The Colorful Communal Domes of Hormuz, Iran

If you have ever fantasized about following the yellow brick road to the magical land of OZ—Hormuz, Iran may be your dream destination. Hormuz is a celebrated Persian Gulf port town that has fallen on hard times. A group of architects hoped to make a positive impact by building a distinctive collection of interdependent domed communal dwellings that look as though they may house Oz’s merry Munchkins.

All images © ZAV Architects, by Tahmineh Monzavi

The domed dwellings are part of a project called “Presence in Hormuz”, which is designed to create an affordable communal living space that offers shared laundry facilities, dining, and prayer areas. “Presence in Hormuz” features winding paths and sweeping steps which were created to delight locals and tourists alike. The colorful, fantastical domed dwellings that look as though they are fresh from the board game “Candy Land” were inspired by the surrounding landscape. Hormuz is dotted with jagged mountains and undulating sand dunes.

The bulb-shaped domes of Hormuz were constructed with adobe crafted from local sand, Celebrated Iranian architect Nader Khalili—who specialized in building shelters for people in crisis out of sand and stone—pioneered the adobe making technique that was used when constructing the domes of Hormuz. The designers of “Presence in Hormuz” like to think that every dome is a natural extension of the land on which it is built. The great hope is that this visually stunning collection of seaside domed dwellings with striking circular windows that recall ancient times will help foster harmony in a region that has witnessed countless rounds of economic, social, and political turmoil, Can a tightly knit community of people who are deeply dependent on one another govern themselves better than an overarching power structure? Much like the residents of Oz—the residents of the multicolored domes of Hormuz, Iran welcome the many benefits of communal living.

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