The formal solution for the pilot project should have the flexibility of being used in many different contexts and dimensions. For this reason, the designers didn’t make any reference to the surrounding buildings. They created a homogeneous form with a high graphical impact that could absorb and solve any situational variation, such as building plan, openings, ATM, door, structural elements, and security requirements, without interrupting the continuous form of the façade or losing identity.

Project Name: Mellat Bank
Studio Name: Kamran Afshar Naderi Architect

Kamran Afshar Naderi
Habibeh Madjdabadi
Alireza Mashhadimirza
Winner of International Architecture Award 2014
The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design
3d Modeling: Kamran Tafreshi, Hamed Moradi
Phase 2 & shop drawing: design team together with shahen perker & Kamran Tafreshi
Phase 2 drawings: Zahra Pour hadi, Mohsen Noori
Executation: Shahen Perker
Contractor: Pars Tin Naghsh
Copper Material: KME agent in Tehran, Borna Lian Co.
Photography: Habibeh Madjdabadi

Mellat Bank By Kamran Afshar Naderi Architect - Sheet1
©Habibeh Madjdabadi

The pattern used to create the façade is based on a simple geometrical principle, first practiced on an A4 paper. The paper was cut along several parallel lines. Consequently, the strips of paper were bent on their longitudinal axis with a variety of angles.
Anti-oxidation copper sheets were used to create the main form of the façade. The color of copper could compensate for the gray and smoggy atmosphere of the Iranian big cities. Aluminum sheets were used to reinforce the copper sheets and steel profiles used as sub-structure for connecting the façade to the building.
Behind the copper façade, there are burglarproof windows and a rollup steel curtain as the last protection device.
The access to the bank is through a section of the façade that can move up and down manually. A mechanical system based on pulleys and counterweights allows operators to push up or pull down easily the big section of the façade by hand.

Mellat Bank By Kamran Afshar Naderi Architect - Sheet2
©Habibeh Madjdabadi

Formation of the Project

The aim was to design a uniform look functioning not only as a facade but also as an urban sculpture and landmark that is able to answer the requirements of a bank facade as well as serving as a protective skin for the bank and its corporate identity.

The most important principle was to design a continuous membrane with a similar mechanism and form in all parts and to avoid use of elements such as doors, windows openings, etc. within the facade. Such a concept finally resulted in a coherent single form.

In the beginning, through computer drawings a feasibility study of families of “consecutive” and “organic” forms was undertaken. Then, different flexible surfaces were studied until finally through parallel incisures on an A4 paper and folding the cut parts, the initial concept was formed.

©Habibeh Madjdabadi

In the next step, we chose suitable material for the facade. In bend and cut. In the second step, we chose copper because of its warm and familiar colour. Since copper corrosion through time could affect bank identity, we used oxidation-resistant cooper which has a fixed colour.

Since Tehran urban facades are covered by different shades of grey colour, as a material, copper is able to distinguish the building from its surrounding environment.

The process of preparing construction maps was completely different from that of an ordinary building. Apart from construction instruction, a guideline for juxtaposing different parts of facade puzzle was produced. Hence, codes, numbers and a guideline replaced the maps of second phase design.

All data was drawn in 2D using a very simple method and AutoCAD software later transformed into an instruction on grid paper. The instruction only included codes and numbers. Preparing ShopDraw maps using such a method proved that with a simple tool and software one can design and execute complicated designs.

Mellat Bank By Kamran Afshar Naderi Architect - Sheet6
©Habibeh Madjdabadi

One of the common method of construction in important and complicated projects is to make models of different details. Example for this are models made for a part of the facade in Blue Cube or Mercedes Benz Museum projects. Through use of models, in such projects costs are estimated, project execution time reduced and waste of material avoided. In Mercedes Benz project for instance, part of the reinforced concrete structure was built in real scale. Hence the architectural project becomes an R&D project while the design team works in a research workshop parallel to building the models.

The design team tried to turn the project into an exemplary instance of industrial design and construction. The use of metal sheets was modular and a certain special approach was taken to define how sheets were bent, assembled or installed on the aluminum structure allowing each part to be later replaced or adjusted using nuts and bolts. The goal was to achieve a prototype for the facade that can adjust itself to different site conditions of different bank branches while preserving certain aesthetic qualities.


habibeh bw


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