On Hormuz Island, a historic port off the southern coast of Iran, sits the Majara Residence, a sprawling community of 200 colorful domes containing residences and various accommodations.
Designed by the Tehran-based ZAV Architects, the community is designed to attract tourists to the small island and serve as an alternative to high-rise developments traditionally used to house visitors.
The island is known for its remarkably colorful landscape and its close relationship to the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. A high concentration of iron-oxide tints the sand and water red, while salt and other minerals form stunning caves and outcroppings popular amoungst adventurous locals and tourists alike.
Fiften residences, made up of a variety of interconnected domes, create the core of the project, while the remaining domes are used for cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, tourist information, a prayer room, laundry, storage, and more.
Interiors are as colorful as the outside. Simple and flexible, they’re designed to be re-arranged.
Using Iranian-American architect Nader Khalili’s SuperAbode technique, the domes were built with rammed earth and sand, then painted in bright colors to echo the naturally occurring prism of colors found on the island itself (see below).
The building technique was specifically chosen as it requires only a basic skillset and uses local materials-according to the studio this, and the small-scale of the domes, allowed them to employ local craftsmen and workers to complete the project while allocating the majority of construction costs to labor instead of materials.
The community is the second phase of “Presence in Hormuz”, an ongoing series of urban developments intended in part to empower the local community and revitalize the island, which has relied heavily on the illegal oil trade.
The Majara Residence is perhaps another example of the recent "Eco-Tourism" or "Slow Travel" movements—accomodations that attempt a more conscious, responsible and eco-friendly approach in their design and offerings. Hormuz Island's inherently polictical location also plays into the design and the studio hopes the project acts as a mediator between locals, neighbors, and visitors.
Using architecture as a bridge between cultures, nature, and ideas—especially when as visually captivating as this—is something we can always get behind.