Change is the shared inevitable condition of all things. In the case of buildings, this can be the result of environmental forces, societal or aesthetic change, or as with this project, economic improvement. Mr. Alizadeh’s business, the Toumar Restaurant in Urmia, Iran, was growing and he requested that I design a space to accommodate this increase in business and customer traffic.
The principal challenge for this project was to incorporate both traditional materials and forms as well as to create a building with a distinctly modern feel. The masonry bricks, with their natural textural variability and prevalence in ancient Iranian architecture, were to be one of the dominant materials. In addition, diamond patterns are a common motif in Iran and so I chose to use this shape as the guiding principle for the design, incorporating it both formally and as a pattern.
More modern materials, such as plate glass and steel, and modern forms like open spaces, a clear connection between interior and exterior, large cantilevers, and open-riser stairs were included to provide a balanced counterweight to the traditional aspects of the design.
As the project progressed, however, a shortage of skilled local labor, as well as budget constraints, forced a significant redesign. Both versions are presented here.