Restoring Iran’s Heritage of Magnificent Homes in an Age of High Rises
June 29, 2013
KASHAN, Iran — A petite woman in gray boots and a checkered scarf, Shanaz Nader had spent much of her adult life abroad, with long stretches in Tokyo, London and New York. But here she was braving a cold wind in this desert city three hours south of Tehran, making her way through a maze of high mud-brick walls.
伊朗卡尚——沙娜兹·纳迪尔 (Shanaz Nader)身材娇小，穿一双灰色靴子，围着格子围巾。她成年后的大部分时间里都待在国外，在东京、伦敦和纽约生活过很长时间。但现在，她正顶着寒风，在 距德黑兰(Tehran)以南三小时路程的这座沙漠城市里，穿梭于泥砖高墙的迷宫之中。
Black-clad women waited at a small bakery as the rattling noise of a motorcycle in the distance echoed through the alleys. Finally, Mrs. Nader, an interior designer in Tehran, reached her destination: a large, two-panel wood door that opened up to her fully renovated weekend home, a majestic old Iranian house with four bedrooms, colored-glass windows, a separate office, two garden areas and a large rectangular marble fountain.
身着黑色长袍的女人们正在一间小面包店中 等待，一旁的摩托车绝尘而去，马达的轰鸣声在远处的山谷中回响。纳迪尔这位来自德黑兰的室内设计师，终于到达了她的目的地：一扇宽大的双开木门在她面前缓 缓打开，通往她刚刚修好的周末度假屋。这是一座老式的伊朗民居，有四间卧室、彩色玻璃窗和一间独立的办公室，以及两个花园和一座很大的四方形大理石喷泉。
After boiling tea, Mrs. Nader, 68, sighed and sat down under an arched passageway. The sun reflected in the fountain, as the wind blew in faint sounds of the midday call to prayer.
Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
“Whenever I dreamed of Iran while being in some faraway place, I dreamed of owning such a house,” she said.
For thousands of years, houses with secluded gardens and courtyards have been a cornerstone of Iranian architecture, which strongly influenced structures like the Alhambra and the Taj Mahal. Similar dwellings are described in literature from Achaemenid times, around 700 B.C., and their old Persian name is the root for the word “paradise.”
几千年来，带有私家花园和院子的房屋一直 都是伊朗建筑的奠基石，并深深影响了阿尔罕布拉宫(Alhambra)和泰姬陵(Taj Mahal)这样的建筑。早在公元前700年，阿开民王朝(Achaemenid)时期的文学作品中就曾提到过相似的住所。这类住宅的古波斯文名称，就是 “paradise（天堂）”一词的词根。
But in past decades the houses fell out of favor and were widely demolished to make way for glassed apartment blocks, especially in Tehran. The sprawling family gardens on the flanks of the Alborz Mountains in the capital have long since been demolished to make way for high rises, turning landowners into millionaires but wiping out Iran’s architectural heritage.
然而在过去几十年中，这样的房屋不再受人 喜爱，并被大面积拆除，以便为玻璃幕墙的公寓大厦让路。在德黑兰，情况尤其严重。位于首都的阿尔伯兹山脉(Alborz Mountains)两侧散布的很多私家花园早就被拆除殆尽，以便为高层建筑腾地。虽然那些户主们都变成了百万富翁，但是伊朗的建筑遗产也被夷为了平地。
But Mrs. Nader and some others are beginning to reverse that trend. In recent years, dozens of houses and palaces in Kashan, a city known for its carpets and traditional Iranian architecture, have been painstakingly renovated into holiday homes and hotels.
She was drawn to Kashan in 2008 when the owner of one of the palaces, Manoucheri House, built 200 years ago by a local merchant family, asked for her help in transforming it into a boutique hotel. Well known in Tehran for her basic but tasteful furniture and printed textiles that strike a delicate balance between the old and the new, Mrs. Nader was an obvious choice for the job, and she jumped at the opportunity.
