Iran Museum of Modern Arts Shiraz

The museum of Modern Arts, designed in 1969 by the great Finnish architect Alvar Aalto shortly before his death, rises like an inevitable brick and stone outcropping atop a hill overlooking the city of Shiraz. Nearly 3,000 square meters of exhibit spaces within the elegant structure are complemented by lecture halls, a library and a walled sculpture garden as well as cafeteria and administrative facilities.

The segmented form, completely sheathed in brick masonry, contains an open but divisible exhibit floor which gathers its illumination directly from the sky through glazed and louvered roof surfaces. Aalto identified three aspects of the Iranian sun: glare, heat and light. With his design, he declared, I am stopping the glare, barring the heat, but capturing the light for my building so that you can still see the blue sky of Shiraz.