Iranian hardliners are refusing to recognise a new building next to the city theatre as a place of worship

When the Tehran authorities commissioned the construction of a mosque near the city theatre – one of Tehran’s most distinctive buildings – it was always going to be a tricky balancing act for the architects to design something unique that did not eclipse the adjacent structure.

The theatre, which was built before the 1979 revolution, has a spectacular tiled circular structure with external pillars and is the largest exclusive space in Iran for performing arts. The new mosque next door is a modern building that sits in harmony with it, sweeping from the ground towards the qibla (the direction of Mecca), allowing sunlight through windows embedded on a wave-like structure.

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