Ruderal Acts, Gardening Beyond the Wall aims to challenge the image of the garden as an enclosed system within which man controls the natural world, imagining a more open and indeterminate space informed by mutual care and cohabitation. Through careful observation, documentation and presentation, the project suggests a different kind of garden, formed in the left-behind urban and rural sites, ruins and transitional places.

The project takes the abandoned and walled-off Rayy Cement Factory—a site located south-east part of Tehran, Iran—, as a starting point for an alternative idea of a garden. One that benefits from blurred boundaries, is shaped by the organic growth of ruderal species and cultivated by often unintended events: the leakage of a pipe, the shading provided by a brick wall or the migration of flora from agricultural activities. Carrying on this vision through multiple strategies, Gardening Beyond the Wall develops over time not unlike acts in a play, using the city of Tehran as its stage and its citizens as its actors, custodians, and ultimately gardeners.

Arya Arabshahi
Born in Leeds (UK), 1993. Lives and works between Tehran and Brussels. As an architect, his work spans across the fields of territorial strategies for decarbonisation, incremental urbanism and meanwhile use. He has been deeply invested in Iran’s cultural identity and has engaged with related private and public organisations to push the boundaries of existing conventions. He is currently a collaborator at 51N4E, where he is leading the new masterplan for the C-Mine campus in Genk in addition to creating urban policy frameworks for public actors across Europe.Previously he has worked at Arup Foresight and Research, where he co-authored two publications on the future of workplaces and disruptive technologies, as well as co-facilitating workshops for business leaders across the building industry worldwide. He has also collaborated with Arthur de Borman in for exhibition stands in Frieze Masters, TEFAF Art Fair and Galleries Lafayette.In 2018 he co-founded Critical Practice, a platform dedicated to finding common ground among radical pedagogies and visionary practices in architecture.

Love Di Marco
Born in Stockholm (Sweden), 1991. Lives and works in London. His work as an architect investigates the relationship between nature and culture and how critical spatial practice can influence social, ecological and economic policy. He studied architecture at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and completed his studies at the Architectural Association with Pier-Vittorio Aureli and Maria Giudici. Love has led and contributed to a wide range of projects together with Haworth Tompkins, 51N4E, Caruso St John and Mooradian Studio and co-founded the cultural platform Critical Practice in 2018. Love has published articles on the role of gardens in shaping the modern city, the archive as a space of productive conflict and the latent potential of energy infrastructure and has lectured and exhibited his work internationally.

Nafiseh Samadi - Botanist
Amin Yosefi - Photographer
Hadi Zand - Photojournalist
Michela Zoppi - Graphic designer

Special thanks to
Saba Arabshahi
Sepideh Farvardin
Amirali Ghasemi
Neshat Mansouri