Leila Araghian designed the Tabiat Bridge in Tehran

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Leila Araghian's Tabiat Bridge creates new public space for pedestrians in Tehran

An assortment of different pathways encourage pedestrians to "wander and get lost" on this bridge in Tehran, designed by Iranian architect Leila Araghian (+ slideshow).

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

Araghian's studio Diba Tensile Architecture completed the 270-metre-long Tabiat Bridge at the end of 2014, five years after winning a design competition.

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

It is currently the largest pedestrian bridge in Iran, connecting Abo Atash Park on the west to Taleghani Park on the east, across a busy highway.

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

The structure comprises three levels that follow a curved path, and which are connected by various ramps and stairs.

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"From the very beginning the concept was to have a spatial structure large enough to create an architectural space, while at the same time acting as the structure," explained Araghian, who was just 26 years old when she designed the bridge.

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

"It is intended to be a place to linger rather than just one to pass through, and to act as an extension of the parks."

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Tabiat Bridge is located in a northern area of Tehran known as Abbas Abad, which was originally planned as a housing area for various branches of the military, but has become a destination for libraries and museums.

The bridge has a bulky, steel truss structure that gives it a weighty appearance on the skyline. Multi-branch columns, designed to look like trees, provide support.

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

The wooden decks follow a gentle S-shaped path, to "create a sense of mystery about the destination", and the widths vary from six to 13 metres.

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"There are multiple routes from one point to the other, encouraging pedestrians to wander and get lost on this bridge," added Araghian.

Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran

The bridge is one of numerous new public infrastructure projects spearheaded by Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who is reported to have invested greatly in improving the city's environment.

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This, coupled with the gradual lifting of economic sanctions, is paving the way for a generation of young architects to find work both in the city and abroad. For example, a pair of Iranian architects recently won a competition to design a support centre for lung cancer sufferers in Poland.

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Other recent examples of contemporary architecture in Iran include an apartment block with pigeonhole-style windows and a house with a shape-shifting facade.

Photography is by Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh.


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Project credits:

Architecture: Diba Tensile Architecture
Architect in charge: Leila Araghian
Architectural team: Alireza Behzadi, Sahar Yasaei, Homa Soleimani, Mina Nikoukalam
Structural engineer: Maffeis Engineering

Diagrams of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Concept diagrams – click for larger image
Level one plan of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Level one plan – click for larger image
Level two plan of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Level two plan – click for larger image
Level three plan of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Level three plan – click for larger image
Section aa of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Section AA – click for larger image
Section bb of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Section BB – click for larger image
Section cc of Tabiat Bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture in Tehran, Iran
Section CC – click for larger image