Housing design and construction for post-earthquake victims need consideration of the victims' socio-cultural needs. Due to the particular economic conditions in Iran, hurriedly made post-earthquake emergency shelters often fail in complying with the minimum needs of the occupants. Consequently, such shelters are often either abandoned or transformed substantially, resulting in an overwhelming waste of resources. This paper aims to investigate the transformation process of post-earthquake houses, with attention to the architectural characteristics of the transformations and people's motivational factors for these transformations. The methods used include systematic observations and map analysis of the transformations of post-earthquake houses over a 37 years period (1970-2007) and interviews with the households. Relying upon analysis of the problems of the current post-earthquake houses in Iran, the results recommended that the design for these houses should address: transformability into pre-earthquake patterns and lifestyles, adaptability to new parts/construction besides original dwelling, and capability to reflect different requirement for indoor spatial circulations. The findings therefore proposed the use of mixed 'Temporary-Permanent' housing reconstruction models which involve participation of stakeholders and end users from very early stages of design and developments in order to predict and address the latter transformations issues. This study contributes to both research and practice by proposing new design approaches and guidelines regarding post-earthquake housing reconstruction in Iran.