Leila Araghian, born in Tehran in 1983, is an Iranian architect. She studied architecture at Shahid Beheshti University in Iran. She later received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of British Columbia, where she won the UBC Architecture Alumni Henry Elder Prize.
In 2005, Araghian co-founded Diba Tensile Architecture together, with a colleague, Alireza Behzadi, a company specializing in the design, manufacture and installation of membrane structures. She was chief architect and designer of the Tabiat Bridge in Tehran, a pedestrian bridge opened in late 2014 which has won several prizes, including the Popular Choice award in the Highways and Bridges category of Architizer's 2015 A+ Awards.
Araghian's Iranian heritage has restricted her international exposure; she was not allowed to enter the World Architecture Festival and top UK architecture competition because of sanctions against Iran's government. Araghian herself spoke out against the sanctions:
"This is ridiculous, I'm an Iranian architect and this is a cultural activity, it has absolutely nothing to do with politics." She was deeply disappointed by such sanction targeting only ordinary people like her, and she added: "This is very discriminatory".
In 2016, Diba Tensile Architecture won the prestigious Aga Khan Architecture Award.
Tabiat Bridge, Tehran
Tabiat Bridge, Tehran (courtesy of Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh)