DESERT ARCHITECTURE

THE ICEHOUSES OF IRAN

Of course ,everyone knows that I have a certain weak point for Iranian architecture and have a lot of respect and bow down to any architect who shows the slightest sign of this style in his work.

My great friend ,Mr Mirmiran, is one of these architects for whom I have a lot of respect as an archi- tect and a person.

I was very happy when it was decided that I should photograph his building in Rafsanjan City. I had seen it before its completion and admired it very much.

It is known that he has taken the basic idea form the structure of natural fridges in Iran and it was evident that I should photograph some of these for the Main Jury of the Aga Khan award for their information.

For those who are not familiar with the function of these fridges (rightfully so ,as they think that today’s fridges ,like hot water and fried eggs, were made by JAMSHD SHAH who discovered
fire. So, why do these all have foreign names? Probably because we Iranians like foreign names so much so that we call our sons : Gengiz, Timour ,and Alexander).

I must point out that: up until a few years ago, our fathers used to build a tall wall (as is shown in the photograph) next to which ,or in front of it, a building resembling a sugar cone
was constructed.

As our country has a continental climate ,with large temperature fluctuations – even in the sun and shade-with very cold winters (except for the last few years), the waters on the shady side of the wall froze quickly.

Labourers collected the ice and stored it in the building.
From the end of spring till the beginning of summer ,when the heat began to rise uncomfortably,the ice was taken out of storage and sold .this continued until recently ,in 1333 AH (1954 AD),when the first fridgidaire was brought to Iran .

And until then ,I too used this same sand covered ice and was very healthy too .Those were the days.

ARCHITECTURE IN THE NEGEV DESERT

Today, Desert Architecture and Urban Planning Unit, Department of Men in the Desert, J. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University Negev, Israel continues experimental research on sustainable architecture in hot and dry climate. The Adobe house is the first pilot project of the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning Unit and constructed entirely with mud bricks that were pro- duced on site from local soil. Summer night ventilation is provided via a cooling tower with a wind catcher oriented towards the prevailing wind. The living area is heated passively by direct solar gain in winter, and shaded by deciduous vines in summer. “Of particular interest is a rotating prism wall, installed in the south facade of the house’s bedroom.
The central courtyard of the Blaustein International Center for Desert Studies incorporates an evap- orative cooling tower utilizing high air temperatures and low relative humidity to create a mild indoor environment. Water sprayers and a downward blowing fan placed at top of the tower helps to achieve fast and intensive evaporation and lower the air temperature. On a typical summer day the cooling potential of the tower is approximately 950kWh/day. “The courtyard is covered by a prismatic glazing material, which acts as a seasonally-selective solar interface. In summer, when incident rays are nor- mal to the surface, most radiation is reflected – creating a broad shading canopy. In winter, low-angle sun is mostly transmitted – turning the courtyard into a solar greenhouse”.

The neighborhood of Neve Zin Residential was designed according the guidelines that were prepared by the Desert Architecture and Urban Planning Unit. Building solar rights were ensured, meaning lots are designed so that each house will benefit from direct solar gain during winter. North-south orien – tated and 2.5 meters wide pedestrian walkways are shaded by adjacent building mass during morn- ing and afternoon hours on a summer day.

RANGER’S FACILITIES IN CUZCO

TYPOLOGY-This architectural object was conceptualized as a “place” of control-management and shelter; seemingly opposing actions (quiet vs. constant rouse). That is why there are two volumes, the administrative area is the “face” and the private area go off outsider’s looks. Both relat- ed by a common entrance hall area as an inner pivot which looks as a control tower and character – izes the Ranger’s Facilities.
CLIMATE CONFORT
-Ventilation: Under hot/humid weather conditions, ventilation is the main factor on which comfort sen- sation depends. Wood made lengthy volumes and the Stack Effect (affected by atmospheric condi – tions such as temperature and wind) were considered for the design.
-Sun lighting: North-south oriented, the absorbing and transmitting heat surfaces are reduced. Windows will act as sun blocks/ parasol especially on summer time, when eaves are not enough. On the other hand, large windows surfaces reduce the energetic lighting consume.
-Air quality and smell comfort: Cesspit is sealed and located considering wind direction and other measures (human activities are considered the main source of air contamination).
CONSTRUCTIVE SYSTEM-Sustainable concept&modulated structure design had been considered.
-Wood as shihuahuaco, quinina and capirona, abundant in the surroundings and its commercializa – tion have been already regulated.
-Fiber-cement, because of its inflammable – no humidity properties;
-Polypropylene because of its insulating properties and the fact that the palm eaves are scare in the area nowadays.
SANITARY FACILITIES-Alternative rain water harvest time is really short (half a year), so the water is directly taken from the river. The cesspit and the water treatment tank could last up to 15 years minimum.
ELECTRICAL FACILITIES-The administrative office should decide the equipment according to their necessities. Solar panels were suggested.
COMMUNITY MANAGING-INVOLVING CRITERIA
The communities must have been involved in the whole process as a way to compensate their terri- tory and way of life abrupt invasion. Therefore, the training period and their carpentry skills improve- ment will lead them to apply this knowledge for better life expectations.

LOCAL COMMUNITY GENES

The fact that Camisea was designed with a specific focus on protecting the area’s unique biodiversi- ty and ensuring respect for the indigenous communities living in the Camisea surrounding areas is not precisely accurate. One will notice that the Camisea Project will have negative irreversible impacts on the biodiversity of this area and on indige- nous groups living in isolation, regardless of the implementation of the strictest mitigation measures. In the midst of these views, there was this opportunity for doing something to diminish the program execution’s failures.

I was being introduced to the Machiguenga’s and Yine’s communities I had already heard about Professor Goto’s work. Thus, this is why I will try to adapt his model to this case study, for the reason that my presence there was to gather information concerning only to the feasi – bility of the rangers’ facilities location and construction.

GENES
NATURAL: Located in the Vilcabamba Range the Machiguenga Communal Reserve presents sui genesis characteristics: various ecosystems and biological diversity.
Considered one of the 25 hot spots for the natural conservation areas on the world. TRADITIONAL: Inhabited the area for over 5,000 years, in a matrilocal pattern of residence.
Use the forest products within a mystic value and practice swidden agriculture.
The Master Plan contemplates the conservation of the natural resources of the location. COMMUNITY: Ecosystem based on symbiosis parts interaction.
Around 500 Machiguenga and Yine families organized in a self-sufficient and non violence society, which foundation is the balance of complementary functions between genders and a profound knowl- edge and respect for the forest.
URBAN: Use of some modern communication systems and keep traditional carpentry techniques for house making.
Settled around the Urubamba River and its tributaries, the Machiguenga Community have a Magic- Religious Cosmo Vision on which the Pongo de Manrique or Megatoni is the holiest site of the world.
4. Trying to define the Machiguenga Community’s GENOME
Once one have identified the chromosomes and dived into the sea of DNA to discover the very part of the gene accordingly to the tetra model: This is one of the rare cases of sustainable eco-system in which men is naturally involved, on which the self identity truly merges with the natural world and become one.