urban Design Interventions in Iranian Architectural Monuments for Interaction with the Innovation in Architecture

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art & Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Urban design is an interdisciplinary occupation-science and has always been in interaction with other similar disciplines such as architecture and urban planning. Since the introduction of the urban design as an independent major, the subject of this study is indirectly considered in some parts of the theoretical literature of the urban design. For instance, within the studies which urban designers have conducted in order to determine the urban design realm, they have proposed a variety of different viewpoints regarding the position of architecture and the influence of the urban design. In theoretical literature of design which deals with contextual architecture, landmarks and monumental architecture, a number of related issues can be found. Emphasis on the context and architecture`s imitation of the context or attention to it in designing single monuments of architecture in addition to defining the position of the landmark architecture are just examples of it. Although according to many theoreticians, the urban design has been created to fill the gap between architecture and urban planning, as a result of the interaction between these disciplines, their boundaries and domains as well as their occupational areas have always been the subject of arguments. This article has attempted to consider the overlap of the domains of authority between the urban design and architecture. The challenge for architects and urban designers starts when the urban designers try to control the urban spaces and consequently the constructions forming them. Therefore, this article attempts to identify the challenging issues and to provide better solutions in order to minimize such challenges. Such issues as identification of the domain and boundaries of the urban design with regard to controlling architecture of the structures, attention to the context of design, the extents of inflexibility of the tools of urban design control, the scale and level of interference on the part of urban design, and the manifestation of monument and out-ofspace architecture are among the issues which have always been the subjects of arguments in theoretical literature of the urban design. The ineffectiveness of the traditional tools of controlling the urban design in focusing on the fundamental aspects of controlling the context, prescribed and superficial controls that result in lack of a desired level of diversity, and consequently, in repetition of a certain architectural pattern all add to the existing challenges in Iran. In addition, the subjective and equal repetition of control tools in different cities and in different areas of the cities with the aim of establishing urban order, under the title of the urban design, regardless of the local features and studies on the existing contexts in each given area will result in the loss of richness and variety. It will also, at the same time, increase the contradictions between the architecture and urban design, both in theory and practice. It seems that the problems of the current approach and lack of alternative solutions are, to a great extent, due to the absence of a congruent theoretical basis which could help to identify the boundaries of the urban design as well as to determine the position of architecture in forming urban spaces, lack of which ends in the emergence of challenges in the fields in question. Therefore, the present study aims to use the related theoretical literature in order to sum up and categorize various theories, and to identify unanimities. Moreover, this article represents and defines the quality issues that need to be regarded in the area of urban spaces in the form of a checklist, and thus provides an assessment and evaluation tool for the endeavors made in the field of urban design. The results of the present study indicate that the most challenging areas are the issues of control and the urban design control tools. Consequently, it could be useful to use and give a role to creative architecture to develop the environmental qualities and direct the field toward diversity while observing the turbulence limits. Regarding the issue of urban design control and its tools, some of the appropriate solutions could be as follows: management of flexibility of the control tools, avoiding whimsical treatment of urban design, use of control tools to revise the urban design in accordance with the guidance document. The domain of the urban design is influenced by the consideration of the urban design’s directive role and keeping away from the conceptual elements of architecture design. Moreover, it is very important to respect the architect`s right, which brings about a serious reconsideration of conventional control tools of the urban design in Iran. The findings are categorized in three classes: the keys to minimize the challenges between the architecture and urban design, urban design control tools, and requirements dictated by Iran`s circumstances.


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