International workshop on "Qanats and Architecture"

International workshop on "Qanats and Architecture" will be held 8-17 November 2014.

Following the HydroCity workshop held on the qanats of Tehran in 2012, the International Centre on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures, in Yazd (UNESCO - ICQHS), is hosting a second round of this event by establishing research cooperation between international entities. The workshop is taking place under the “Sustainable Development Project for Cities Program” (ADM), at École Spéciale d’Architecture, Paris, in partnership with the National School of Higher Studies inNature and Landscape Architecture, Blois, and the School of Art and Architecture of the University of Yazd.

Re-use Recycle Yazd is the opportunity to study one of the oldest cities in the world, a desert city, where water scarcity produced an elaborate architecture in sync with nature. We can learn from Yazd, from it’s past, and bring innovative solutions to the modern needs of its future. We will imagine how its qanat system, an ancient irrigation infrastructure can regenerate the city.


Re-introduce the qanat as a sustainable water supply system
Define the threats that make the survival of the qanats so fragile
Explore the connectivity the qanat creates between the historic city, the new city, and the rural outskirts
Come up with solutions to keep the active qanats alive
Imagine new programs for the inactive qanats and their role in public space and collective memory


The city of Yazd and its qanats have long been interwoven. The infrastructure supplied water to different sectors of the region, like vital veins in a body. The qanat network takes source at the foothills of the Shirkuh mountain range, and runs beneath the city, accessed only at specific points, connecting the surface to the underground tunnels. Though almost derelict, most of this network still exists today. Some of the qanats still carry water, such the thousand-year-old Zarch. Others, like Firouzabad still have some water infiltration upstream at their mother wells, but are dry in the city. The key questions will revolve around how to revive this network. How to highlight the qanat and its values in a modern urban context. How to safeguard the technical and social values of the qanat in a context of continuous urban sprawl. How to establish co-existence between the qanat and modern urban needs.

Reuse-Recycle Yazd will bring innovative solutions to local city officials and the public for the preservation of the active qanats and the revival of the abandoned ones. The objective is to bring awareness and policy change to an ancient water infrastructure that was at the origin of the city. The project is transversal to the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, hydrology, geographyand art.

Workshop Program
The workshop is structured around four multidisciplinary research teams that will each study a specific qanat. Zarch, Hassan Abad Moshir, Qassem Abad, and Mohamad Abad. The workshop will be inaugurated by two days of lectures and talks at the Unesco centre (ICQHS), followed by three days of fieldwork, four days of brainstorming sessions at the School of Art and Architecture, and a final day of presentations. The workshop results will be translated into a publication addressed to the Iranian authorities anddignities, with the objective of making policy change.

architecture /// ecology /// culture

Workshop Participants
The workshop is open to thirty two students and professionals from the fields of architecture, art, civil engineering, urban design, landscape design, sociology, tourism, agriculture, natural resources, geography and other relevant disciplines. All sessions, debates and discussions will be held in English. A registeration fee of 500 US dollars is required, which includes room and board. Participants will receive a certificate issued by ICQHS, UNESCO, Yazd University, École Spéciale d’Architecture, National School of Higher Studies in Nature and Landscape Architecture.



International Center on Qanats & Historic Hydraulic Structures
TEL: +98 351 8258393
Fax: +98 351 8241690

News code: 23
  News Date : 2014-09-15



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