Arak is a relatively young city, about 200 years old, with an industrial identity. Arak is mostly populated by workers and employees and therefore is an economically average or lower city. This matter has strongly influenced the architecture and urban planning of the city. Maximum building density, heavy traffic, air pollution, urban landscape inconsistencies, elimination or minimization of public and open urban spaces, a minimum amount of open, semi-open, and green building spaces, fading away of the concept of quality in architecture and urban planning, elimination of the historic and old districts of the city and the destruction of the concept of localities, the damage of neighborhoods concept and the loss of the meaning of the home as a space of human comfort and tranquility, etc. are all due to the merely economic focus and the preference of individual over collective interests in the constructions of recent decades in the city of Arak. As the affluent families are in the minority, they prefer to live the same life as the rest of the community. And if they want more facilities or qualities, considering the proximity of the city to the capital, they prefer to go to the capital and even build or buy their main houses there.
The project site is located in one of the old and relatively crowded neighborhoods of the city downtown. Adjacent to two passages on the east and north sides, one main roadway with relatively high traffic (12 meters wide) and the other is secondary and relatively quiet (8 meters wide). The old building of the site was ruined and was in the municipal reform plan. The land area before the reform was 190 square meters, which was later reduced to about 155 square meters. Therefore, the construction of a 4-story and a pilot building, which has 120 square meters substructure, taking into account the setback point and the balcony point in the 12-meter passage and 20-meter for stairs and elevators, seemed perfectly reasonable and tempting, but it did not satisfy us and the employer.
Living in an apartment was not at all what we were looking for. We were looking for a home that would give us something beyond accommodation and physical comfort. Be like what our ancestors and antecedents remember. Be memorable for kids and stimulate their enthusiasm and engage the feelings of others. Have a variety of spaces for a variety of activities. Open and semi-open spaces were very important to us. A space for children to play and have fun, as well as the presence of the element of water and sizable green spaces, and spaces for friendly get-togethers and conversations. But from the beginning, we faced fundamental challenges.
First, the project land was much smaller than what would normally meet our needs. It was not in a very good position, and in that times economic conditions (daily increase in prices under sanctions), it was not possible to change the location and characteristics of the land. Secondly, the projected budget was financed in cash, and due to inflation and rising prices, its value was declining daily, and this issue greatly affected the quality of project implementation. So we advanced with the lowest cost plan among the options, and at the same time, changes in conditions and the project facilities were implemented to maximize costs reduction.
Although the site did not have a suitable project to build a house with the aforementioned features, the presence of a tree in front of the site motivated us. This tree was the only valuable element around the site. The small size of the land allowed a large part of it to be allocated to the building and only about 30 square meters of land remained as open space. According to the legal criteria, this amount should have been allocated to green space and was a blessing in disguise.
But according to the rules and terms of construction, the building should have been provided in front of the site and the open space at the rear of it, but this was not attractive to us and made this open space less important. Therefore, during the negotiations with the municipality, we moved the open space (green) to the front of the construction site to preserve the privacy of the tree and have a better green space. Initially, we planned to pilot the building on two floors, which, although provided the required indoor space, it did not allow us to design open and semi-open spaces. Therefore, the occupancy level of the building was slightly reduced and one and a half floors were added to the building. This added space was mainly allocated to the covered terrace and a garden pit overlooking the basement, which was designed for a children's play area and a small pool.
The part of the ground floor and the first floor that was in the direction of the tree in front of the site has been removed to emphasize the tree and green space and semi-open spaces designed inside the site. Thus, the tree was located in the direction of the axis of the main spaces (open terrace of the top floor, second-floor living room, first-floor living hall, entrance, and terraces) and the main design of the facade and project volume was done tree-oriented.
Organization and Hierarchy:
The main organization of the project plan consists of two square spaces, one in the northwest and the other in the southeast of the building, and a _Γ shaped space between these two squares. The squares in the floors were allocated to the main spaces and the _Γ shaped space to the connectional space and project voids. Thus, the entrance of the building on the ground floor started from the beginning of the _Γ shaped space and after passing through the semi-open space and seeing the courtyard, the garden pit, and the tree, one can reach the main entrance of the building. Then the filter entrance space of the building, which is 6 meters high and is reminiscent of the porch (Hashti) of old houses. Finally, it should be noted that in order to emphasize the neighborhood space and its social values, the main entrance of the building is located exactly in the entrance axis of the northern neighbor building. Also, despite the existence of a more important passage on the east side, the main entrance and indoor parking are considered for the secondary passage, so that in addition to more tranquility, the traffic hierarchy and access at the city level would be observed.