For the first decade after its victory, the Iranian revolution (1979) was dominated by an uncompromising Islamist ideology, invoking the Islamic and vernacular traditions. A logical arena through which Islamism could act upon people’s daily lives was public housing, the design and construction of which is controlled by the government, and its constituents are the masses who mostly adhere to Muslim traditions and espouse forms of Islamic identity in their daily life. Referring to a selection of projects from a series of government housing competitions held in 1986, we examine the relationship between the submitted designs and architectural precedents cited as constituting “Islamic architectural heritage.” Elaborating on the heritage processes involved in articulating the past in these designs, we trace the interrelationships between these designs and other, non-Islamic, architectural discourses and design procedures deriving from a Western context. We argue for rethinking the relationship between heritage and architectural design, such that the latter is seen as the process of refashioning fragments of past traditions into heritage, in this case, a purportedly Islamic form. Concurrently, we show the gap between ideological rhetoric and the praxis of design and remarkable continuities between the periods leading up to and following the revolution.