Iranian architects fight to save Gio Ponti villa from bulldozers

The Guardian- Replacing Villa Namazee in Tehran with hotel reflects country’s indifference to its contemporary heritage, say campaigners

A villa in northern Tehran designed by Gio Ponti is to be demolished and replaced by a five-star hotel, prompting outrage over the fate of the only intact building by the Italian architect in the Middle East.

Built in the early 1960s in the wealthy Niavaran district, the Villa Namazee was previously listed as a national treasure. But a court decision has given its current owner permission to delist it, paving the way for the construction of a 20-storey hotel.

The prospect has touched a nerve among the country’s architects, prompting them to fight to save the building. Namazee was the last to be built of Ponti’s three famous villas, which greatly inspired a number of architects, including the late Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid. The other two, Villa Planchart and Villa Arreaza, are in Caracas, Venezuela.


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