team group presents an investigation into the ancestral architecture of the hot and dry regions of iran with the proposed ‘sunken courtyard’ or bagh chal. among the most powerful and significant elements of iranian architecture, the courtyard spatial type is reimagined as an introverted, brick monument which embraces its occupant below the level of the ground in coolness and shadows within a naturally desertous context. the envisioned project, programmed as a boutique restaurant, is integrated into the flat landscape and made up of zones organized with inverted symmetry.

team group sunken courtyard
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with its bagh chal ‘sunken courtyard,’ tehran-based architecture firm team group hybridizes traditional iranian spatial types with a contemporary formal expression. the enclosure and courtyard are built as a continuous shell structure which peels away from the landscape with a sweeping, organic gesture. the strategy of excavating the ground and designing in section lends easier access to underground springs which are harnessed as water features that introduce humidity to the dry atmosphere. 

team group sunken courtyard



the bagh chal sunken courtyard by team group design introduces a green oasis to the desertous iranian landscape. the underground natural water supply allows the design team to incorporate a collection of small, controlled streams which thread across the brickwork courtyard and into large pools. this generates a more habitable environment for the lush plant life which grows among the laminated stepping elements of the enclosure. with a strong sense of symmetry, team design group makes use of repeated solid and void geometries which are either subtracted from the ground, or added as conditioned interiors.

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project info:


project title: bagh chal, sunken courtyard

architecture: team group |

location: kashan, iran

project leader: davood salavati

design team: amirali sharifi, sheila shahraki, mahsa aghahasel, asma pirouz, sara yousefi, arman delavari