Unhiding The Hidden Portrait Of Pahlavi Women Builders In Sketching The Iranian Modernity: A Reassessment Of The Congress Of Women Architects

Baharak TABIBI


Throughout the Pahlavi era, the paradigm shift that took place in both the manifestation of high-culture and of state-feminism was not coincidental. They were both integral to the same ideological agenda: that of modernity itself. Both provided a concrete form of emerging political ideas under the two Pahlavi monarchs, Reza Shah and his successor Mohammad Reza Shah. And, both were instruments in promoting the state posture and acted in the service of the government. While both enjoyed imperial patronage, the features they jointly characterized were embodied in the shahbanu of Iran, Farah Pahlavi and her entourage, a group of well-educated women, in artistic and architectural arena. The shahbanu’s power was exemplified by her part in a highly legal event of coronation ceremony at which she was not only announced as the first officially crowned queen in the Iranian history, but also as an ultimate model of emancipated woman vested with legal authority in all affairs of the state. Studied architecture, as a queen regent, the shahbanu was in the position to implement the state’s cultural agenda during the last decade of the Iranian Monarchy.Patronizing various national and international architectural events, the idea for a congress devoted to female architects was a remarkable act, affirming gender equality and women representation in constructing modern Iran and its architecture. A decade preceding the Islamic Revolution, accordingly, can be defined by the epitomization of high-culture and feminism as the ultimate signifiers of a utopian modernity, wherein women builders came to play their substantial role through the fully crystalized apparatus of culture; this made the relationship between politics and its architectural expression an imperative one.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2021.1.5


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