Abadan: A Case Study in Pseudo Colonial Architecture
Type
article
Year
2017
Abadan is located in the southernmost part of Iran, facing a narrow body of water (Arvand Rud in Farsi or Shatt al-Arab in Arabic), annexed from the Persian Gulf. The excavation of oil in this city brought in workers and specialist from all regions of Iran as well as countries as varied as the Great Britain to India and the United States.  With the varied and global population, a diverse and global material culture and architecture were shaped in this city. Also, due to the massive investments by the Anglo-Iranian oil company (in Abadan), a new lifestyle was introduced. For instance, high-ranked Western specialists were given better, gated neighborhoods while the local unskilled workers from Iran lived in shantytowns. Meanwhile, those from India and Bangladesh lived in accommodations that were far better than those of the locals and poorer than those of their Western counterparts.  In this sense, a new lifestyle and “new notions of class-based communities based on European models were introduced.”1 Abadan has always been important regarding its oil reservoirs and strategic location, but rarely regarding its architecture. In this article, while the authors are addressing the work of other scholars on the topic, they also introduce a lesser-known aspect of architecture in Abadan and investigate the question of style in a pseudo-colonial context, asking: How does style defend and define the identity of a given group? How does style become a political indicator? Is style charged with ideological and political meanings? Moreover, finally, Can architectural style be partially responsible for highlighting specific issues about race and racial differences? 

1) Karimi, Pamela. 2013. Domesticity and consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era. New York: Routledge.
Citation
Karimi, Parham and Hamid Afshar. “Abadan: A Case Study in Pseudo Colonial Architecture." Iranology Foundation, Research Department of Art and Architecture. Fall 2017.
Authorities
Copyright
Parham Karimi and Hamid Afshar
Country
Iran
Language
English
Keywords
urban development
industrial buildings