Of all the ways to empower a community, architecture can be one of the most significant catalysts for meaningful social transformation. That was the thinking behind Tehran-based ZAV Architects’ design for the Majara Residence, a gathering of holiday houses, restaurants and shops completed last year on Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf. Rather than the high-rise, high-spec rental apartments typically favoured in the region, the firm created around 200 colourful, small-scale, super-adobe domes using stacked sandbags filled with earth dredged from the dock. Inspiration came from the surreal rocky topography on Hormuz, nicknamed the Rainbow Island due to its red, mineral-rich terrain. This is life-altering architecture with foundations that go deeper than bricks and mortar.