The Impact of Women on the Middle class Houses of the Qajar Era (Case Study: Northern Cities of Iran)

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Qazvin Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin, Iran


Gender expresses the social and cultural identity of men and women in society. It has balance or not, considering various factors such as cultural, religious and social beliefs, norms and values, the level of women and men's liberties in the family and society, the structure of power (patriarchy and maternity) and the degree of their cooperation in providing livelihoods. The purpose of this paper is to study definition of gender in the northern cities of Iran and, in particular, to compare this concept in two cultures of Guilan and Mazandaran in the Qajar era. Although it seems that the Qajar houses of Guilan and Mazandaran are very similar to each other because of the climatic similarity of the two regions; but the comparative study reveals differences in the shape and organization of the space, the degree of privacy, the manner and degree of controlling private and public realms; which is due to the importance of gender components in the formation of traditional housing. The present research claims that limits of privacy and the methods of creating visual and physical barriers in the Qajar houses of Guilan and Mazandaran have been distinguished from one another due to different ways of life in these two regions. This paper first considers cultural differences to measure this claim. Then, it studies the effect of gender identity components on the physical structure and spatial structure of the houses by the selection of eight case examples from the middle class houses in the historical context of cities in Guilan and Mazandaran provinces. The results of the analysis show that life style, livelihood, social relations, religion, security and women's veil have influenced the concept of gender and the difference of this concept in the cultural structures of the two communities has caused obvious differences in the ways for making privacy.  


  1. Bastide, R. (1995). Art et Societe. Translation by Qaffar Hosseini. Toos Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  2. Binder, H. (1992). Au kurdistan en Mesopotamie et en perse. Translation by Keramatollah Afsar. Yasaavoli Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  3. Bronberger, C. (1992). Habitat, architecture et societe rurale dans la Plaine du Guilan. Translation by Alaedin Gooshegir. Institute for Cultural Studies and Research Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  4. Brugsch, H. K. (2010). ‎Reise Der K. Preussischen Gesandtschaft nach Persien 1860 und 1861. Translation by Mohammad Hossein Kordbacheh. Ettelaat Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  5. Chermayeff, S. and Alexander, C. (1965). Community and Privacy: Toward a New Architecture of Humanism. Contributor Publisher Anchor Books Doubleday.
  6. Erikson, J. (1994). Dwelling Values Aspects of Housing Quality, ENHR Conference in Glasgow.  
  7. Fazeli, N. (2007). Modernity and Housing (A peer-reviewed approach to the concept of home, rural lifestyle and its current developments), Journal of Cultural Research, First Year, No. I, pp. 25-63.
  8. Flandin, E. N. (1958). Voyage en Perse. Translation by Hossein Norsadeghi. Ishraqi Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  9. Goffman, E. (1959). Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, Anchor Books
  10. Giddens, A. (2008). Sociology, in collaboration with Birdsall, Karen. Translation by Hassan Chavoshian. Ney Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  11. Herbert, T. (1928). Travels in Persia (1622-1627), George Routledges and Sons, Landon.
  12. Khakpour, M. (2007). Architecture of Guilan Houses, Gilan, Encyclopedia of Culture and Civilization of Gilan. Volume 9, Culture of Ilia Publications, Rasht. (In persian)
  13. lang, J. T. (2002). Creating architectural theory: the role of the behavioral sciences in environmental design. Translation by Alireza Einifar. Publishing and Printing Institute of Tehran University Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  14. Martin. K. and B. Voorihles (1975). Female of the Species. Columbia University Press, New York.
  15. Memarian, G. H. (2008). Identifying Iranian Residential Architecture, Extroverted typs. Soroush Danesh Press, Tehran. (In persian)
  16. Naderi, S. (2014), a prelude to the feminine narrative of the city, Tehran: Tisa. (In persian)
  17. Nersicians, E. (2011). "Gender Ethnology". Afkaar Press, Tehran. (In persian)
  18. Newman, O. (1973). Defensible Space: People and Design in the Violent City. Architectural Press.
  19. Nichitin, B. (1975). Iran that I Identified. Translation and writing by Farahvashi. Kanoon Marefat Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  20. Norberg-Schultz, C. (2016). Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. Translation by Mohammad Reza Shirazi. Rokhdad No Press, Tehran. (In persian)
  21. Olearius, A. (1985). The travels of John Albert de Mandelslo, ‎rendred in to English by John Davies. Translation by Ahmad Behpoor, Ebtekar Press, Tehran. (In persian)
  22. ‎Rabino, H. L. (1958). Mazandaran and Astarabad. Translation by Gholamali Vahid Mazandarani, Institute of Translation and Publication of Books Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  23. ‎ Rappaport, A. (1969). House Form and Culture. United State of America, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Publications.
  24. Rappaport, A. (2005). The meaning of the built environment. Translation by Farah Habib. Urban planning and processing company Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  25. Rappaport, A. (2009). anthropologie de la maison. Translation by Khosrow Afzalian. Honarmand Press, Tehran. (In persian)
  26. Sadoughianzadeh, M., 2008, Gender and Space in Tehran, Ph. D theses, Faculty of Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Planning University of Kassel.
  27. Schaefer, F. T. & Lamn, R. P. (1992). Sociology. Mcgraw-Hill, New York
  28. Soltanzadeh, H. (2005). Entrance spaces in traditional Iranian architecture. Office of Cultural Studies Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  29. Sotoudeh, M. (2001). From Astara to Astarabad. Vol. 1-5, Cultural Works Society Publications, Tehran. (In persian)
  30. South, S. Spitze, G. (1994). Houswork in Marital & Nonmarital Households. American Sociological Review. Vol. 59, pp. 327-347.
  31. Stoller. A. l. (1977). ClassStructure and Female Autonomy in Rural Java. Sign 3. pp. 74-89.
  32. Talebi, F. (2009). The old Guilan: Guilan’s Photos from Qajar Era. Illia Press, Rasht. (In persian)
  33. Varmaghani, H. and Soltanzadeh, .(2015), Gender and Sace: public and private realms in Qajar era, Iran, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

Website references

Fazeli, Nematollah (2006). House Culture in Iran, Iranian Journal of Society Sociology. www.