Note on the Second Edition
Mansions in Iranian historic cities are representative of the humane, pleasing, and beautiful architecture which was home to our forefathers. It is our responsibility today to take care and conserve these monuments that still brighten up our spirits. This responsibility is not only because we can then find out about the culture and lifestyles of the past, but also because the architecture serves us a way to learn for our future designs. These mansions were built with way simpler materials, more basic technology, and with much less information at hand than today. But how is it that they immediately engage our heart and soul and induce peace and delight? What are the secrets and symbols in the architecture? How did the creators of those buildings think, and what principles did they apply in their designs? What were their thought-out methods and procedures in creating such works and such spaces?
The context of these buildings is complimentary to architecture, although it may seem that their design is introvert and does not deal with the exterior. In other words, architecture and its context are both incomplete and meaningless without one another. In this regard, a historic monument located inside a fragmented, modified, or even erased town fabric poses as an incomplete, ambiguous architectural work—and this is a fundamental issue facing our historic towns and buildings, among them those of Esfahan. If we ignore this ongoing process, it would be no long that our cities lose their original form and our historic monuments be deprived of their architectural integrity and legibility. This would either impede or even bar further study of our urban and architectural history, burying with it the rich, cultural and artistic backbone in the works which can lead our designs today and in the future.
There are twenty-one mansions introduced in the fourth volume of the Ganjnameh series, representing a handful of myriad traditional houses in Esfahan—we know little about how many have remained. In the sixteen years since the first edition of the volume, most of the houses have suffered from more damage and deterioration, and their surroundings have also been extensively transformed. In this edition, the text has been revised, the drawings reviewed and more accurately redrawn and digitized, and new photographs have been taken of the monuments in order to represent them more comprehensively in a refined, high-quality publication. “Let us see into what acceptance will fall; and, into vision, what will come” [Hāfiz].