Architecture project of the year is “a place of inclusion” say Dezeen Awards judges

Argo Fatory by ASA North

Argo Factory Contemporary Art Museum & Cultural Centre won Dezeen Awards 2022 architecture project of the year because “it covers so many areas that even go beyond design” says judge Tosin Oshinowo in this movie.

The museum, based in a former 1920s former brewery in Iran, was designed by US studio Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture North (ASA North) and won the prestigious architecture project of the year award. It was also named cultural building of the year.

Located in Tehran’s downtown district, the old factory is the first private art museum built in the Iranian capital since 1979.

Argo Factory by ASA North
The museum is located in an old beer factory. Photo is by Ahmadreza Schricker Architecture North

Oshinowo, founder of Lagos-based practice CmDesign Atelier, told Dezeen that the building “is a place of inclusion, a place for people, a convergence”.

“It covers so many areas that even go beyond design, there is the cultural importance, the political significance. This is the only building of its kind in that location,” she said.

“I think architecture always has to pay attention, not just to what it’s doing individually as a design element, but its relationship to the rest of the city,” she added. “And this project has done that very successfully.”

Sharjah Architecture Triennial curator Oshinowo was joined by British-Nigerian architect Annette Fisher and multi-disciplinary studio Assemble co-founder ​​Paloma Strelitz on the master jury panel, which met in London in September.

The building’s concrete rooftops filter light into the interior spaces. Photo by Deed Studio

ASA North refurbished the building’s existing brick walls and added five concrete roofs informed by its neighbouring buildings.

“They’ve added an extension in concrete but it’s been done in such a beautiful way that it feels like it’s just an elegant addition, even though it’s a very heavy structure,” said Oshinowo.

“Within the individual elements is quite a lot of complexity but they do come together in a very unified way,” she continued. “We felt that was very successful, and a reason why we chose this project as a winner.”

The museum features six art gallery spaces. Photo by Iwan Baan

The museum includes six galleries, alongside event spaces, a library, an office, a shop and a studio for the museum’s artist residency programme. The concrete roofs were designed to maintain the required climatic conditions in the galleries by helping to keep heat out and filter light in.

The jury admired the complexity of this project across so many different levels. “It is social, cultural and political,” they said.

The judges added: “It is a bold adaptive reuse of a historic structure in the centre of Tehran and proposes a purposeful future use, which is inclusive, which respects the past while being forward-looking, and which invites people to enjoy both the architecture and the content of this new cultural space.”

Tomorrow we will feature a movie on the Dezeen Awards 2022 interior project of the year.

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