Hooshang Seyhoun prominent Iranian architect passed away in Vancouver on May 27 at the age of 93.
Hooshang Syehoun was born on August 22, 1920 in Tehran in a family of musicians. His grandfather Mirza Abdollah Farahani was a pioneer in classical music and is known as the father of traditional Iranian music. His mother was a consummate tar and setar player, and his uncle was also a setar master.
He began the study of painting in Iran’s College of Fine Arts but soon left painting for the study of architecture and earned his degree in architecture from University of Tehran. His studies also took him to École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris where he studied fine arts.
Seyhoun’s work includes several monuments such as the Avicenna Mausoleum in Hamedan, Nader Shah Mausoleum in Mashhad and Omar Khayyam Mausoleum in Neyshapour. Seyhoun is also credited for many prominent buildings in Tehran and Ahvaz such as the Tehran Central Railway Station, Kouros Akhavan Textile Factory, Yaghchiabad Education Complex, Cinema Asia and Canada Dry Factory (currently Zamzam). In addition to the many monuments, Seyhoun has also left behind more than a thousand villas across Iran.
Nader Ardalan has written about Hooshang Seyhoun’s work in Iranica Encyclopedia as a period of “growing emergence of symbols of national identity.” Seyhoun built the Avicenna Mausoleum at the age of 28 and described his work as follows: “The Avicenna Mausoleum is not just a tomb; it is part of the totality of Bou-ali’s (Avicenna's) commemoration. I tried to capture Bou-ali’s character through architectural elements both in terms of geometry and numbers, as well as image and symbolism which has not been part of the practice up to now. This entailed extensive research in history and incorporation of the research into what you see before your eyes.”
Seyhoun was a member of the National Archeological Council, Supreme Council of Urban Development as well as a member of Council of Universities and the International Committee of Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS. He was dean of the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University for six years and also served as head of the Historical Buildings Restoration of Iran for 15 years.
Hooshang Seyhoun was the first Iranian architect to use metal and cement in a visible form in his work. He is also known for his innovagtive use of folk elements in his architectural work.
Painting remained an integral part of Seyhoun's creative output, and Iranian country and village landscapes are a common theme in many of his paintings which now hang in several US universities.
Seyhoun left Iran after the 1979 Revolution and resided in Vancouver, Canada for the rest of his life.