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Open Call: Tehran Filtering Gardens

Open Call:  Tehran Filtering Gardens HydroCity


4 January 2016
by Jacob de Munnik

Tehran Filtering Gardens is an applied research project initiated by HydroCity at ESA-LAB, in partnership with Tehran’s 12th district Municipality and the Art, City and Landscape Festival of Amiens to find new and innovative ways to address the potential water crisis in Iran. The project will work as a collaborative between a local research team (comprised of students and researchers from an open call) and a team of French and Iranian design professionals.

The aim of this open call project is to create five filtering gardens downtown Tehran as permanent public spaces. The urban gardens will collect, filter, and store water from the abandoned qanat network. The project aims to raise awareness for the reappraisal of this ancient water irrigation system that still carries water, but is considered archaic today.The gardens address the critical issues of climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and pollution footprint, by making water recycling visible in public space. As new liminal spaces in the city, the gardens will also address questions of heritage and preservation. How can they operate as archetypes for a collective narrative of genius loci by becoming acupuncture points that will heal and revive the capital’s historic core?

The Project

A team from ESA-LAB will lead the project in three phases: research, design and fabrication. A research team will be created in Tehran to participate in all three phases of the project. This open call is to invite five teams to a 10 day design workshop (phase 2) and the fabrication of the gardens (phase 3). The gardens will become permanent public spaces.

Phase 1:  Research January 15th- April 1st 2016

The research team will study the 12th district and its qanats in order to identify the five sites, produce a complete urban analysis, diagnosis and guidelines for the design phase. The parameters examined will comply to: urban fabric, architectural typologies, land use, population, water quality, water resource, water management, plant species, governance, maintenance, and economic activity.

Phase 2: Design Workshop  April 5th-15th 2016

A multi-disciplinary, immersive and collaborative 10 day workshop. Five design teams assisted by a scientific committee will each design one of the five sites for the festival.

Phase 3:  Fabrication May 1st-September 30th

Following the design workshop, the projects will be developed and implemented on site. 

The gardens will be inaugurated during a 3-day event from September 30th to October 2nd 2016

The Selection Process

Design professionals from France and Iran are invited to candidate in teams of two with one mandatory member being a Landscape Architect or Hydrologist. Five teams will be chosen by the Festival Jury on February 15th. One team per garden.

All fees for air travel, room and board in Tehran are provided for French participants along with 4000 Euro honorarium is granted per team.

Candidates should send CV cover letter and portfolio to

Deadline for applications for Design Teams is 30 January 2016

For more details, download the call out here.

Find out more at