Heritage in the everyday
Housing and collective identity before 1979
in Development, architecture, and the formation of heritage in late twentieth-century Iran
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This chapter focusses on model housing design as one of the tangible outcomes of the architectural congresses. Focussing on Kamran Diba’s Shushtar Now housing project, the chapter examines it as an opportunity for introducing interpretations of the past into the design of contemporary housing in the developmental context of Iran. This was inherently a heritage process, one with rich visual and corporeal expressions but also with intangible social aspirations. The chapter performs a close reading of the design and its origins – Shushtar Now was informed by international experiences elsewhere – through the critical concepts introduced in the previous chapters and referring to the development–design–heritage nexus. Discussing the function of the image, the project is seen in terms of an assemblage of nostalgic images, suggesting how nostalgia has been positively utilized towards mitigating the cultural effects of development as well as the formation of identities through place. The chapter also discusses the experience of Shushtar Now through empirical fieldwork conducted with the participation of residents in 2015. It is suggested that the complex fosters a sense of experiential authenticity, by which residents perceive and experience the place in relation to their traditions regardless of it being a new development.

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