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An aerial view of the proposed Iranian embassy in context (via rbkc.gov.uk) (click to enlarge)

In what can only be seen as a sign of the coming apocalypse, the Iranian government has proven itself to be too futuristic and modern for the citizens of London’s South Kensington neighborhood.

The Iranian government has proposed a new five-storey embassy/cultural center (including art gallery) building, designed by Daneshgar Architects in Vienna, that they hope will be built on a corner currently occupied by an open air parking lot.

According to The Telegraph:

The Islamic Republic’s proposed new embassy is expected to cost tens of millions of pounds to build and is a bold, futuristic building set among Victorian mansion blocks and Georgian terraces in west London.

Some local citizen forces are rallying against the new structure and the NIMBY neighbors are appealing to Prince “I hate modern architecture” Charles to help make their case. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has broken with normal policy and refused to post any details of the plan on its website. According to the Telegraph, “a council spokesman defended the decision not to post any details on the internet, suggesting that the same procedure was followed over the planning application for a new Israeli embassy.” The Borough website has since added more information and images.

But not everyone is against the new structure, according to the Guardian:

Today, Paul Finch, chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the government’s design watchdog, praised what he had seen of Iran’s design. “The building seems to be a statement that they are a contemporary culture rather than utterly traditionalist and it’s rather surprising and refreshing in that sense,” he said.

“It has been designed to be part of the city rather than a standalone building, such as the US embassy, which can’t be part of the city because there is no such urban fabric where it is being planned.”

I wonder if this building wouldn’t be getting the same attention if it wasn’t being built by Iran?

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

9 replies on “Iranian Architecture Scares Tony Londoners”

  1. I like it too. Modern, good massing, addresses the street and doesn’t pretend to be Ye Olde England. Seems thoroughly perfect for a world city, actually any city.

  2. I live in London, and I’m not against modern buildings, but this looks like a version of bad 1960’s modernism…something we have far too much of already. The only thing that slightly differentiates it from every other bland office block is the detached square part on the corner, which I’m afraid looks to me like the overbite of an old woman’s solitary remaining tooth. Having said that, I’m not really too bothered if they build it or not, but just think the design could have been better.

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