This Persepolis-inspired home will be featured on this weekend’s San Diego MA+DS Modern Home Tour! Get your tickets today!
Q&A w/ Simi Razavian | MSA & Associates, Inc.
You’re a partner at MSA & Associates, Inc, a La Jolla-based architectural firm that has designed and developed numerous green homes in SoCal. What has been the progress of a green ethos taking root in the Southern California region?
Since 2008, when the market collapsed and building activity went down, I went to numerous green building conferences and seminars to upgrade my knowledge on saving the environment. I learned a lot, and so did a lot of other architects and designers. I have seen beautiful green buildings being built that I had never seen before. The fact that you can have a healthier and happier life in buildings without or using less heating and air conditioning is the most important revolution in architecture, which at the same time preserves our environment.
A home you designed will be featured on the upcoming San Diego MA+DS Modern home tour. Tell us a bit about how this project, which was an extensive remodel, came about.
Actually, the owners were after a brand new home. But knowing the coastal development permit issues and hardships, we encouraged them to go for a remodel rather than going through that long and frustrating process, with a promise that their house would not look like a remodel with our design. (Zaha Hadid could not get a permit for her project after so many years of design and redesign of her project in La Jolla). We are happy with the end result, in which nothing was compromised except some construction costs, which was still less than the coastal development permit process would have been. They still saved plenty of time.
A few aspects of the home — the deck and the entry — are inspired by Persepolis buildings and Persian verandas. Can you tell us some more about this influence?
When the owner came to me, they had this idea that they wanted their house to have features from their favorite 2500-year-old Persepolis, a Persian Castle. I was pretty familiar with the building, and also the book Persepolis Recreated helped me to design the building in such a way that if you’re familiar with that particular castle, you would be able to recognize such details as the columns, verandas, entry wall, entry steps, vertical lines, and also fascia-gutter details. And if not, you could still appreciate it as a modern Mediterranean design with influences from Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the windows, entry planters and inside-outside living spaces.
What features of the home should tour-goers be sure to keep an eye out for?
I would like people to look and find the passive solar techniques that have been used through out the house. These are the techniques that I have been giving speeches about throughout the United States. They can see how I implemented what I have been preaching!
One very special feature is the wind catcher, which has been proven (in Persian architecture for thousands of years) to work like magic for creating cross ventilation in the darkest rooms in the basement with no windows .