Checker Box Office Complex / Arsh Design Group

© Courtesy of

Architects: Arsh Design Group
Location: No.16, Khorsand St, Vali-Asr St, Between Mellat Park and Parkway, Tehran,
Project Team: Reza Eilkhani, Pantea Eslami, Nashid Nabian, Sohail Qandili, Alireza Sherafati
Structural Engineers: Behnam Nateghi
Client: Abolghasem Nabian & associates
M&E consultant: Ali Ghanizadeh & Ali Piltan
Lighting consultant: Ali Piltan
Main contractor: Omran Kavir Company
Project Area: 1,400 sqm
Budget: US $2,000,000
Project Year: 2007-2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Arsh Design Group

City of Tehran is an absurd constructed landscape. Here, the conventional typology for achieving high density which is that of towers, is replaced by a completely different spatial strategy whereas density is achieved through massive deployment of a mid-rise building type; which is that of four to five storey piloted apartment buildings. The dominance of this type has yielded a some what absurd urban morphology whereas the exterior manifestation of the apartment buildings from a street point of view are limited to a single two-dimensional façade . Further more, due to particular dynamics of real state market whereas the price of land in Tehran has reached unbelievable milestone, the investors demand architects to design for a spatial scenario whereas maximum allowed envelope is built to maximize the profit return of the investment.

diagram 01

The spatial ramifications of above mentioned morphology on one hand and the dynamics of the real state market on the other hand intensifies the importance of the façade design in the over all process of conception, development and implementation of buildings since [over]investment on this single façade is the way to make the building standout in its context as unique and for that matter architecturally attractive. Under such circumstances, the architect does not have that much of maneuver in volumetric composition and what is left at the end of the day for the architect is basically the main façade of the building with the maximum depth of 20 to 40 centimeters to be actually designed. So, for every project the concern is how can we design this envelope, or façade in a way that the project stands out instead of fitting in, in its immediate context?

© Courtesy of Arsh Design Group

Design Strategies

(1) building the maximum allowed building envelop into sellable inhabitable space.

(2) providing design based variations that allow the building to stand out as a unique piece of engineering and artistic intervention in its spatial context,

(3) making sure that the adopted design strategies in spatial composition, proposed construction techniques and technologies and choice of materials are not compromising the financial reasonability/feasibility of the investment as a whole.

© Courtesy of Arsh Design Group

With the above mentioned goals in mind the design strategies that have been incorporated in conception and development of the architectural scheme are as follows:

Considering the exterior architectural surface or façade as a micro-section that needs to be architecturally developed as opposed to graphically composed

Conceptualizing the architectural façade as an activated or animated Surface

© Courtesy of Arsh Design Group

Conceptualizing the façade as a neutral yet animated surface that stands in contrast to the humdrum of adjacent urban facades each striving to stand out with some what an exhibitionist attitude

Innovative construction techniques combined with choice of cheap materials.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Checker Box Office Complex / Arsh Design Group" 12 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • TM

    I like it. Being from a country with not many resources for projects and in which some areas we face the same density regulation problem, I think the design achieves it´s goal.

    I am not sure about the repetition of the design in too many places. But the facade scheme is great in my opinion. I´d make it a residential building. Good job!

  • arnold

    rare example of middle east modern architecture.

    the Idea with louver in the main facade is very GOOD. excellent and interesting work. Respect!

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  • mehr

    Great work; I love the modular facade. The grill at the back feels like an after-thought however.

  • Stiggero

    I love the idea, very nice indeed.

  • Caue

    Great stuff!

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  • Tuf Pak

    This is great. Really beautiful and simple strategy for the facade, but it comes off as such an elegant element.

    I’d love to see more current architecture from Iran. With what, 170million people?, there’s got to be a lot going on there we don’t get a chance to see.

    • amiroo

      i can help u

  • Jubelson Tardin

    Innovative! Very surprising morphology.

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  • fergus

    congratulations on producing a stunning piece of architecture. This would be considered great/progressive facade in any european or american city. I’m sure it must be a standout in Tehran based on what you say about the urban context. Reminds me of lots of other schemes( e.g. He&deM on rue de suiss in paris, fernando menis’s house MM,chipperfield’s ninetree scheme and I’m sure something else by baumschlager eberle) but still quite original. I think I may use it as a reference in some way in a project in the future!

  • up_today_arch

    nice morphology… a lot of variations… not my favorit style, but good work.

  • Sparkles

    I love the interlocking sliding panels on the facade.. anyone have any ideas how the details for this work?

  • milad

    i like this idea.

  • Vanchy

    This is replica of another job in Spain.

  • lida

    gr8!!! I love it !!

  • mohamad

    thats very good idea and the facade that cover bye minimal material and shader…
    your group is very good working in iran and new concept that be reveal is so great…be success …the iranian group is very hight method and strong concept but the technology is restrict in iran….bec. i wish the iranina architect that i am too one of them be success .

  • Amin

    with 70 million people! There is a little bit difference!!!!!

    • hamid

      yes it is

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  • Moose

    I think this project is a small but remarkable project! Well done!

  • mehran

    this project showed that Iranian architects are very creative

  • Hamed Abbasi

    Nice Idea ! i hope we see more works like this to improve my country Architecture …

  • behnaz shams

    I like it.Really nice and different.