Though born in Tehran and remaining deeply inspired by her native Iran, architect Yasaman Esmaili has worked on projects all around the world. These primarily include humanitarian and crisis intervention works that deeply engage the local communities in which they are situated. A recent article by Metropolis Magazine discusses these projects in depth, as well as Esmaili’s story and inspirations.
After graduating from the University of Arizona with a Masters in Architecture in 2011, Esmaili worked with architect Paolo Soleri to develop digital models of buildings in Arcosanti. A formative experience, the utopian community inspired her conviction that architecture could be employed for a greater public good.
This conviction went on to motivate Esmaili’s next projects, which crossed the Atlantic in aid of communities in need in Africa and the Middle East. These included the construction of a girls’ school in Afghanistan, the development of a multifamily building prototype to remedy the housing shortage in Niger’s capital, and the creation of a mosque and secular community center in the village of Dandaji.
In the meantime, Esmaili founded her own office, called Studio Chahar. The name, which is inspired by a Farsi expression, is like her design process deeply influenced by her Iranian heritage. Under this office, she is currently working on two projects: an earthquake-resistant design for an Iranian architecture competition and a program for refugee children in the United States.