Bridges are close to the heart of Iranian identity. Isfahan, Iran’s top tourist destination and a former capital of Persia, boasts two spectacular bridges from the 16th century Safavid dynasty when the city was at the centre of Islamic art and culture.
After a brutal siege shattered that golden age in the early 18th century, new rulers eventually moved the capital to Tehran, leaving Isfahan to languish as a provincial backwater, which not incidentally left many of the old city’s monuments intact. “One could explore for months without coming to an end of them,” marveled British traveler Robert Byron on his 1933-34 journey across Asia. That artistry, he wrote in The Road to Oxiana, “ranks Isfahan among those rarer places, like Athens or Rome, which are the common refreshment of humanity.”
So it is no surprise that a new hi-tech award-winning structure has appeared in the Iranian capital, Tehran. What is a surprise is that it was designed by a young woman.
The bridge was designed by Leila Araghian and Alireza Behzadi/ Diba Tensile Architecture. It has won several awards, including the Popular Choice Prize for Highways & Bridges from the Architizer A+ Awards, a global architectural competition based in New York.