A commercial development in the centre of Tehran is designed as a ‘mega store’ by Razan Architects
Located in Tehran, Sam Pasdaran spans 15,000m2 on a narrow street of the same name. While the architects, led by CEO Navid Emami, wanted to create a building that didn’t disrupt the pedestrian experience nor views of the area, they also hoped to maximise interior commercial use and reduce traffic and overcrowding.
Acting as one large department store that refrains from branding, with essential goods sold inside like home appliances, as well as housing usual facilities including a hypermarket, gym and café, Sam Pasdaran serves as a “brand of the environment”, said Emami, and maintains a form of interaction with its urban surroundings.
“We divided the project into two parts,” he added, “and defined various types of interactions with its context. The lower part of the building interacts locally, while the upper part shows the interaction of the project with the city.”
While the building’s cascading rooftop terraces are a stand out feature of its architectural design, at the pedestrian level, the building joins the sidewalk at an inward angle.
Creating extra urban space by extending the pathway into the building’s premises, the angled entrance “gives parts of the form to the streets”, said Emami, and contributes to the street landscape.
The angled formation also gives way to a small patio, accessed by an outdoor escalator and filled with seating and tables. What would normally be a basement space is converted into a welcoming neighbourhood retreat that can be easily reached.
“Cutting the form on the southern side and forming a yard encourages people to circulate around the building. A modern supermarket with an intimate atmosphere that’s turned into a local hangout that serves only to meet the needs of the neighbourhood is a product of this formation,” Emami added.
The stepped rooftop continues the angular formation of the lower part of the building, and features a series of terraces that cover the facilities located on the roof.
For the building’s transparent southern façade, Razan Architects applied low-E glass, reducing harmful UV rays, while on the western façade, narrow window openings filter direct sunlight. The building also uses rainwater harvesting and free cooling technology, and Emami noted the façade’s white colour as another sustainable feature.
“The layout of vertical circulation in the façades reveal the interaction between urban pedestrians with those inside the project,” he added. “It happens in such a way that moving inside is thought to be a continuation of the presence of those on the street.”
Working with suppliers including Samsun DVM Chiller, Fujitec, Alum Gostar, Tanish Door and Imeni Shargh Glass, the architects used common materials including composite and steel.
“In the 1990s, the face of Tehran and the lifestyle of its middle class changed,” said Emami. “This happened with the establishment of shopping centres and malls. While they created interactions between people and the city, they led to local dilemmas, like increased traffic.
“Changing the design programme of the commercial complex to a special department store made the project a trusted urban subject on the street so that inside the building, the city is placed in the background of the goods and brands, and on the outside, the whole building is considered a conceptual showcase.”