Leila Araghian opens the 2017 spring lecture series

Jan 19, 2017

A series of public talks that contribute to the intellectual life of the city

Each year, we invite notable practitioners and speakers from around the world to participate in our ongoing lecture series. To begin this year’s series, SALA alum Leila Araghian of Diba Tensile Architecture travelled from Tehran to speak about designing the Tabiat pedestrian bridge. For this project, she won the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Although Leila has given quite a few talks since receiving the prestigious award, she was excited to be presenting at the school where she earned her Master of Architecture degree. During her talk, she remembered discovering a small bridge in the alleys of Tehran. On it, there was a discarded couch where she and a friend sat and watched the water pass below.

Bridges are normally places of transit, mere vehicles for the purpose of passing between two points. But by remaining within this site, Leila was able to observe the beauty of the space.

When designing the Tabiat bridge, Leila drew on this experience. During her lecture, she spoke about finding inspiration in the Khajou bridge of 1650, which was built with the explicit purpose of allowing people a place to sit and connect with the water flowing underneath.

Leila compared the various paths that are available to travel within her bridge as symbols for choices people make throughout life. “You make your choice and you don’t go back,” she said. “From there, you make another choice. This becomes your path.”

Today, the Tabiat pedestrian bridge provides a place for people to stay and enjoy a fantastic view of Tehran and the mountains to its north. Leila designed a bridge that does more than just provide a connection between two destinations; the Tabiat bridge is a place that people enjoy all on its own. 

Our lecture series engages the public in a dialogue around contemporary design issues. Students, alumni, professionals, and members of the community attend it. As the only ongoing architecture and landscape architecture lecture series in Vancouver, the talks inspire conversations about sustainability, technology, professional leadership, and design. The spring series continues until the end of the March with seven more speakers. Please consider making a donation that will directly support future lectures.