During the first part of the 20th century and at the ascension
of the Pahlavi dynasty,
the Khans of the house of Ghiaï de Chamlou decided to support
Reza Shah's modernization
program and eliminated their Princely titles of Beys or Lords by
modernizing their name
to the Ghiaï de Chamlou Family.
Various geopolitical events prompted the Exile of Reza Shah and
the ascension of his son
Mohammed Reza Shah to the throne.
It was also during that politically charged time that Mohammad
Reza Shah had to
temporarily leave his country during an attempted coup d'etat
which failed thanks in part
to the help of the Governor of Teheran, Manouchehr Ghiaï ,
member of the Ghiaï-Chamlou family .
Heydar Gholi Khan Ghiaï-e-Chamlou was born during those
turbulent time on October 23, 1922
today known as Heydar Ghiai, he obtained his baccalaureate at
the German Gymnasium in
Teheran after which he obtained his Doctorate of Architecture at
the University of Teheran
and a second Doctorate at the prestigious " Ecole des Beaux
Arts" in Paris where he
received the title of D.P.L.G. and was awarded the famous " Prix
de Vienne " never awarded
before to a non French citizen.
Upon his return to Iran in 1952, Heydar Ghiai married
Ghiai, an interior Designer
whom he met in Belgium and who graduated from the Belgian "
Academie Royale des Beaux Arts".
with high distinction and with the prestigious " Prix d'Honneur".
Mariette Ghiai has also been a professor at the " Farah Pahlavi"
University in Teheran.
Mariette Ghiai is herself a descendent of a prestigious Russian
family and whose members included
high officers of Tzar Nikolai II, famous musicians, philosophers
and political figures such as Trotski.
The 50's and early 60's were years of unprecedented fame and
success for the young couple.
heydar Ghiai came to be known as the Father of Modern
Architecture in Iran, a teacher
at the University of Teheran, he headed the famed " Atelier
Ghiai" which formed several
generations of Architects.
Until the late 50's, Heydar Ghiai who became the most famous
Architect in Iran, was for the
most part designing for the private sector, such things as
private villas, casinos, movie
theater, office buildings, hotels etc...
The real adventure would start when, due to his extraordinary
reputation, Heydar Ghiai
became noticed by the King who so admired his Architecture, that
he ask the Architect
to design the Iranian Senate Building ( today being used as the
Congress or Madjles ).
An adventure that would forever launch the Family onto high
spheres of government
projects intertwined with the realm of high level politics as
well as geopolitics.
The Senate house was inaugurated in 1956 and became a huge
success and a symbol of
the Country's renewal, however, geopolitics intervened and
another coup d'etat planned
by the US Kennedy administration of the time, prompted the Shah
to leave the country once more
and all his friends and inner circle to be jailed.
Heydar Ghiai fell victim to that situation and was also unjustly
Upon the change of US policies towards Iran following Kennedy's
assassination, the Shah immediately returned and all
his inner circle liberated.
Having felt betrayed by his country and unduly victimized,
Heydar Ghiai decided to leave
Iran. On hearing that news, the Shah immediately summoned his
Architect and convinced him to stay and help rebuild his
Touched by the affections of his King, Heydar Ghiai decided to
From 1965 to 1975, Heydar Ghiai spent the entire decade
designing a series of Imperial
Palaces which were to equal the palaces of Persepolis in scope
He also became the official Architect to the Imperial Court and
acquired the title
of " Aide de Camp" to his Imperial Majesty.
The late seventies marked another turning point in Iranian
politics and the Shah,
wishing for more social reforms commissioned his Architect to
implement the first
nationwide hospital program.
Heydar Ghiai embarked on a most ambitious program to establish
for the whole country and to design 3 major university and 2
major military hospitals.
By that time Heydar Ghiai had the largest Architectural firm in
Central Asia with some
one billion dollars worth of construction at hand.
As three of the six hospitals started construction, once more
the geopolitical scene
changed and in 1978, while western superpowers decided to force
the Shah's departure
and install a theocratic regime in Iran, Heydar Ghiai was forced
into exile in Paris.
Heydar Ghiai passed away in September of 1985 in the Family
at Cap d'Antibes, France.
The year 1979 marked a turning point for the Family.
A Family deeply rooted in one of the most ancient civilizations,
in the highest spheres
of power, fame and fortune, had to suddenly reinvent itself in
the western world.
This task however did not prove to be as daunting as might be
Heydar Ghiai had strong and long standing ties to Europe and was
modern man who's philosophy of life allowed for a great deal of
Heydar Ghiai was not only a Master Architect but a Master
Calligrapher, Painter and
Musician who believed in Nietzsche's philosophy of Man as
He detested the bourgeois mentality of conformism and being set
in once ways and therefore
thought that human beings should constantly reinvent themselves.
He saw the revolution of 1979 as a sad chapter of an unfinished
book, and as an opportunity
to create a new center of power for his family in the western