Nooshin Shafiei

Nooshin's research, entitled Reconstructing the Saqqa-khaneh in the 21st Century: Designing Traditional Devotional Architecture for a Contemporary Context focused on the saqqa-khaneh, a public fountain that, since Safavid times, has been a feature of the urban landscape in Iran. Neglected by scholars, who have just begun to consider the influence of Shi’ism and Shi’ia devotional ritual and practices on Islamic architecture, Nooshin used her work as an artist and placed a project of creating a saqqa-khaneh for a London setting at the centre of the research. Guided by this process, extensive fieldwork, including a visual survey of extant saqqa-khanehs and prolonged observation of devotional practice and ritual in these settings, was augmented by interviews and participation. Her findings were integrated and guided her creative process informing design and making. Both the fieldwork and arts practice led to the conclusion that these buildings, although neglected in relation to their contribution to popular Iranian culture, were still relevant to contemporary life. The project created for the research now serves a community in London and Nooshin hopes one day to create a second saqqa-khaneh in Iran.