Iranian practice KA Architecture Studio has completed the Jahad Metro Plaza in Tehran, creating a new "democratic open space" around the station that is sheltered by a cluster of barrel-vaulted forms.
Located on a busy traffic intersection near central Tehran, the new entrance for the Meydan E-Jahad metro station forms part of a wider initiative to make the city more "pedestrian-oriented" after decades of car-focused development.
KA Architecture Studio also wanted to recognise the role of the metro station as an open, public space, particularly in the wake of recent protests against the oppression of women in Iran.
"The recent protest movements in Iran started from a point in Tehran's subway, and these places are the place of conflict in the metropolis of Tehran between the government and the people," KA Architecture Studio founder Mohammad Khavarian told Dezeen.
"For this reason, we thought that the primary need has changed from a simple entrance to a covered urban event space – a democratic open space," he continued.
Handmade bricks were used to construct the barrel vaulted forms that cover the station's entrance, providing a sheltered route into the station itself and a stepped seating area.
"Our strategy in this project started with the definition of a roof with free and unobstructed entry to define the space below it all day and night," explained Khavarian.
"This roof creates the definition of the space below, and due to the harsh climate of Tehran in summer and winter, it provides a place to centralise the gathering of young people and wandering citizens around the city."
To the northeast, the corner of the site has been finished with stone paving and low brick benches incorporating planting, creating a flexible space that can be used by performers, street sellers and the public.
"Currently, local peddlers and users and friendly groups are used in these spaces as a centre to gather around each other, and local musicians are also engaged in playing music that is not allowed in Iran," said Khavarian.
Since the completion of Jahad Metro Plaza, which has been shortlisted in the infrastructure and transport project category of Dezeen Awards 2023, four other station redevelopments have completed in Tehran, one of which was also designed by KA Architecture Studio.
Many architecture studios in Iran either ceased work entirely or looked to consider how the spaces they can create spaces that would serve as better democratic forums following the recent wave of protests in the country.
The photography is by Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh.