International fashion, like modern architecture, is successful to the degree that it unites global elements of design and style with the most personal and local conditions of culture: every garment ultimately clothes an individual, every building ultimately occupies a specific site.
A brick masonry street-wall is established as the maximum perimeter of the building at sidewalk level. This respects the local form of the street and materiality of traditional Teheran construction, and provides space within the footprint for an open, accessible courtyard. The courtyard, based on an eight-sided star, is the window into the retail spaces on the first and second floors. The retail spaces are entered from the courtyard, while the office elevator lobby and café can be entered from the courtyard, or directly from Vali Asr. The courtyard volume opens to the sky, rotating and expanding as it rises past the retail zone, the offices above, and finally the residential floors at the upper levels. As the courtyard geometry blossoms outward, the star form is allowed to cut large openings in the masonry skin and finally to carve away at the exterior volume revealing the dynamic process at work inside and its crystalline structure. The highest, most slender masses remaining at the top of the building function as urban-scale, inward-facing, display vitrines. As the courtyard expands, ample space for terraced plantings is provided at each setback, creating a rich and introspective environment that can be experienced by shoppers, visitors, employees and residents alike. The plantings culminate in a densely vegetated roof to insulate the top floors and contribute to the passive cooling effects of the green terraces.Benetton would occupy the structure in a myriad of innovate ways. The retail spaces would present a modest and controlled, but irresistible, face to the street—hinting at the rich spatial and environmental quality of the interior. The Benetton office spaces, while getting glimpses of the neighborhood through the building’s outer shell would have generous views down to the retail and display areas they support. Above the offices, the residential units offer an opportunity for management as well as Benetton visitors to have efficient and distinctive living spaces in a great location.Without resorting to large-scale signage and literal advertising, the iconic form and internal draw of the architecture itself would fashion Benetton’s unique Teheran identity.