Monday, December 18, 2017

Romainville's Wild Modernist Forest

This semester we worked on a 40hec. spontaneous forest just at 2km of Paris'center. We looked at the multiple relations a wild forest can entertain with the city and its inhabitants. And more specifically we proposed projects that will sublime this wild piece of land that confusingly is being planned to disappear partly in order to develop a leisure island. 

MASTER-LAB STUDENTS: Mehdi Alaoui, Lucas Bartholl, Johan Bernmark, Raphaelle Dezert, Arold El Baze, Léa Huot de Neuvier, Suk Jae Ko, Alice Koch, Meryem Lahlou, Abdallah Lamiri Alaoui, Manihi Leroi, Joshua Lye, Sang Cheon Park, Sang Hoon Park, Lucie Schnirer, Ines Smouni, Mary Spyropoulos, Sandra Teboul, Mu Jong Yoo, Yuchen Zhang, Yutong Zhang

INVITED JURY: Daniel Breuiller (Vice-président délégué à la mise en valeur du Patrimoine naturel et paysager – Métropole du Grand Paris), Charlotte Fauve (Ingénieur et journaliste spécialisée art, nature et urbanisme), Daniel Otero Peña (Architecte), Stéphane Weisselberg (Président du Syndicat Mixte de la Corniche des Forts), Roberto D’Arienzo (architecte), Julie Lefebvre (Habitante et consultante médias sur les questions de nature et de territoire).


Monday, October 23, 2017

working on the pilot project

In July, the team designing the first project for the Tehran Garden Festival was busy working on the final details before the start of construction. The pilot project will bring to surface water from Mehrgerd Qanat, (the capital's oldest and original qanat ), into a 400sqm site, at the gate of the Safavid City.
Pilot-Project Team: Sara Kamalvand, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Chilpéric de Boiscuillé (Sativa paysages)

Monday, April 10, 2017

"The paradise garden is an old motif. It means something enclosed against the world, that also contains the world. That’s what art can do."

Alexander Kluge, E-flux journal #81

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


In November 2015 HydroCity created an officious partnership with the twelfth district Municipality of Tehran, and the Art, City and Landscape Festival of Amiens for the creation of a garden festival that would use the capital’s abandoned qanat network as a re-newed water source. At a time of a national water crisis, and with the prospect of lifting sanctions, the project was welcome with enthusiasm from both Iran and France. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

landscape urbanism as architecture

This semester we worked on housing, with the idea that notions of Landscape Urbanism could be scaled down and applied to the project. How can nature and mouvement be used as tools in architecture as a means to express the fourth dimension ? Projects exhibited December 13-16 2016. École Spéciale d'Architecture - Paris.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Brainstorming  - THE WALK - with Alexandre Houdet and Mr. Khashayar at Made in Tehran 04. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Meeting with the Municipality

Our workshop team spent alot of time working with the municipality in order to prospect the appropriate sites for the festival, aswell as the programs for each garden, and the general aspect of the green water walk. We are very happy to have figured out that we can indeed resurrect the qanat, and have even located precisely where the water can reemerge to surface. Our proposal will be exhibited on December 30th at Platform28 in Tehran.

Workshop Made in Tehran #04 Platform28

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Public Meeting

Tehran Garden Festival Public Meeting Thursday October 27th, 3-5PM - Post Museum

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conference in Tehran October 3rd and 4th

HydroCity is invited by the French Research Institute in Iran to participate in a two day conference on sustainability, taking place at Tarbiat Modaress University. Iran is standing at a turning point, with its doors opening up to global economy.  Crucial directives will guide the country either towards a prosperous future, if ecology and preservation of local ressources is put at the forefront, or see it somber into the chains of crumbling capitalism. We will be advocating a holistic approach by placing the qanat system as a cultural heritage  to preserve, protect, and re-use.
For more information on the event click here 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Iran through the eyes of Homa

Georg Gester, Niavaran Cultural Centre Sept 16-Oct 1 2016
"From 1976 to 1978 Georg Gerster was privileged to fly again and again over huge Iran and to discover it from the perspective of the bird's eye. Now, for the first time in Iran, he exhibits the aerial views resulting from these flights in Tehran's Niavaran Cultural Center. The exhibition title "Iran through the eyes of Homa" pays tribute to Homa, a mythical bird of Ancient Persia's, celebrted for his sharp-sightedness. The show, features 133 aerial images."

