Friday, January 21, 2011

Building Iran: a review

My mother, Faezeh Seddigh, is a very talented architect and artist. I admire her. I always have. And I always wanted to be just like her. As a child I used to hang out at her studio,where she and other architecture PhDs worked under Houshang Seyhoun's supervision. I wanted to be them. They were so much fun to be around when I was a toddler. Many of them are still my friends.

Forty years have passed since those days in Tehran and I still remember my mother vividly in the light of that space. I also remember the sparkling amber color, and the scent, of the brewed Persian tea that was served as these young architects created their designs for Iran.

Then, sometime last April, I met Talinn Grigor. She's a Professor of Fine Arts at Brandeis and a critic of Iranian architecture. When we met at an academic conference where we both gave papers in Austin, she was writing this book which is in part on the legacy left by Houshang Seyhoun in his work as an architect under the Pahlavis. I'm thrilled to have reviewed it for Iranian Studies. It is absolutely brilliant and reads like a detective story. I suggest you run out and buy it.

Talinn Grigor's Building Iran: Modernism, Architecture and National Heritage under the Pahlavi Monarchs
Grigor Review