KA Architecture Studio surmounts a Tehran metro station with brick barrel vaults
Iranian practice KA Architecture Studio has completed the Jahad Metro Plaza in Tehran, creating a new “democratic open space” around the station protected by a set of barrel-vaulted forms.
The new entrance to the Jihad Square metro station is located on a busy traffic intersection near central Tehran, and forms part of a broader initiative to make the city more “pedestrian-oriented” after decades of car-focused development.
Studio KA Architecture also wanted to acknowledge the role of the metro station as an open public space, especially in the wake of recent protests against the oppression of women in Iran.
“The recent protest movements in Iran started from a point in the Tehran subway, and these places are the place of conflict in the city of Tehran between the government and the people,” Mohammad Khafarian, founder of KA Architecture Studio, told Dezeen.
He continued: “For this reason, we believed that the basic need had changed from a simple entrance to a covered urban space for events – an open, democratic space.”
Handcrafted bricks were used to construct the barrel-vaulted forms covering the station entrance, providing a protected route into the station itself and a tiered seating area.
“Our strategy in this project began with defining a roof that has free and unobstructed access to define the space below it throughout the day and night,” Khafarian explained.
“This roof defines the space below, and given Tehran’s harsh climate in summer and winter, it provides a central gathering place for young people and citizens wandering around the city.”
To the northeast, the corner of the site is finished with stone paving and low brick benches incorporating planting, creating a flexible space that can be used by performers, street vendors and the public.
“Currently, local street vendors, users and friendly groups are using these places as a hub to gather around each other, and local musicians are also participating in playing music that is not permitted in Iran,” Khafarian said.
Since the completion of Jihad Metro Plaza, which was shortlisted for the Infrastructure and Transport Project category of the Design Awards 2023, four further station redevelopments have been completed in Tehran, one of which was also designed by KA Architecture Studio.
Many architecture studios in Iran have stopped working altogether or looked at how to create spaces that could serve as better democratic forums in the wake of the recent wave of protests in the country.
Photography: Muhammad Hassan Atfagh.