this perched holiday home in rural iran celebrates slowness & oblique living

this perched holiday home in rural iran celebrates slowness & oblique living


the igol house nods to the multiciplicity of the persian garden


on a steep hill in the iranian village of igol, architect nasim razavian has built a charming holiday home for a pair of hikers. the building, partially cantilevered to reduce footprint, sits as a white volume floating over two upper terraces and reaching the tall sepidar trees in the neighboring northern plot.


holidays are a time when work and tensions of everyday are suspended. the design of the igol house celebrates this state through the prolongation of time, creating a hymn to slowness. reflecting that concept and inspired by the poetic multiplicity of persian gardens, razavian transformed the existing terraces into a polyphonic and layered landscape design. moreover, in light of a cemetery facing the plot, she choreographed the project to activate the joyful relativity between the human body, gravity, and obliqueness.

igol house 1
image © nasim razavian



for many years now, the village’s mountains have been deformed by terrible excavations. when razavian’s clients bought the plot for the igol house, it held nine terraces built on a steep slope — but these terraces had destroyed the gardens that once occupied the site. her clients have attempted to excavate these terraces, causing an unfortunate landslide of the adjacent plots. therefore, the architect avoided excavation and, when necessary, added soil matter to the existing terraces, turning them into a cultivable base. as a result, after enough extension and adjustment, the nine plots have now become layered gardens with multiple functions.


this new plot design nods to ‘pardis’ (پردیس), the persian garden celebrated as an earthen paradise and re-imagined over centuries in multiple forms. we wanted to respond to that multiplicity of ideas; the design thus superimposes multiple materializations of the garden through different layers—both material and ideological layers,’ razavian explains. owners get to enjoy a fruit and vegetable plot on one layer, and an aroma space on the other; a swimming pool at one level and a reflective water stream on another. the layered landscape also holds a socializing area that ultimately unfolds into a private space; it activates movement while stimulating stillness. and so on. 

igol house 2
image © nasim razavian



resisting gravity & exploring the potential of the oblique 


due to the steep slope and the plot’s narrow and changing width, the building becomes a threshold that detaches and links the front and rear gardens. to access the house, one has to pass through the frontal gardens by either climbing the stairs or taking an inclined outdoor lift. the lift is suspended on an oblique green strip which has replaced the steep, slippery and damaged outdoor stone stairs built by previous owners years ago. the experience of traveling with this lift is, according to razavian, a celebration of the slope and its obliqueness.


indeed, placing the igol house on top of the slope evokes potential in the oblique and resistance against gravity, a very fitting approach for the clients who are avid hikers. for instance, the outdoor lift’s oblique movement and suspension on a green strip, moving slowly between the polyphonic layered gardens, and the outdoor staircases playful change of directions, remind of gravity’s existence while also activating play, curiosity, and wonder. ‘the design of igol house and its layered gardens introduces a form of a living which is neither horizontal nor vertical but both, or what exists between the two: an oblique living,’ states the architect. 





embracing slowness & fluidity through a crafted home design


the igol house features three floors. each one operates autonomously as it holds unique dialogues with the outdoors, presumes different sets of activities, and activates certain sensations and modes. together, these levels enable a polyphonic assemblage. the main entrance on the ground floor holds an art studio for one of the clients. the first floor hosts a bedroom, balcony, bathroom, and multifunctional room, while the second level accommodates a living area and balcony. moreover, access is given to the rear layered gardens from the first and second floor, inviting the new landscape into the house by weaving the interiors and exteriors through open movement.


elevating that interior flow is a strong focus on craftsmanship and materiality. the previous owners used local green tuff stone to construct the terrace facades, the boundary walls, and steep stairs. these stones are either repurposed or replaced in razavian’s plot extensions and renovation. moreover, the concrete used in the garden design is cast in rough-textured recycled wood to record the passage of time, provide more friction, and avoid slippage. ribbed material is also used for a streamlet passing through one of the rear gardens to helps intensify the sound of water while stimulating the growth of new life forms, like moss and algae.

this perched holiday home in rural iran celebrates slowness & oblique living
image © nasim razavian



one of the last remaining local blacksmiths crafted the door and window frames of the house. at the same time, the art studio’s flooring tiles are developed in collaboration with the artist of the house and a local ceramist. razavian has also designed multifunctional furniture hiding the fan coil units of the house while also serving as a kitchen table, cupboard, storage, drawer, or an elevated floor. 


returning to the concept of slowness, razavian has explored several architectural operations that activate that sensation. for example, the small windows on the northern side capture the slow movement of the sepidar trees’ trunks, branches, and leaves. similarly, the rooftop, set as a white surface floating in its surrounding, provides a panoramic view of the enchantingly still landscape and celebrates the sense of joyful vertigo that the owners, being hikers, are familiar with.

igol house 3
image © deed studio

igol house 5
image © deed studio

igol house 6
image © deed studio





image © deed studio
image © deed studio
image © nasim razavian
image © nasim razavian
architectural drawings
architectural drawings

project info:


name: igol house

location: igol, iran

plot area: 268 sqm

built area: 195 sqm

architecture: nasim razavian – studio ilinx
photography: deed studio, nasim razavian 




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: lea zeitoun | designboom


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