纳迪尔对卡尚的兴趣发起于2008年。当 时，马诺切利大宅(Manoucheri House)的主人请她来帮忙，把这座200年前由一位本地商人兴建的宅第改建为宴会宾馆。纳迪尔因其简练而独具品位的家具设计，以及能在新潮与传统间保 持微妙平衡的印花纺织品，在德黑兰广为人知。她显然是这项工作的不二人选，而她也毫不犹豫地把握住了这次机会。
Now, all across the old neighborhoods of Kashan, laborers are renovating houses that until recently were neglected by their owners.
At first the newcomers stirred opposition from local people, apparently upset that some of the renovations were being done with government money, which they wanted for building modern housing. “Hundreds of people signed a petition asking for the old houses to be flattened instead,” said Akbar Arezugar, 54, a renovation supervisor from Kashan. “But when the renovation was done, the cleric who was leading the opposition personally called everybody involved, apologized and applauded the work we had done.”
最初，这些新来者遭到了本地人的反对。后 者显然对此感到不满，因为一些翻修工作动用了政府的钱，而他们希望这笔钱被用来修建现代化的住宅。“数百人签署了请愿书，要求把老房子都推倒，”54岁的 阿克巴·阿雷祖格(Akbar Arezugar)说，他是一名来自卡尚的翻修工程总监。“但是，等到翻修工作完成的时候，领导这次反对活动的神职人员把每位反对者都找了过来，向我们道 了歉，并赞扬了我们所做的工作。”
While many Iranian cities face unemployment and an economic downturn because of sanctions and mismanagement of the economy, the burst of renovations — most of them by individuals — is keeping Kashan bustling.
Mohsen Shahi, a 26-year-old architect, said he much preferred working on the renovations to designing apartment buildings, something that many of his university friends are doing. “If I had an unlimited budget I would buy old houses and rebuild them the way they were,” he said.
Mr. Shahi was working on the Ameri House, a huge property with seven courtyards with fountains and dozens of rooms that is scheduled to open as a hotel in April. “For a long time it seemed as though our love for culture had diminished in our country,” he said. “Those old families that once built these beautiful houses were not thinking of profits, but of their legacies. Thankfully, now we are starting to learn from them.”
沙希正在进行阿米里宅邸(Ameri House)的翻修工作。这是一处规模庞大的房产，包括七个带有喷泉的庭院和数十个房间，此地计划改建为一座宾馆，于四月对外开放。“在我们国家，人们对 文化的热爱似乎已经消失很久了，”他说，“那些古老的家族当初修建这些漂亮的宅邸，并不是出于利益的考虑，而是为了子孙传承。谢天谢地，现在我们总算开始 从他们身上学到了这一点。”
When her work on the boutique hotel was finished, Mrs. Nader looked for a place of her own. The first time she saw her house it was run-down and filled with dirt. Parts were even slated for demolition. “I bought it for $20,000 and people said I was crazy,” she said, while giving a tour of the house. The restoration cost another $300,000, she said, and has been worth every penny.
在宴会宾馆的改建工作结束时，纳迪尔也为 自己找到一处良宅。当她初次见到自己那座房子的时候，它已残破不堪，里面满是尘土，其中有一部分甚至已经被纳入了拆除范围。“我花了2万美元买下这座房 子，人们都说我疯了，”她带我们在屋内参观时介绍说。后来的重修工作又花了30万美元，她说道，但花在这里的每一分钱都是物有所值的。
She is planning to write a book on traditional Iranian architecture, and has also built an office where she wants to work with local architects.
For most people, it is a labor of love. For the hotels, renovation costs are high, without much prospect of making profits. There are almost no foreign tourists anymore making their way to Kashan, which lies 30 miles north of Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. Many people fear the nuclear site could one day come under attack, with possibly deadly consequences for those living in its vicinity.
对多数人而言，这都是一桩甜蜜的负担，因 为宾馆的重修成本十分高昂，而盈利前景却很黯淡。外国游客几乎已经不再到卡尚来了，因为这座城市就坐落在伊朗主要铀浓缩装置所在地纳坦兹(Natanz) 以北30英里（约48公里）。许多人都害怕这处核基地某天会遭到袭击，那就可能为住在附近的人带来灾难性后果。
“Sometimes I worry about the future,” she said, standing on one of the roofs of her house. In the distance, snow-capped mountain peaks basked in the sun. “But history shows that Iran always lands on its feet. I’m not abandoning ship.”
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