Canvassing a future
The international congresses of architecture in Iran and the transnational search for identity
in Development, architecture, and the formation of heritage in late twentieth-century Iran
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This chapter examines the content and consequences of international exchanges and debates that took place under the aegis of three architectural congresses held in Iran between 1970 and 1976. It provides the international context for the congresses, showing their relationship to the of global discourses of their time. The congresses facilitated the circulation of global ideas into Iran but also became a catalyst for propelling new approaches and thoughts back onto the global stage. The topics of discussion, revolving around tropes of tradition, the vernacular, and their contemporary relevance, indicate official Iranian concerns for reconciling development and culture. They also suggest a genuine quest for identity, based on an acute awareness of the role of heritage. The chapter presents the relevant debates, their international context, and their critical reception in Iran. It also examines some of their outcomes, such as the Habitat Bill of Rights, which clearly indicates the Iranian contribution to the global scene, a contribution that was prompted by development in the first place. The ideas discussed through these congresses formed the bedrock of architectural thought and production before and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. They appear in the examples discussed in the following chapters.

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