Saturday, September 10, 2016


The University of Miami School of Architecture continues to discuss the topic of water through an impressive  lecture series

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ESA-LAB in Tehran

MAPPING MEHRGERD / Research team / Sara Kamalvand, Ameneh Karimian, Farimah Jamali, Narjes Zivdar, Samira Eskandari, Mona Meschi, Morteza Hemmati

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Talk at TMOCA

Eskandar Mokhtari, Heritage Preservationist -Ali M. Saadati, Head of Urban Design, Tehran Municipality - Ahmad Maleki, Hirsa Consulting 

On July 11th, we held a talk with important actors concerned with the Tehran Garden Festival. Eskandar Mokhtari who is responsible for the most important preservation projects in Iran, (including the Bam Citadel), expressed his enthusiasm and support for considering the qanat as a heritage and  device to revive the city. The city is well aware of the logistical difficulties of bringing Mehrgerd's water back to surface. There was a mutual agreement between everyone on the pannel that the garden festival was a noteworthy project to pursue.  The new calendar anticipates for the gardens to be inaugurated in October 2017.

Mapping MehrgerdTehran Museum of Contemporaty Art, July 10 & 11 2016 E

Friday, July 15, 2016

Art City and Landscape in Tehran

The Tehran Filtering Garden Festival is in collaboration with the Art, City, and Landscape festival imagined by Gilbert Fillinger, the director of the Cultural Centre of Amiens. Gilbert Fillinger was in Tehran to support the exhibition in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

photo Le Monde, Quand L'art arrose les jardins, 07.2015

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We were very honored to have François Sénémaud, the Ambassador of France, at our exhibition, Mapping Mehrgerd. The French government has engaged itself to support the Filtering Garden Festival, and we hope that next year this time we will be planting downtown for the revival of the capital's oldest qanat.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Exhibition at TMOCA

Mapping Mehrgerd is the research phase of Tehran Filtering Garden Festival*, a project for the revival of Tehran’s abandoned qanats. Exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on July 10th .

Monday, June 27, 2016

Seek and you will find*

Mapping Mehrgerd in Tehran

In his 1974 study and translation of the XIth century Persian hydrology treaty, “The civilisation of hidden waters”, Ali Mazaheri alludes that the Bible’s verse “Seek and you will find” ensues from this very culture.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Relationship between parts and the whole

The common sense idea that the sum of the parts will be equal to the whole is not always true, and what is truer still is: The whole is more than the sum of the parts because the whole belongs to a higher plane than the parts.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Meeting with Tehran's organisation of Green Spaces's director Mr. Mokhtari 

*Entering a qanat with Mr. Moradi, chief in charge of Tehran's 12th district qanats

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Downtown Tehran's hidden waters


After 3 weeks of research and field work with our team, we've decided to work on Mehrgerd qanat. Being Tehran's original and oldest qanat it also has an impressive water debit of 200 litres per second, making it an underground river. The 5 sites for the filtering Garden Festival will be chosen on the 5km path of Mehrgerd, from its mother-well to its appearance. Each garden will be the opportunity to make the invisible, visible.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Tehran Filtering Garden Festival* is an applied research project in partnership with Tehran’s 12th district Municipality and the Art, City and Landscape festival of Amiens. The project will 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, and the depletion of natural resources, 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 ?

Chosen participants will collaborate in all three phases of the project taking place from January to September 2017. These phases cover research, a 10 day design workshop in April, and fabrication. Candidates should send CV cover letter and portfolio to


*the project is with ESA-LAB, the brand new research lab at Ecole Spéciale d'Architecture

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tehran Filtering Garden Festival Launch

Early November, HydroCity was in Tehran with Gilbert Fillinger, the director of Maison de Culture d'Amiens and Chilperic de Boiscuillé, founder of the Nature and Landscape School of Blois, to meet with Tehran's 12th district municipality.  We are very lucky to be part of the downtown revival planned by Tehran's mayor Ghalibaf, who has justly designated the historic core as the capital's gem. The festival will create five filtering gardens downtown Tehran as permanent public spaces; urban gardens that will collect, filter, and store water from the abandoned qanat network. 


HydroCity would like to thank the Soudavar Family Foundation and the Flora Family Foundation for being the first sponsors and supporters of this project. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

RE-USE Yazd on show at UNESCO-ICQHS

as part of the 2nd IWA Workshop on Qanats held in November

RE-USE YAZD looks at how this ancient city, who not long ago lived in total accordance in the harsh conditions of the desert, through an elaborate earthen architecture, can be revived by the RE-USE of its abandoned water network.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sustaining Biodiversity /// Architecture and Landscape find themselves today at the intersection of a new approach in Urbanism, driven foremost by a global ecological crisis that no longer absorbs Modernism’s agenda of a universal and atopic* space. The main concept relies on a renewed interest in heritage, a heritage interlocking nature and culture as an inseparable set in understanding a site, and directing its programs.

