during the early 1960’s, the aabaan women’s social rehabilitation center in iran was established as a means to settle migrants living in slums into 84 sqm lots. after an invitation from the women’s rehabilitation NGO to transform this former residential building into a ‘kitchen’, tehran-based MAAN architecture studio started its work. two parallel approaches were defined regarding various aspects of the project: firstly, encountering an isolated building and fulfilling its basic needs with a very modest budget and second, the impact of the building in a larger scale such as townscape.



in a social context where visual pollution was part of everyday life, a white façade was the manifestation of a protest against the current situation, an act of purification that sought to have an impact beyond the physical boundaries of the building. however, a third aspect which revealed itself during the design process was the analogy of working women in such social fabric with the impact of the building’s manifested puritanism. MAAN studio proposed an alternative way of living and presence for women in such a problematic context.



the interior remodeling was formed in multiple stages: from basic requirements (sewage, water, gas and HVAC, roof insulation and natural light as well as meeting the hygiene codes and standards required by authorities) to aesthetic aspects of design. the former consumed the principal part of the total budget which was less than 8000 USD. the design team applied a strategic management approach in order to stay within the limited available resources while following strict priorities. time schedule was another issue to tackle: the whole process of design and remodeling had to be done in 60 days which favored easy and fast methods. on the other hand, the 50 year old masonry structure of the building made any interference difficult. in order to empower the local workforce, many of them were hired during the construction phase.

the table is the focal point of this room providing everyone a quick access to it with a slight turn to kitchen triangle, i.e. gas cooker, washing sinks and the fridge



MAAN studio prepared a proposal for remodeling and improving the façades of other old single story houses of the area in order to increase the social participation and sense of belonging. the plan is based on three layers: the first one is the office area where activities like orders, customer services, accounting and sales management take place. this layer is in direct connection to the entrance and separates the clients from the food preparation area which has more strict hygiene codes. the second layer is service area which includes restrooms and a locker room. 



the third is the working area in which food preparation and cooking take place. the openings in the ceiling provide the space with more natural light and minimize the use of artificial light. it also works as a chimney for natural ventilation and proved to be a more sustainable and more economical solution. in this project the design team aimed at facilitating social change with minimum costs through empowering women and celebrating their presence as productive members of society. this modest example of local development seeks to increase social participation and sense of belonging.

the pre-existing façade



project info:


project name: aabaan kitchen
architects: maan studio
contact e-mail: [email protected]
design team: majid zamani – mohadeseh younessi – ali ghoroghi – hamed karami – hamid karami
project location: tehran – iran
completion year: 2016
gross built area (square meters): 84 sqm
construction: maan studio – majid zamani – ali ghoroghi – mohadeseh younessi
photo credits: majid zamani – ali ghoroghi – hamed karami – hamid karami espesial
thanks to: shervin kamali – arash tabibzadeh



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: lynn chaya | designboom

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