architecture: public buildings

Azadi cinema complex

Tehran, Iran

Multiplex of seven 2500-seats theaters, commercial center, business center, and exhibition gallery
Surface: 16 000 m²
Parking: Underground levels
Client: Institute for Development of Cultural Centers (SOUREH AZADI)
Award: International Competition: First prize
Conception: 1998-2000

Stefan Dobrev, Gérard Pierre and Amir Anoushfar Associated Architects

The eye, the vision, the cinema, the dream.
One eye open on the world
One eye open to the sky...

Intended to regularly host film festivals and exhibitions, the New Azadi Cinema Center was designed as a single unit made of the contrast and combination of two distinct elements: the first suggests the shape of an amphitheater with its leveled rows of seats and links the building to its surroundings while the second consists of a giant cylindrical screen that rises in the middle of the structure. This latter element faces out towards the city and represents the quintessence of 20th spectacle – the Cinema.
The upper part of the screen contains a multipurpose exhibition room that opens like an eye to the sky above. With its glass wall, the base extends out towards the city as if to welcome the public. A shopping gallery divides the building and separates the cinema complex from the commercial center. The two are nevertheless visually linked through a large atrium that allows a great amount of light to reach the heart of the building. A vast round piazza has also been created at this junction and serves as the entrance for the two lower shopping levels.