The first step in the design process was to investigate the morphological network of Behesht-E-Zahra Cemetery and Imam Khomeini Shrine. This network was depicted to form the geometry of the site and its components. One of the main design criteria was to create a modest building in relation to the Shrine. Therefore, it was decided to keep the ground as the dominant design element. The entire building spaces were taken underground with only some elements above the ground surface to represent the building.
The underground spaces are in 3 categories:
• Main underground spaces: spaces with high ceilings and vast areas used as platforms for social and group activities. The open plan design of these spaces enables users to perform a wide range of activities. These spaces were designed for experimental and group activities.
• Secondary underground spaces: smaller spaces with lower ceilings relative to the main spaces to be used for administrative and service purposes. Moreover, these spaces could be used as workshops for production of what is going to be showcase in the galleries. These spaces were designed as a platform for discussion and research.
• Connecting paths: these spaces are narrow and lengthy and could be used to showcase artworks. The art pieces produced by the artists in the workshops could be presented in these spaces. This category of spaces were designed as a platform for production and representation.
The design vision in this project gone beyond designing within the site boundary and extended to the adjacent local fabric to form an open museum in the political-historical context of Jamaran area. The proposed physical program includes a pathway which passes through focal points of the cemetery and introduces the visitors to the historical and political importance of this significant landmark of Tehran. There are guidelines implemented along this path to provide important information about the site. This pathway eventually reaches the interior pathway of the museum.