Project team:

Client: Shiraz University, Department of Construction
Design and implementation: Sheed Lighting Eng. Co.;
Project manager: Afshin Kasaeian
Architectural design and lighting concept: Arash Okhovat
Technical analysis for lighting and electrical systems: Afshin Kasaeian/Morteza Fouladgar
Project team members: Farshad Ghodoussipour, Omidreza Asfa, Mahdi Heidari

11. Feb 2015

Shadow patterns

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Sheed Lighting Company

It would not be exaggerating to claim that Iranian gardens reflect a great deal about Iranian art and literature. Without wanting to go too deeply into how valid this claim is, this report will focus on the relationship between the “sense of place” of Iranian gardens, Iranian artists, and the imagination of the viewer. The main or one of the major elements of the sense of place is the sun and shadow patterns generated when sunlight is filtered through foliage.

Fervent but modest, the sun is a key actress in Iranian art and culture, particularly Iranian architecture. It governs our entire life, like the air and atmosphere, and is thus taken for granted. It seems that the sun for all ist brightness is a subconscious part of Iranian architecture. Apart from its climatic effects, sunlight reveals high contrast images of architectural volumes, which in turn heightens the enthusiasm and fascination for the Iranian architecture therein. The sun is also the key actress in Iranian gardens. Regardless of its environmental dependence on the sun, the Iranian garden owes much of its sense of place or identity to the light of the sun. The burning sun on the Iranian Plateau very rarely penetrates Iranian architectural spaces or places without some form of solar control or protection. Its rays always beam down through wooden, plaster, stone or brick perforated screens or through stained glass. In Iranian gardens the sun penetrates the spaces through natural screens, namely foliage. By filtering through these natural and artificial screens it appears that the sun’s rays gain a new kind of identity, or a sense of belonging. Eram Garden in Shiraz, though a famous and typical Iranian garden, is probably not the best. The sense of place felt in this garden cannot be compared to the extraordinary and overwhelming sense of place felt in Fin Garden in Kashan or in Shazdeh Garden in Kerman. And yet Eram Garden does have its own peculiar sense of place, which refers very much to the memories and identity of Shiraz as a city. In addition to its plant diversity, the fragrant scent of oranges in the garden, and the warmth of the Shiraz people, Eram Garden owes much of its special character to the sun and the wealth of shadow patterns created on the paths and grassed areas as the sun filters through the leaves on the trees and bushes. The effect provokes the viewer’s imagination, and inspires contemplation on all levels. The carpet of shadows changes continuously, sometimes by the second, and varies from season to season. The dynamic shadow effects make for the most important feature in the garden’s identity. At night, however, when the sun has set, this feature disappears completely and the garden loses a significant part of its spatial identity and its sense of place. Modern society also calls for landscaped parks and gardens after dark.[…]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 96

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