While Iran has seen waves of great political reform–and to some, regression–over the past several decades, both the monarchy and the current republic have used architecture to shape and reflect Iranian identity, especially in its capital city, Tehran. Iranian architecture has a continuous history dating back to 5000 BC and is marked by its cosmic symbolism, inventiveness and geometric balance. During the Pahlavi dynasty, much of the architecture imitated European styles at the risk of losing specifically Persian identity. Since the revolution, architects have migrated toward modern designs fused with Iranian inspiration, particularly in the capital.
The same attention to detail that brought Persepolis to life can still be seen in contemporary Tehran architecture. And while some people may perceive Iran as a country clinging to anachronisms, these six buildings beg to differ. They embrace nature, bring in light and are changing the façade of the largest city in Western Asia: