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DuPont and Desert Development in Iran, 1974-79
Gabrielle Printz
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This essay traverses linked scales of development by DuPont, centering on its Iranian joint venture, Polyacryl Iran Corporation. This brief episode of petrochemical development took place where the global supply chain linked oil to polyester, amid the corporate and architectural patronage of the late Pahlavi era, and in the literal ground of the desert outside of Isfahan. Over the course of construction and plant startup (1975–79), DuPont’s synthetics mythology acted on the desert site and local labor, understood to be similarly amenable to transformation. The relatively minor part played by architects Moira Moser (Khalili) and Nader Khalili in this process are also curiously cast in terms of plasticity, something they attributed to the landscape and its capacity for change.

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