MR. MASJED-JAMEI’S VISIT
Ahmad Masjed-Jamei visits a rehabilitation project in Lolagar Alley. The Municipality of District 11 plans to turn Nofel Loshato Street into one of Tehran’s most important streets. On Friday, January 5th Mr. Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, a member of Tehran’s city council, along with the mayor of District 11 and a number of others, visited Lolagar Alley on Nofel Loshato Street to review a rehabilitation project of a Lolagar residence. A number of recent rehabilitation projects have taken place in this area that is considered part of Tehran’s historic fabric. Urban rehabilitation projects attempt to create a dynamic connection between the historic atmosphere of an area with contemporary life, in order to allow current residents of these areas to experience the quality of life that inhabited such places in the past.
Lolagar Alley along Nofel Loshato Street is the site of one of these projects, which hosted Mr. Ahmad-Jamei and the District’s mayor yesterday. The group visited Hanna Boutique Hotel located in building number 2; a hundred-year-old house that used to belong to the Lolagar family and has now been converted into a hotel. This boutique hotel was designed and built by Persian Garden Studio. Ahmad Masjed-Jamei pointed out that there has been a recent interest in Iranian history, heritage, and culture. He continued, “When investments take place in these places it means there is a social acceptance for these projects. A return to these places is wonderful. In our contemporary architecture sometimes we see certain styles repeated over and over again. But in this alley you can see that each building has its own character, and at the same time, it is not in contradiction with the others.” He also referred to some of the municipality’s limiting rules and codes, “Some of our urban codes have prevented the development of different aesthetic tastes. There are certain patterns that are approved. The positive point about this district is that the mayor has had the wisdom to support these projects and help them from getting trapped in the bureaucratic codes of the municipality. But these are exceptions because the municipality and the Cultural Heritage Organization have not been able to reach a consensus in terms of urban planning. Therefore these projects are extremely difficult to accomplish and their success depends on the support of the district and its mayor. Hopefully these exceptional projects will lead to a context for developing common codes.” Mr. Nasrollah Abadian the mayor of District 11 added, “Given their history, most of these structures have lost their original function. We need to try and find new functions for them that meet the needs of the area. There are six buildings on Lolagar Alley that are all architecturally important. Our goal is to turn this street into one of Tehran’s most important streets within the next few years.” He also mentioned that there was a need for other similar projects in the district, “Projects like Hanna Boutique Hotel can be an energizing motor for District 11. My suggestion is to come up with incentives to attract investors to participate in other similar projects in Tehran’s historic districts.” Hanna Boutique Hotel is a dynamic place that provides residents with the opportunity to experience contemporary life in Tehran, a unique experience in different layers of a vital city.