Completed Theses

Hamed Khosravi – Camp of Faith: on political theology and urban form


1 Theological Categories of Space
2 Spaces of Sovereignty
3 Camp of Faith
4 The City as Political (re)Forms
5 Space of Resistance

Hamed graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran (2004), he holds his Master degree from the Iranian University of Science and Technology in Architecture (2007). Since 2002 he joined Bonsar Architecture Studio in Tehran where he worked as architect till 2007. In 2009, got his post-graduate Master in Urbanism from the EMU program in TU Delft and Istituto di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV). As a researcher he collaborated with Studio09 (Secchi-Vigano) in Le Grand Pari(s) project, and Vereniging Deltametropool for the SprintStad project.


To explore the theological and political foundations of the idea of city, the thesis argument is constructed based on the very idea of the political, which is determined by the specific constitution of opposed unities; a dichotomy between the sovereignty of state and the movements, which contest its legitimacy, between norm and exception, between friendship and enmity, inclusion and exclusion. Nevertheless it stresses on a very dynamism, while the opposing forces motivate or shape a creative tension: the state of antithetical, which becomes spatialised in the form of city.

This political understanding of the concept of city has always been entangled into the theological polemics. In fact the very notion of separation, which is embedded in the theology, here becomes a fundamental concept, when an ideological power aims to define itself through the act of exclusion. The spatial dimension of this dialectical process lies in moment of conflict when the opposing forces collapse and projects are initiated. Cities, thus, become laboratories of projects and counter-projects; through which the space is shaped, organised, and controlled.

Tehran is one of the few (if not the only) contemporary metropolises, where the projects of the modern state are manifested through the spatial apparatuses. The ultimate goal of the research consequently is to evaluate the premises of the historical investigation into an alternative reading of the city as the representation of the ideological power. This very reading will not be limited to the historiographical narrations; by questioning the relationship between the role of historical knowledge and the position of architect-scholar toward the city, it employs series of paradigmatic examples that exist over the limits of time and geography. Therefore, here, the concern is not so much stylistic period, but rather is the issue of continuity; specific conception of space which has remained constant despite the advent technological and economical development: reading the city as series of inhabitable walls.

Posts by Hamed Khosravi

The garden not only creates a minimum condition for a life, but it is the spatial device through which the power of the sovereign dominates the territory. In the harsh landscape of Iran gardens were micro-cosmos; camps that protected life and let it flourish within the tabula rasa.


The term medina renders a political power associated with a territorial dimension. In fact, medina can be understood as a “space of sovereignty”, while it affirms a form of settlement, which is fundamentally shaped, defined and controlled by a theological political power.

What is a city? How is it constituted? What are its functions? How is it to be governed? Who are its citizens? How should it look like? In the 18th century French intellectuals proposed novel formulations of such questions, radically changing the practice of urban planning and ultimately redefining the very idea of the city.


The original description of paradise in the Avesta explicitly illustrates an image of an earthly place. “It signifies and has the sense of a dwelling place, earthen enclosure, of those intimately associated with death:” the place where you should eat and wear clothes, the place that you should live in: the city.

A PhD seminar held in Rotterdam, April 8th 2010 From the standpoint of writing the history of the avant-garde in architecture, there is no book more rigorous, challenging, and poetic than Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth, where the fragments of the history of neo-Avant-garde, like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, have been […]