iwan : liminal shade
I was always fascinated by architecture as space to live, meaning; a work space, a living space and a leisure space. Having spent much of my childhood in gardens, I enjoyed the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. My life would shift from the inside to the outside of the house from summer to winter. The transitional space in between is called the Iwan (covered terrace); an Iranian architectural element characterized by a 5-sided cube opening to the garden on its one open side.
The house I grew up in was spacious; open to light in the winters and shaded by Venetian blinds in the summer. Substituting cotton, the iwan had reed curtains, adding to the daily play of shadows in the garden.
As one of the major informants of my ideas behind an “Architecture of Shade”, the iwan (pronounce, “ey-va:n”) is an important element of traditional Iranian architecture. They are seen not only in homes, but also religious architecture. It is as standard as the front porch or a stoop, but can be far more elaborate. In its simplest form, it provides a path of shadows throughout the day which one can escape to from the sun, while remaining connected to the outdoors.