Development of Qualitative Measures for Assessing the Architectural-Structural Interaction for Iranian Contemporary Architecture

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Architecture, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran

2 Department of architecture, Faculty of architecture and urban planning, Art university of Isfahan

3 Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Isfahan University of Art, Isfahan, Iran


The structural engineering science is currently serving as an isolated discipline in the buildings design process rather than working in cooperation with the architectural form. In some cases, the non-interacting structure is dominating the architectural form. In the other cases, the architectural visual aspects have excellence and superiority over the structure. In most of the latter cases, the embedded structure is decorated with the historical elements. In general, the separation between the architectural and the structural disciplines can give rise to the educated engineers who do not have neither comprehensive knowledge nor realistic insight towards design of buildings. From the architectural point of view that will eventually cause unstable, awkward and not worthwhile buildings. From the structural point of view that will cause inefficiency in consumable materials, design complexity and the structural performance. Although the relationship between the architectural form and the structure has been pointed in some literatures; however, development of the measures and criteria for the interaction between between the architectural form and the structure is not deeply discussed so far. This research paper intends to bridge the gap between the architectural form and the structural performance aiming to improve the Iranian contemporary architecture in terms of the architectural-structural interaction. We develop necessary criteria for evaluating such interaction via scrutinizing some case studies from the Iranian contemporary architecture. We firstly characterize buildings based on architectural-structural relationships into three categories including “the symbolized structure within the architectural form”, “the compatible structure with the architectural form” and “the ignored structure with respect to the architectural form” categories. Secondly, we present a specific definition for the architectural-structural interaction in which accounts for both architectural and structural demands and performances. We also develop the qualitative parameters for the architectural-structural relationship. These parameters are “the form participation in higher structural efficiency”, “the integrity in the expression of structural elements and optimal structural performance”, “understanding the behavior of the structure in the architectural form”, “appropriateness of the structure with the conceptual and structural requirements” and “appropriateness of the form with structural requirements (time, economy, and qualitative considerations)”. Afterwards, we develop evaluation criteria accounting for the defined parameters and then analyze some case studies taken from the Iranian contemporary architecture include: Isfahan mosalla, Azadi tower and Al-ghadir mosque. Finally, we suggest some remedy measures to fill the gap between the architectural form and the structural performance. They include but not limited to “the effective training of the designers and architectural students in order to have better insights towards the structural performance”, “the joint cooperation between architects and structural engineers during different stages of the design process”, “avoiding pure formal copies of famous design elements in Islamic architecture and trying to adopt it with the modern structures”, “considering equal priorities for visual aspects of the architectural form and the structural demands in architectural design process”, “systematic approach to use decorations in design of the architectural form and the structure” and “avoiding structural elements only for showing off the advances in technology”.


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