Tehran Stock Exchange Competition, 1st Prize: Alejandro Aravena Architects & VAV Studio

Exterior South © Alejandro Aravena Architects

During the last few years the world has witnessed dramatic changes. Our world is no longer rural, economic models are struggling, and the centres of innovation and political power have shifted.

It is this context that explains why the recently held competition for the new Stock Exchange is relevant beyond the building. The Physical Development Research Center organized a competition between 29 top architecture firms, later narrowed down to eight after a RFQ process, who each worked with a local Iranian firm. In a country experiencing a very unique economic moment, the brief of the competition aimed to challenge the typology of the stock exchange in general, as well as factors that could alter this type to address cultural factors specific to its location. Thus, the firms were asked to look at how this program has developed throughout history while also undertaking a thorough analysis of the specifities of this project.

The jury was composed by local architects Mehdi Alizadeh, Farhad Ahmadi, Bahram Shirdel, Hossein Sheikh–Zeineddin and Nader Tehrani (MIT Head of Architecture, principal at NADAAA) as spokesperson.

Alejandro Aravena (founder of Alejandro Aravena Architects, Executive Director of ELEMENTAL) together with local office VAV Studio were selected as the winners for their artful, considered, and minimal, project; of the various proposals, it was the only project which took into consideration functions and forces, geometry and geography, and an organization that distributed its program in a field condition, evenly spreading its function to best capture, light, views, cross ventilation, as well as shade. In turn, it produces a timeless (yet fast-paced) character of the stock exchange as an institution, a building that extends broader traditions while mirroring the current state of its country.

Aravena’s entry stood out from the rest as it was conceptually distinct, aligned with the brief of the competition. Other highlights of this entry are its geometry, structural base, sensitivity to climate, and relation to its mountainous landscape, which are explained further in the architect’s description below:

A monolithic figure at a first glance, the building achieves a particular transparency thanks to the hollow blocks used on its skin, turning into a lamp that is transparent to the public.

The decision of the jury, while unanimous, is only a recommendation to the client, so we will keep you informed as the project moves forward.

Read the complete architect’s description, with renders and drawings, after the break:

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Courtesy of AIA Detroit Chapter’s Urban Priorities Committee

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