Saving Oudlajan

In the late 1970s historic preservation did not have much following in Iran. Trying to save a historic district was an audacious move that Keyvan Khosrovani personally took on in order to prevent the demolition of Oudlajan, one of the oldest district of Tehran targeted at the time for speculative redevelopment.

An unprecedented exhibition of original sketches by Keyvan of Iranian buildings and landscapes was displayed on the mud walls of the narrow 19th century pedestrian streets and cul-de sacs of Oudlajan. The local residents embraced the efforts and the exhibition was up for ten days. The public street exhibition culminated with an outdoor concert by pop singer, Faramarz Aslani. With help of volunteers from Iranian TV the Oudlajan concert was broadcasted over the following week on national radio and TV networks. The publicity generated by the set of events highlighted Oudlajan and was successful in preventing the demolition of this historic urban district. The images here recall a courageous grassroots movement initiated by an architect to generate public awareness of its local cultural heritage.