These whimsical rammed earth domes are made from locally sourced soil, sand, gravel and stone. Even better, they’re designed to help empower the island’s community. The domes are located on the Persian Gulf island of Hormuz just south of Iran, an area known for its struggling economy despite its proximity to one of the busiest shipping regions in the Middle East. Part of the project’s goal is to leave local craftspeople and workers with valuable building skills that they can carry over to future construction projects around the island.
Part of a greater “Presence in Hormuz 2” urban development program, the rammed earth domes are known as “Majara.” Meant to match the colorful, natural topography of the island, the 10,300-square-meter village features matte tones of green, red, yellow and blue with differing shapes and sizes. The resulting cluster of domes is just as striking as its setting. At the forefront of the project is ZAV Architects, an award-winning firm based in Tehran, Iran.
The domes are built using a specialized building technique developed by Nader Khalili, a well-known architect from Iran. Though the idea is simple, the small-scale process using rammed earth and sand is well-suited for the region. Thanks to the training provided by the architects and choice to use resident workers in the construction, the technique has been passed down to whole new generation.
“Architecture has the capacity to be a mediator in the middle ground that converges the interests of different groups, from the state and investors to various classes and groups of people,” the architects said. “Majara does so in bringing together the owners of land from the neighboring port of Bandar Abbas who organize an annual landart event in Hormuz, the investors from the capital city Tehran, and the local people of Hormuz as partners in the project.”
Not only does the project inspire social change by increasing value in the area, it uses sustainable materials and human resources from Iran to stimulate the local economy. The architects added, “Presence in Hormuz is a continuous process aiming at building trust rather than architectural objects, in order to encourage the participation of local people and the inclusion of their interests in any intervention in the island.”
Images via ZAV Architects