daaz office wraps a 'playful shell' around this circular school in rural iran

daaz office wraps a 'playful shell' around this circular school in rural iran

jadgal elementary school by daaz office


daaz office has completed an elementary school with a circular arrangement for seyed-bar village in iran. the project was commissioned by iran-e man, an NGO that constructs schools in disadvantaged areas of the country. the new single-story building is composed of seven volumes arrayed around a large central courtyard. the design also features a round periphery wall with random openings for children and villagers to enter and inhabit.

jadgal elementary school 10
images by deed studio



the school as a center


the first step of the project was to carry out architectural and social studies in the village and the region. in a participatory way, the needs, shortcomings, potentials, and capacities of the village and indigenous peoples were identified, themed, and prioritized. 


as a result of the initial research, the team planned the building not just as a school, but also as a community center; a place of education for children and a point of gathering and learning for everybody in the village. at present, the school also functions as a children’s play area, a place to watch movies and play football, a library, and a tourist residence.

jadgal elementary school 1



learning together


the program covers a built area of 480 sqm and it includes four elementary classes, each of which can be connected to another classroom to generate a larger space and optimize limited personnel. there’s also a library, a multifunctional hall that serves as a conference room, a workshop-cum-exam hall, and outdoor spaces for play.


the circular form of the architecture forms part of the ‘learning together’ concept–a democratic style void of hierarchical systems. the rotation of the class layout while connecting them at the corners allows for air circulation between the rooms and generates small secondary yards for group work or outdoor activities. this spatial diagram also creates the central courtyard in the middle of the school and a circular space around the classes.


a boundary wall is traditionally understood as a protector, a separator and generally stands as a masonry-built guarding device. in this project, however, the school boasts a unique location in the middle of a vast and relatively flat plain. the school wall was therefore treated as an inviting playful shell. openings within the wall are arranged so that people seated in class can see out across the plain. these openings of different sizes and shapes also provide students with various entrances into the school.

jadgal elementary school 9



by increasing the thickness of this continuous yet porous wall, some essential functions of the building such as a tuck shop, a school guard’s room, and a storeroom were housed while the main entrance was emphasized, gaining depth and inviting people inside.


in designing this school, daaz office envisioned education as a dialectic, bilateral, participatory driven concept and accordingly, the conventional school spaces that act as platforms of these ideas were transformed in this manner: transforming the school wall from ‘separator’ to a shell structure that performs as a playful skin, inviting people to gather and encouraging community culture while reinforcing communication between people. this transformation was performed in order to destroy hierarchy and strengthen culture, shining a light on the most basic meaning of going to school, which is ‘being together’.

jadgal elementary school 5



local participation


the team opted for a participation-based method of construction that would promote sustainable development and generate social, economic, and cultural infrastructures. the villagers helped realize the project by working as site laborers while families contributed financially by selling needlework. this way, the school was built by local participation and gained the goodwill of everyone in the village.


the school is managed and maintained by a team of villagers and teachers, and part of the income from tourism and needlework is spent on its maintenance. a needlework workshop and an instagram page called @banook has been set up to empower women of the village and engage them in social and economic activities.

jadgal elementary school 2



material, construction and technology


in alliance with the school renovation codes by the legislative institution and control of school construction in iran and the necessity of building earthquake-resistant structures, the school’s structure was constructed with the ICF method, insulating concrete formwork. by utilizing polystyrene panels (EPS), galvanized iron profiles, and reinforced concrete, the structure was constructed without any columns- thanks to the design’s curvilinear forms.


the final coating layer that was applied is a semi-local material consisting of cement and local soil called simgel that prevents rusting due to floods and excessive rain and creates harmony with the surrounding colors and textures. and in case of destruction or cracking, it can be easily repaired by the villagers.

jadgal elementary school 11



‘we aimed to create a school that is a nest for nurturing creativity, freedom and critical thinking,’ says daaz office. ‘the project started with an effort to change the villagers’ intellectual and social layers, empower rural women, create public participation, and turn it into a lever in building a school.’


‘finally, by challenging the political and social concept of the boundary (the wall) between free will and coercion in the presence of the school – in a society traditionally dominated by tyranny – it was able to overwhelm the mental majority of most villagers – who initially opposed the construction of the wall and make the school the center of the neighborhood and gathering of all residents. an exercise to influence architecture in the transition to democracy.’



jadgal elementary school 8





project info:


name: jadgal elementary school

program: school

location: seyed-bar village, sistan & baloochestan province, iran

client: iran-e man organization
architecture: daaz office

lead architect: arash aliabadi

project architects: mahsa hosseini, nazanin mojahed

social facilitator: mina kamran

structure design: a. giahi

project manager: mehran goodarzyar

contractor: a. noghrehkar

mechanical & electrical: a. delavar

built area: 480 sqm

total area: 1,100 sqm

construction period: 2017-2020

photography: deed studio


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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