* [a] from ancient greek, without 
[topos] site or place

Monday, September 7, 2015

The origin of the word qanat

The word qanat comes from the Akkadian word qanu*, which designates reeds, and later in latin gave canna, and eventually became canal. So in short the word is a morphological derivation of a hollow elongated stem to mean a tunnel or gallery that carries water. What's interesting in the persian language is that the word for sugar comes from the same root "qand" ( ghand), alluding to the same form of the sugar cane. 

*Les Qanats, Henri Goblot, 1979, French geologist who published the most comprehensive study on the topic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Russian Waters in Iran

The Caspian sea, the world's largest lake is mainly sourced by Russia's Volga river (80%). The Volga being the largest river in Europe (in terms of discharge), crossed by 11 major cities, including Moscow. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Round Table Conference

A conversation with:
Nicolas Michelin, Architect and Urbanist, ANMA
Chris Younés, Philosopher, ESA
Amir Farman-Farma, Economist, Connexion Capital
Ali Semsar Yazdi, UNESCO-ICQHS

moderated by Sara Kamalvand & Edouard Sors


75010 PARIS


*This event is sponsored by Connexion Capital

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Librairie Volume

At our exhibition at La Manne in Paris, Samuel Hoppe, of the amazing Volume Library, has made a selection of books on Iran. From Sadegh Hedayat, to Kiarostami, Zarathustra, a treaty of earthen architecture, and more to be discovered at the foundation... 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


June 10th - July 31st
La Manne
11 rue des Petites Ecuries
Paris 75010
Ecole Spéciale D'Architecture
Ecole de la Nature et du Paysage
Ecole d'Art et Architecture de Yazd
Curated by : Sara Kamalvand, Gaëtan Kohler, Edouard Sors

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Interviewed by Emmanuelle Borne

"Nouvelle Vague" is how the editor in chief of AA describes the new binome of water and cities. In our interview we express how the re-use of traditional practices can place water as a design agent of place-making. We also talk about our upcoming Garden Festival in Iran. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Je voudrais faire une analogie avec les ruines de Rome. Pourquoi ? Parce que ça relève exactement du même bagage historique mais eux ils ont la chance que c’est en plein air, et vous toute la mémoire d’une constitution d’une société qui va du pied de la montagne jusqu’ici et plus bas est entièrement souterraine. Mais du coup je la considère comme indestructible… On peut casser des temples, on peut casser tout ce qu’on veut mais on ne peux pas casser ce que vous avez là et ça c’est fabuleux en même temps. "

Extrait du discours de clôture de Alain Richert, Mesocity Tehran Workshop, 2012

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Post-Workshop Photo Exhibition

The Landscape students who came to Yazd for the workshop are holding a photo exhibition in Blois February 11th to March 4th 2015
Photos by Charlotte Kende, Albane Poirier, Hermine de Chavanes, Anais Ancelin

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We're going to Blois !

Very excited to be in Blois tonight to hear the Landscape students present their Workshop .
ph Re-Use Yazd Workshop

Thursday, December 11, 2014

We will miss you Alain Richert, man of all trades, geographer, architect, gardner, painter.
Your guidance echoes eternally in our minds.
photo Bruno Suet

Monday, December 8, 2014

Photo by Antoine Feldman, Re-Use Yazd 8-17 November 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inventing the new rural


TEAM: Isabel Hérault - Professor, Thierry Ruf - Professor / Mabel Miranda (ADM), Daniel Hazanas (ADM), Antoine Feldmann (ENSNP), Bahareh Ghazaei (Yazd) , Vahid Mehrab (Yazd), Mahboob Homaee (Yazd), Maryam Omidvari (Yazd) Mahshid Radaei  (Yazd), Mahjabin Radaei (Yazd) 

As part of the Re-Use Yazd Workshop, HydroCity invited Catherine Willis to create an olfactif installation in an 18th c. garden in Yazd. This event was made possible with the support of UNESCO-ICQHS, and the school of Art and Architecture of the University of Yazd. With the participation of Professor Ali Sharifi and his art students. Mrs. Willis was assisted also by Massoud Kowsar.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


One of our four case studies, is the Qassemabad qanat, which is well over 300 years old, and continues to irrigate water to what used to be a village outside the city.  Today the village has become an urban agricultural pocket with 4 hec of farmland ! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Catherine Willis, Paris based artist is invited to create a public installation around the abandoned qanat system in Yazd. 

+++you have been here sometime+++

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gaetan Kohler and Sara Kamalvand at the Hassan Abad qanat, between Mehriz and Yazd
photo by Edouard Sors September 2012