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Leila Araghian was 26 when she came up with Tabiat bridge. Five years on, the 270-metre structure is a reality, despite sanctions, garnering awards and paving the way for a new, more avant garde generation of Iranian designers
Bridges have always been close to the heart of Iranian identity. Isfahan, Iran’s top tourist destination and a former capital of Persia, boasts two spectacular bridges from the 16th century Safavid dynasty when the city was at the centre of Islamic art and culture.
So it is no surprise that a new hi-tech award-winning structure has appeared in the Iranian capital, Tehran. What is a surprise is that it was designed by a young woman.
Tabiat (“nature”) bridge, the largest of its kind in Iran, was architect Leila Araghian’s first project. She designed it five years ago while a student, winning a local competition for a plan to connect two parks separated by a highway in north Tehran.
It was built over two years and was unveiled in late 2014 by Tehran’s mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. It has since become a popular place for hangouts and morning sports. Last month, as Iranians celebrated an ancient festival of outdoor picnicking, thousands flocked to the bridge. […]