In Dehkhoda Dictionary, the reference word the word مُد (mode) reads: the temporary way or method which controls lifestyle and so on in accordance with the taste and interest of people at the time. Also the term از مد افتادن (become outdated) is equivalent of getting abandoned and obsolete, becoming decrepit and out-of-fashion. The term کلیشه“cliché” also entered the verbal and written literature of Iranians from printing industry. In Amid’s Persian Dictionary, it is written for the entry “cliché”: a writing or image copied from the original sample for printing on wood or metal. The words “باسمه (print, fabrication)” and “ باسمه ای (printed, fabricated)” which are currently used in Persian have entered the language from the same field. Therefore, it might be needless to say that the word “mode” in the present article is not equivalent of style and has a different meaning. Around 15-20 years ago, Iran’s architecture at academic and professional level was under influence of postmodernism. During those years, historicism and return to historical roots was the fashion, and, major portion of preliminary studies in any project was devoted to analysis of past architecture of the region and investigation of similar historical cases so as to obtain principal designing ideas with their help.
The architecture formed based on the respective postmodernist mode consisted of a handful of formal clichés. The main source of extracting these clichés was historical architectural monuments some of which were used in the new works similar to the printing mechanism. The reference historical cases had, and still have, robust and successful presence in their original context and fabric. Yet, their clichéd usage in new works totally lacks the primary strength and authenticity.
In fact, constituents of any architectural mode are the same formal clichés which enforce themselves on architecture in the form of premade packages, whereas in artistic works, not only the form is placed in the framework of a coordinated form system but also it shall come out of conditions and requirements of the work itself not from somewhere else.
Nevertheless, the postmodernism also demised like any other mode and the associated constructed works were outdated. It is worth noting that the primitive idea of this mode, in spite of implying to historicism and internalism, was first popularized in Europe and USA and then obeyed by Iranian architects as an expected habit.
This fact also holds with regard to the subsequent modes that prevailed in the contemporary Iranian architecture. In other words, while we were imagining such modes as the bottom-line of the world architecture, they were and are treated as limited and experimental single-case experiences in the western world. Following postmodernism, deconstruction became the mode of architecture. Some of formal clichés included interference and overlapping of two non-parallel networks, use of sharp and acute angles instead of right angles, interference of different architectural elements, tilting of architecture elements such as window and entrance door. Tilting is regarded among the essential components of this architecture language. Tendency toward deconstructivist formal language was first detected among some of elites as both postmodernist and deconstructivist orientations were seen in a bunch of works in the building architecture contest of Culture Houses. Afterwards, a torrent of acute and sharp angles as well as crooked and tilted windows and views loomed in student projects. And then, market-oriented and low-level deconstructivist facades emerged in hamburger stands with tilted window and entrance door as well as in residential and organizational buildings having a diagonal line drawn on their facades.
Another characteristic of architectural modes in Iran is that they are normally initiated by the elites and then turn into student epidemics and finally end up in imitative works of ordinary people. Unfortunately, the level of works tends to decline with further progress of this trend, and generally, a decorative external finish is the only outcome of general public’s works.
It must be also mentioned that the deconstructivism and postmodernism founders in the west used to explain their works with the aid of certain philosophical and theoretical principles but reflection of those theoretical principles was mainly downgraded to formal clichés in Iran. It is convenient now to refer to an architect whose name has been extensively heard along with deconstructivism: Peter Eisenman. In analysis of this architect’s works, it can be found that his architectural works seem deconstructivist only within a 6-7 year juncture (around mid-1980s up to early 1990s) of his professional life spanning over 40 years. Yet, Eisenman exhibited absolutely different formal tendencies in his later works i.e. he left aside that mode.
In his two last speeches in the World Congress of Architects in Berlin (2002) and Istanbul (2005), he implicitly and in some cases explicitly criticized and rejected his former approaches during those years. Obviously, the style once presumed in Iran as the last word of architecture was merely an ephemeral and temporary experience for Eisenman personally.
Folding was another instance of architecture mode in Iran during the recent years, particularly in academic milieu. The bending and folding of different surfaces and volumes onto each other is among the attributes of the respective form style, in some cases inspired by the folded Möbius strip (a surface or volume which bends and lies on itself again).
One of the preponderant form clichés in this framework was stretching of wavy and folded surface on different architectural elements. The wavy surface, frequently made of glass, tends to cover the elements and different parts of the project like a blanket.
Another cliché is elongated and strip-like surfaces either passing in parallel through the project or generating wavy strips by some fluctuations relative to one another. Placement of wavy strip on the view is in the same scope and degrades to two-dimensional wavy lines in some works.
The continuous surface generated based on repetitive rotation of a surface is another branch of recent form styles.
In the projects designed with this method, the space floors bend like a sheet and merge with the wall and then fold again and form the ceiling. Therefore, floor, walls and ceilings are formed via bending of a single surface. Curtain walls are positioned in the spacing between these continuous surfaces. Such working technique is seen during the last 2-3 years in academic projects more than anywhere else.
However, this architecture mode is also currently in its deathbed (in other words, outdated) but is it the last architecture phenomenon imported to Iran that turns into a fashion? Shall we again consider any laboratory experience proposed within pages of prominent architecture journals as the brand-new style of world architecture?
Peter Eisenman addressed the students and architects in the World Congress of Architects in Istanbul (2005): the matter is that we are being suffocated by portrayal and the computer-fanatics exceedingly use novel computer programs day to day in order to create attractive portraying images whereas there is no social goal. There is no idea but change; no idea but from nothing to nothing; and when something comes from nothing, it can return to nothing too. And I believe we are moving along a slippery slope toward nothing and that is the reason why I am talking to you all because I’ve realized that I am a part of the last game. These are the last autographs that I shall sign.
I think if you are to take something from here, those things are not monographs and photos. I think you should cast away all these cameras and cellphones and so on because you are consuming and the reason for my serious speech is the fact that I am opposed to your consumption. I am against your consumption of architecture portrayals and images and stars.
My advice is: let’s think again about architecture language because it is not only the change but the change to reach the goal; not the same as social objectives of modernism because everything has changed and there are also other things requiring social goals as an evidence for such concerns.