Residential Building VOID / Studio Pousti
Text description provided by the architects. Thanks to a drastic reconstruction in about 4 decades, Tehran has transformed from a city of infinite gardens with its single-family dwellings to a city of infinite buildings. This significant lifestyle change that has occurred within its urban fabric has had implications for issues such as shared ownership, privacy, security, territory, collective memory and, above all, the quality of living space. Current projects in Tehran are mainly built by developers, whose main criteria are ease of construction, convenience and cost, compromising spatial quality. This approach has shaped a metropolis without contextual roots or stories to tell. This is the current urban landscape of Tehran. The main challenge of the project is how architecture can represent alternative lifestyles, addressing the transition from single-family dwelling to apartment buildings.
VOID+ is Maryam Pousti’s first residential program. It tries to offer an alternative to the conventional models of housing and dense urban life which have resulted in closed building envelopes and without dialogue with their context. Located on an extremely tight site, VOID+ consists of 10 units on 5 floors. The striking feature of the project is an intimate void strategically carved into the north facade with the aim of engaging the building with its periphery. The mass of the void creates a vertical flow between the horizon line of the building and its feet. The main entrance is defined by the particular moment when the verticality of the void transforms into a horizontal plane that extends 20 meters along the length of the building. This horizontal platform connects the street level to the rear garden, allowing communal activities in the neighborhood.
This is about redefining the territory of the building and assimilating a single-family home that expands into its surroundings without the interference of rigid borders. The interior fittings of the building reveal a deep structural and volumetric link with the façade; a vocabulary used throughout the project. The juxtaposed volumes of the void provide playfulness through shifting perspectives and views, allowing inner and outer limits to be experienced simultaneously. The hide-and-seek between interior and exterior operates through the interplay of full and empty, defying the notions of exposure and intimacy. There are two units on each floor; making noise and privacy driving forces in the positioning of a rectangular stairwell, which acts as a buffer to prevent sound and direct eye contact between units.
Each unit revolves around an intimate balcony, perceived as an interior garden. There is an arrangement for materials and a hierarchy of finishes and textures, which celebrates the value of working with artisans. This is evident in the combed horizontal cement pattern of the facade, which also acts as a conductor of rainwater, keeping the skin of the building clean. Door handles, railings, light fixtures and cabinets have been skillfully integrated into the architectural details of the building. The collaboration with creators from different backgrounds in this project reminds us that buildings are the product of intense commitment and time.