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Dafineh Under Restoration

Mostazafan Foundation says it was under no obligation to inform cultural heritage officials about its intention to restore the iconic site
The building’s architecture was inspired by the works of late American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.The building’s architecture was inspired by the works of late American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Due to a lack of funds and staff, Tehran’s cultural heritage authority has been unable to inscribe Dafineh on the National Heritage List

Mostazafan Foundation has rejected claims that it is demolishing the iconic Dafineh Museum in Tehran’s Mirdamad neighborhood, stressing that their only intention is to restore the site.

Reports emerged eight months ago that the foundation was planning to raze Dafineh, a museum in uptown Tehran whose exterior design was inspired by the works of late American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This prompted cultural heritage officials in Tehran to question the foundation’s intentions.

However, recent photos of the museum’s interior show torn-down walls and ceilings, raising concern among officials and activists that the Mostazafan Foundation was going ahead with its plans.

On Friday, the protection unit of the provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization arrived at the museum and prevented further destruction of the site’s interior.

However, the foundation is adamant that they have no plans to demolish Dafineh.

“We have no intention of destroying the structure,” Mohammad Ali Tajik, public relations officer at the foundation, told ISNA. “We’re only restoring the building and strengthening the structure.”

He said a survey of the building concluded that it had become weak and was at risk of falling apart, so swift action was needed.

“We discussed our plans with Kamal Kamooneh [the architect of Dafineh] and made sure the restoration wouldn’t lead to any outward changes … The architecture will remain intact,” Tajik said.

To ensure the site is immune from any damage, ICHHTO is preparing a dossier for Dafineh to have it inscribed on the National Heritage List.

“We’re short on money and staff, which makes the inscription process very difficult” but these are extraordinary circumstances, Sepideh Sirousnia, deputy for cultural heritage and the provincial ICHHTO, was quoted as saying by the news agency.

The site on the heritage list receives funding for its upkeep and protection, and cannot be demolished.

In response to why the foundation did not apprise cultural heritage officials of its intention to restore the site, Tajik said, “We were under no obligation tell them … That’s only necessary when you want to demolish a site, not restore it.”

Established in 1979, Mostazafan Foundation is the second-largest commercial enterprise in Iran and the biggest holding company in the Middle East. It accounts for 1.5% of Iran’s gross domestic product.

Also known as Money Museum, Dafineh’s collection includes coins (1,400 pieces) and bills (700). It is also home to 700 relics not related to money.

 

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