Mahvash Alemi
Mahvash Alemi was born in Iran and trained as an architect in Rome. Her projects reflect the importance of gardens in her architectural design. She has been a faculty member at Tehran University, the Pratt Institute Rome Program, and Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. She has been a Garden and Landscape Studies Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks and has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center; Stewart Gardner Museum; Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian; Faculty of Architecture Bari, Pescara; and Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT. Her studies on Persian gardens have raised questions on their presumed fourfold layout. Her findings of unedited drawings by Pietro Della Valle and Engelbert Kaempfer have led to the restoration of the urban and natural contexts of the Safavid gardens in Qazvin, Isfahan, Qum, Kashan, Shiraz, and the Caspian hunting resorts, consequently opening new perspectives for their understanding. These studies led beyond the definition of certain types and models to the understanding of the political use of such garden-like spaces as maydān and khiyābān as the theater for the display of kingship. The study of the poems regarding the garden-city in Qazvin led to their understanding as the entire world. She was granted a senior fellowship 2013–2014, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., to write her book on Safavid gardens.


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