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SYMBOLIC USE OF WIND-CATCHERS IN IRAN

Abstract
By : Rafooneh Mokhtarshahi Sani, Payam Mahasti Shotorbani

 
In recent decades, Iranian vernacular architecture has defined the local architectural identity by demonstrating distinctive characteristics. Defining such a critical role for vernacular studies has led to different approaches in the design of the contemporary architecture of Iran. The first approach of integrating vernacular and contemporary designs has focused on local people, their needs, local construction, and building materials. The revival of vernacular architectural design and building elements has been at the forefront of this approach in Iran. However, recent use in Iran has concentrated on the symbolic/abstract reuse of vernacular building forms. Vernacular architecture is known to merely provide for the functional requirements of buildings, and not for aesthetic purposes. Conversely, in the second approach, vernacular building elements are considered to be symbols of local identity. This paper will argue that although the symbolic reuse of vernacular features may not uphold the functional expectations of the vernacular form, this reuse is useful in reviving architectural identity. In addition, underscoring such a different role for vernacular building features in contemporary architecture might help to expand the realm of vernacular studies. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the conversion of vernacular architecture in Iran by focusing on the instance of wind-catchers. Wind-catchers typically were used in residential buildings and are considered potent symbols of climate adaptation. In contemporary architecture, however, a form of wind-catcher has been used as a symbol for local architectural identity. Through this transformation, the essential nature of the wind-catcher has found new life in the contemporary architecture of Iran.
Keywords: Vernacular, Symbol, Identity, Wind-Catchers, Iran.

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