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Nowzar Hedayati

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Plasco Building

I was planning to write about another topic, but due to the unfortunate event that occurred yesterday, I thought I should be writing about the Plasco Building in Tehran.

Yesterday, on 19th of January 2017, one of Tehran’s most iconic buildings fell after a blaze.

The building’s construction began in 1960 and it was inaugurated in 1962. Built by an Iranian businessman, it symbolized everything about Iran of that time; Modernity, Luxury, and an Economic Progress that was coming into fruition.

Plasco Building was one of Tehran’s first High Rises and its first Shopping Mall. In the first years it was home to many, shop owners, offices, movie producers and luxury restaurants. Later, it became home to the garment producers, clothing stores and pet shops.

I always remember the stories about the building’s glorious days from my parents, and how it was so chic, stylish and fashionable during the 60s and the 70s. Unfortunately, after years of neglect and mismanagement, this magnificent building, fell into a state of disarray. Although the Plasco building was obviously in desperate need of repair in its final years, it still looked glorious. When you looked at it, you could imagine those magnificent days it served the public. As architect I always wondered, what a dream job it would be to renovate this amazing building and bring that beautiful 60s architecture back to life. Unfortunately that dream died yesterday, along with many brave firefighters who rushed into the building to save lives.

This whole tragic event would have been avoided if the city officials would have closed down the building, which the fire department continuously labelled as “unsafe”, because of old wiring system and risky storage by the occupants. But, unfortunately this was likely ignored due to city corruption.

As I am writing this piece, it is still unclear about how many people and firefighters are trapped beneath the rubble. Plasco building is gone, its magnificent past is gone. What stay, are the nice memories from this building and from those incredibly brave firefighters who ran into a burning building, while everyone else was running away.

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