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Living in Tehran

Tehran is a metropolis with around 9 million inhabitants. Six-lane highways through the city are not enough to avoid rush hour traffic congestion for hours. In this dense city filled with apartments, a freestanding villa with a raised garden is very unusual. We designed this villa as a retreat: a place where one can relax when returning home from a busy day in a crowded city.

Exclusive high end villa with 4 floors

This 1400 m2 high end villa is located in a steep mountainous area. The garden is raised 7 meters above the lower street level. The villa has 2 underground floors and 2 floors above ground. The lowest floor is at the level of the lower street, where the garage can be reached via a 20 meters long tunnel. For a refreshing experience, the visitors enter the villa through the garden. This walk also provides panoramic views towards the city.

Inner garden with holiday feeling

The heart of the house is designed as a 28 m2 inner garden, inspired by vernacular courtyard houses. The inner garden is filled with palm trees to give a holiday feeling and creating a relaxing atmosphere.

Persian vernacular architecture

The design of the Inner Garden Villa was inspired by the traditional Persian architecture, mainly the configuration of the courtyard houses and their microclimatic effect. These houses are designed around a courtyard, where the functions of the surrounding rooms can change during the seasons, so as to get the best balance between the rooms' climatic conditions and their use.

Retractable glass roof

The glass void, a retractable glass roof and a partly glass floor guarantee that light can permeate deeply into the building - including in the basement. The sliding roof and sliding doors can let the fresh air into the rooms when desired.

Retractable insulated roof

A second insulated sliding roof protects the house from hot summers (sometimes reaching +40 degrees Celsius). Similar to courtyard houses typology, the inner garden functions as an intimate private space with a pleasant micro-climate.

More Persian influences

Coloured glass blocks are used in the floor of the courtyard to let light into the basement. Inspired by mosaic patterns found in Persian architecture, it can create a special ambience into the wellness area underneath. Purity and hygiene were very important themes during the design development, which have been considered in the design details to facilitate cleaning and to ensure a fixed sequence of different spaces (entering a corridor, then a changing room, then entering the showers) in the wellness area before entering the swimming pool, whose design is inspired by Persian hammam spas (public baths).

Mountain facade

The facade is cladded with natural travertine stone: a material which comes directly from the mountains in Iran.


I am Sama, an Iranian architect, living in Holland and working at 123DV. I never imagined traveling all the way to The Netherlands ending up working on a project in my home town. It is exciting to deal with cultural aspects, climatic features, and local building techniques which are familiar to me and new to 123DV



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