In conversation with Tehran-based architect Firouz Firouz
by Afra SafaFeb 21, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Afra SafaPublished on : Dec 06, 2021
As the metropolis capital of Tehran grows ever more populated and polluted, more people look for a way to run to the more tranquil surrounding areas. In the last two decades, Lavasan area, located in the far eastern outskirts of Tehran, has witnessed rapid development of private villas. The advantage of Lavasan for Tehran duellers, despite its separation from the capital with a mountain range, is the easy and fast access.
Initially a village at the borders of Tehran, Lavasan now houses both the locals and people from the capital. It has also become a place where away from the high-rise trend in Tehran people can revel in their love for architecture and build residential dream houses with unique aesthetic values. Katoozian House which we will delve into is one of them.
The 695 m2 land of this project resembles a trapezoid and brings forth the first challenge. All four directions are surrounded by neighbouring houses. Architect Mohammad Reza Marashi has solved this problem by subtracting and elevating a portion of the initial cubic form to benefit from the mountain views and then rotating the remaining forms in all four directions to avoid overlooking neighbouring houses.
The building is accessible via two entrances on the sides on two opposite points of the land. The entrances from the narrow streets are modest grey gates that implicate the minimal approach of the design inside.
The front gate opens to a small garden where ancient trees reside. The rotations of the house have also allowed the architect to avoid cutting down trees. The glass doors of the ground floor project a sense of transparency and openness. The trapezoid pattern is revisited here, on the stone porch, the spaces that have been subtracted for trees on the stone platform and in the way the stones of the porch have been cut and set.
The façade of the building creates a play of perspective, as if the different parts of it move back and forth in our vision. The sharpness of the white surfaces has been diffused by the traditional brickwork on the sides, creating a dynamic visual aesthetic for the façade and warmth against the otherwise cold and minimal surfaces.
The door that allows us entrance to the ground floor is as modest as the gates and we are welcomed to the ground floor that benefits from large square windows.
Once inside the restroom is strategically located on our left so the guests and visitors would not have to venture to the private spaces of the house in order to reach them. Also, the next door in the same corridor is the elevator that takes the residents to the upper floors where bedrooms are located, without them having to pass through the living room where other members of the house might be entertaining guests. On our left in the same corridor a hall is located that can be used as a small office or for conducting professional meetings without taking the visitors to the living space of the house.
The living room benefits greatly from natural light through the windows and the kitchen, which is large enough for family dining, and has the tactical access to both the hall and the living room without said spaces interfering with each other. The kitchen also receives ample sunlight from the windows on the other side.
The residence also houses a basement where a home cinema, a mechanics room, storage and a room for the caretaker with a separate bathroom is conveniently located; accessible by both the stairs and the elevator.
The stairs that take us to the first floor are all sleek whiteness and sharp lines, reminiscent of the trapezoid shape which is the main motif of the house. The wooden flooring of the stairs gives warmth and coziness against the pure whiteness.
On venturing upstairs we come across voids that have been secured by planes of glass that are created by the rotation of the cubic forms of the house, providing aesthetic variation to our vision.
The first floor houses two master bedrooms and another room. There is also a seating area that benefits from a small terrace and the hollow space that creates connection with the lower floor. Another terrace has also been provided on the other side for one of the master bedrooms.
The stairs to the second floor have an alluring view of the elevated garden, pool and jacuzzi, and the glass ceiling gives us a peek into the sky above, allowing a generous amount of natural light inside. Elimination of a portion of the northern mass of the building and the creation of an elevated second garden has not only added to the outdoor spaces of the house but has provided the upper floors with the view that the ground floor lacks. A guest bedroom is located here along with a space for gatherings and parties, and also a small kitchen for more convenience. The design of this floor allows social gatherings that benefit from the outdoor space, the view of the mountains and also avoids being overlooked by the neighbouring houses.
The Katoozian House named after the employers, that offers 800 m2 living space in a relatively small land, is costume designed for a family with an active public life who also respect their individual private space. The house is designed to give the residence privacy and provide the visitors with the entertainment expected from an enjoyable trip to Lavasan during the weekend.
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