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Kish, an Unique White Coral Island in the Middle East

Author & Photos By: Ahmad Zohadi

Published in 2A Magazine issue 46, Summer 2021

And 2A Center of Architectural Researchers & Developments
Summer 2021

Kish Island is among the most beautiful islands in the world in the north east of Persian Gulf. The white coral island, now known as fish or the pearl of the Persian Gulf, is a resort island in Bandar Length County, Hormozgan province off the southern coast of Iran and known as one of the most important tourist resorts in Iran.
Known as Ghays in the past, the island went through numerous evolutions however the accumulation of coral reefs during different geological periods had played a great role in the emergence of Kish Island.

Kish Island, Urbanism of Tourism

In Kish Island there is little difference between holiday accommodation and housing. Architectural programs are becoming fused and undifferentiated.
The morphology of the landscape and seascape is becoming fabricated to the point that it may soon be difficult to differentiate between the natural and the constructed.
As Briavel Holcomb points out in his essay “Marketing Cities for Tourism”, in the tourist realm”It is the consumer, not the product that moves. Because the product is usually sold before the consumer sees it, the marketing of tourism is intrinsically more significant than the conventional case where the product can be seen, tested, and compared to similar products in situ. It means that the representation of place, the images created for marketing.

The Kish Island Architectural Structure:

Kariz underground city: The world-famous underground city is a combination of Iranian art and the beautiful nature of the island. This city is one of the reasons where both local and international tourists travel to southern parts of Iran. Kariz history goes back to 2500 years ago. 16 meters below the ground level, is one of today’s spectacular and entertaining destinations which reveals the artistic taste of that times’ Iranian artisans and architectures. The unique characteristics of this coral underground structure are including fresh clear water stream, coral ceilings covered by ancient fossils and last but not least inside cool air which made this city one of the most attractive sight-seeing not only in Iran but also in the whole world.
With an area of almost 100 hectares, this ancient city is one of the Kish tourist’s attractions.
Native architecture:
This type of architecture could be found in Saffin, Baghoo, Dihoo and Mashe, which would be recognized as tourist attractions and could be copied to re-build bionic and organic structures.
From the other hand, organic architecture demands to.
apply natives and organic materials which comply with local geography and surrounding nature. Most of the structures are formed in a simple style which contains small court yard at the center. These types of structures attract cultural tourists so their restoration and reconstruction needs to be considered. It is worthy to mention that traditional mosques belong to the same era.

Native structures [Pre-revolution (Mercury) architecture]:

During the second Pahlavi era and in the 60s and 70s, construction projects were mainly concentrated in the east and north parts of the island. The focal point to develop Kish in that period was to turn this island to one the competitive tourist destination among other prominent Middle East destinations. The modern buildings were constructed by up- to-date technology and relevant materials which were in harmony with the rest of structures, following specific bylaws. The first step was to build military airport and to settle air force in Kish. Compilation of the initial Kish Master plan along with construction of infrastructure projects such as airports, ports and accommodation spaces were also included in Master plan and through public budgets these projects were executed. Regarding the very limited sources of information about this type of architecture, numerous possibilities should be considered. Before 1979, the basis of Kish development was planned according to a Master plan which was designed by a professional and accredited
company, named Mercury Consortium; the one whom was in charge of launching it as well. The above mentioned company’s personnel (around 6-8 thousand people) entered Iran with support of Pahlavi the 2nd and started the project in connection with so many different foreign corporations.

Dreaming Kish Island

The dynamics that move the organization of the contemporary city continuously escape the remits of total comprehension and interpretation:
hence the urban experience is characterized by its mutable and contradictory nature in which the market forces determine changes and metamorphoses. These mutations simultaneously deeply modify the complex dynamics of spatial and temporal usage within the contemporary city.However, it could be argued that society also assists this relatively new phenomenon of transformation of the city, due to necessities caused by deep econom- ical changes.
That’s the case of what’s happening in Kish, meanwhile, Services such as financial institutions, scientific research but mainly hotels and avant-garde architectural design aid the transformation of Kish Island into one of the most luxurious places in the Persian Gulf region.

Kish’s Urban Art

Modern sculpture is considered one of the most important arts in Kish Island and valuable artworks have been made Iranian Artists in different space of the city.
These arts are a picture of the artistic aspect of the island and it is one of the dimensions of urban attractions which brings visitors culture and art tourists.

Various Dimensions of Cultural Identity in Kish Island

Kish, a real place with fiction like sceneries, like a famous and good quality movie to walk into that is nowhere near finished after a few min but rather points to the future, is present in our eyes constantly through the aggressive marketing campaigns. People tend to develop their own vision of Kish through
the transmitted imagery. Images as in architectural visualisation try to predict a possible reality. If those imagined realities achieve to create an “emotional
atmosphere” the viewer will have a prompt access to the picture and, therefore, to the imagined place.
The suggestion of a yet unexciting space supports the expectations that are created before travelling to the destination.
Alain de Bottom calls that the “abstracted version of reality”. People create a much brighter vision of what they call vacation. Vacations are the cementations of our dreams how “live will be apart from the daily pressure”.
One tends to leave out the conventional things, such as travelling time, waiting for a bus or being stocked in traffic. In our fantasy vacations are free of any regulations or rules that we have to deal with in our daily life. Only after the arrival at the desired destination people realise that there is a reality behind the fantasy.

The City of the Shopping Mall

‘The City of the Shopping Mall’ examines how the traditional commercial and retail aspects of the city have been reconfigured into privately managed ‘public spaces’ when set against the backdrop of the rapid urban expansion of twenty-first century Kish.
Many of today’s Persian Gulf cities are virtually unrecognizable from the quaint fishing and oases settlements of two generations ago. The vision of various rulers concerning the realizing of modern, thriving communities, has been inherited by their successors, some of whom in turn have taken this notion to unsurpassed levels of excellence.
Contextually there is no better measure of quality and innovation than the sheer audacity of notable landmark developments, several complemented by imaginative interiors and fine art contents.
Kish Island is exciting and, for the present, a quite unique city that already has and will continue to require great architecture. This need not be measured in terms of unique types of qanat or Kish Dolphin Park. It would certainly help if there were a consensus of what architecture comprises, particularly from an urban and interior position, where an innovative architecture approach, that considers the building user’s psychological and environmental comfort along with the cultural and geographical context, is given precedence.

Kish Island on the Beach, On Life Style and Beach Culture

This text will develop two ideas to understand why Kish is creating as many kilometers of beaches as possible and the consequence of those developments.
The first reason is to attract the wealthy as, in this first part of the 21st century, the rich are never being richer and are looking for new destination, where they will be safe, being able to spend their enormous fortune, while looking for fun and excitement. This situation is similar to the one that has developed leisure destination during the industrialization in the 19th century, when rich British families created, for example, Nice as a winter destination before it became a summer one. The second idea is that beaches, are still seen as the most desirable destination to spend time with family in the developed world as well a in the developing one.
The design of the shore is offering real and unique public spaces. Public beaches, a beach park and an urban port deserve studies. But before describing it, We focus on the invention of seaside resort in order to trace the possible origins of some of Kish’s spatial touristic.

The beautiful Nature of Kish Island

Kish Island is home to about 193 species of birds. Coral reef fish are the most beautiful fish in the world, which are divided into three categories, carnivorous fish, herbivorous fish and coral – eating fish, that they live in the Kish Island.
Sea fish and turtles are also domestic animals on the island.