Along the beaches of Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf is a series of gumdrop-like mansions. The multifunctional project, titled “Presence in Hormuz,” features earthen structures that dot the sandy landscape in a textured cluster of peaks and bulbs.
To build the candy-colored domes, ZAV Architects used famed Iranian architect Nader Khalili’s SuperAdobe process of stacking wet mud bricks and trained local artisans in the technique. “A carpet is woven with granular knots inspired by the particles that make up the island’s ecotone,” the Tehran-based firm explains in a conversation with designboom, noting that the region’s topography inspired much of the architecture. “The bags that create the domes are filled with dredged sand from the Hormuz dock, as if the land had swelled to produce accommodation space.”
Most of the bulbous structures house accommodations with communal dining, laundry and prayer spaces. These lively spaces were designed as part of an initiative to address local economic hardship and bring tourists and the community together in a shared cultural space. ZAV expands on the project’s intent:
“In a country where the state is grappling with political conflicts outside its borders, each architectural project becomes a proposal for internal governance alternatives, asking fundamental questions: What are the limits of architecture and how can it suggest a political alternative for community life? How can it achieve social agency?”