Hadi Teherani Interview

Villa-Dialogue - Hadi Teherani

By: Amirabbas Aboutalebi

Editor: Hanieh Farajzadeh

VILLA:  The importance of unbuilt projects for architectural practices!
«private villa residential building» in Abu Dhabi, «Villa D» in Moscow and «Lavasan Villa» in Iran are unbuilt villa projects by your architecture office. 

Hadi Teherani: Each villa is an individual solution to match a certain site, albeit first and foremost to suit a particular builder-owner who has wishes, ideas, and dreams that the architect has to ‘craft’. The property remains an expression of personal freedom, it creates a visible anchor and responsibility due to the ensuing presence in the world. That’s not an easy task, especially in the case of the villa. The solution has to be drawn up, it’s not obtainable as a copy. But that’s true of every architectural commission.

Special projects and challenges always create the basis for special solutions. But that’s the case in other areas, too, whether it’s stacked villas in a high-rise, especially communicative forms of work in an office building, or sophisticated solutions for mobility and consumption, which as a rule get more publicity than a villa whose location might not even suppose to become known in order to avoid any kind of architectural tourism.

VILLA: Villas are an ideal setting for conversations of "architectural inventions" 
The Stacked Villas project won first prize among all international participants in 2006. What was the innovation of the idea in the landscape and social spaces? 



Hadi Teherani: The idea behind the stacked villa is a fundamental improvement of residential life in the city, one that can be realized and is sensible, regardless of the location. Even the villa project that was realized 20 years ago directly next to the Alster lake, the villa I live in, unites several residential units to form a ‘house of homes’.

The “Stacked Villas” draft for Salzburg was more spectacular to the extent that the individual villas there are positioned much more freely and self-reliant. I consider those kinds of residential models to be the most exciting challenge that discriminating life at home in the future is going to face.

VILLA: The «modern villa on the Alster», is known for the connection between the landscape and the interior spaces. Can we call it a “Villa-Apartments” project?

Hadi Teherani: My residential model home4 transplants the idea of the villa into the authentic, dynamic and spontaneous urbanity of the city. The undisturbed, individualized, architecturally demanding life at home is integrated into the city’s additive molds without losing its specific character.

A synthesis of villa and city that Le Corbusier had already dreamt of, yet to this day merely the beginnings of which are demonstrated in the very few examples built. With the fourth dimension of residential life, residents’ time budget is equally turning into a topic for city planning and architecture. The politically and ecologically most controversial enactment of the villa. Because in terms of city traffic, much better than any electrically propelled car is naturally no longer needing to have any car at all. Because all the everyday destinations lie right at your doorstep.

VILLA: A two-story villa was built in 1988 in Ahrensburg inspred by bauhaus.
Could it be described as a mixture of classical aesthetic principles of interior design and modern facade architecture?

Hadi Teherani: The Bauhaus standpoints with regard to architecture, design, and art have undoubtedly made a very distinct mark on me, which is why they form significant basic points of orientation for my work as an architect and designer. On the other hand, the conditions, necessities, and expectations nowadays are inescapably different.

As with other architecturally historic developments, today the clear lines, logically consistent materials and atmospheric compositions of the classic Modern, whose origins lie give or take around a century behind us now, are only able to act as inducements, whether in an aesthetic sense, typologically, or generally speaking.

However, in light of the energy-related and ecological challenges of both our present day & age and the future, such inducements have to be completely rethought and newly implemented.

(How the Bauhaus ideals can end up as mass production with little or no thought given to it has been sufficiently illustrated to us by vulgar functionalism in the post-war era.)

That’s why the fundamental challenge of the Bauhaus lies above all in the complexity of a sustainable, ‘future-proof’ design draft and the targeted objective of using architecture to emotionally appeal to people or even stimulate them emotionally.

The villa, in Ahrensburg, doesn’t provoke. The contribution it makes is in flouting the convention of triviality in creative design and, by doing so, casting doubt on it or even denouncing it.

Back then the classic cold Modern was already facing a far more complex, three-dimensional emotionality of space that, in many cases today, actually remains exemplary.

The villa, in Ahrensburg, has to be explored and experienced down to the last nook and cranny to truly get to know it and fathom what it is. Even the historic “oriel” and “bow window” motifs can be found in this multifaceted yet equally willful composition.

VILLA: Villas vs Houses! 

Hadi Teherani: In the case of larger-scale housing projects, there is inevitably a lack of any coordinated agreement with future residents. Consequently, I orient myself in alignment with the standards I set for myself.

Each individual room has to clear the hurdle: if I were the resident, would I be content with it from A to Z? When working this way, it’s a clever move to lay out an apartment’s functionality as openly as possible so that making residents’ individual preferences possible is still an option, even when all the work on the apartment is done. Sadly, planning-law specifications leave increasingly less leeway to do this. The only way to respond to them is with participation models during the final phase of construction. Let’s say, in accordance with the old principle of the tiered plot from Le Corbusier, which can be built on in nearly any way desired, I’ve come up with solutions for that, too. But the big incentive in building a villa is located somewhere else completely. It lies particularly in abandoning every aspect of universal validity in order to create ‘something special’ for certain, and very specific, builders.

That’s where the assistance and consulting work on the part of the architect is really put to the challenge. If I could have my way in a case like that, it would be to set forth the compositional work as a designer right down to the last detail in the furnishings.


Hanieh Farajzadeh ll villanews