THE ARCHITECT didn't plan it that way, but when the bullets started whistling through the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and windows were shot out front and back, the solid walls on either side provided protective shelter for the valuable American art hanging on display.

Only one intaglio, by Wanda Miller Mathews, was damaged. Pierced by nine bullets, the engraving now reposes in a vault here at the State Department.There has been a suggestion that it be given to U.S. Ambassador Sullivan as a souvenir.

Between the time of the shah's ouster from Iran and the takeover by militants, the State Department managed, to evacuate all the pictures and sculpture on loan from the Art in Embassies program.

Jane Thompson, who has headed the program since 1972, said yesterday there are currently 4,000 irreplacable works of art in embassies around the world. "None, fortunately, in Afghanistan," she said.

"Lenders" -- many of them among the world's most influential collectors and dealers -- "have been calling," she said. "But we have been assuring them there is nothing to worry about."

As the wife of the late Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, she lived seven years in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. A valuable collection is being put together for that residence for Ambassador Thomas Watson, who has just been recalled for consultation with President Carter.

"Those are perfectly safe," she said. "The Russians would protect them. But art being sent to embassies in the Islamic world is at a halt. We have nothing in Saudi Arabia, but we have things in Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Quatar. . ."

Luci Johnson Nugent should be getting an apologetic telephone call any day from Rep. "Texas Charlie" Wilson.

Hostess Joanne Herring tried playing matchmaker at a recent dinner party, seating the recently divorced Nugent next to the equally eligible Wilson.

Although quite taken with Nugent, Wilson was suddenly smitten with something more viral than a lovebug and had to leave abruptly.

Nugent may or may not come up for one of Wilson's upcoming parties. On Jan. 27 there will be a fund-raiser at Elan where anyone not invited will be just a nobody.

The invitations are promising that the famous will be featured. Included are "Famous Texas Empress Joanne Herring, Famous Texas Husband Bob Herring, Famous Texas Ranger Leon Jaworski, etc., etc.,"

Later this month Wilson will give another party to celebrate the return of "the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," written by fellow Texan Larry L. King.

White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan's close budding and former college roommate, John Golden, has moved himself and his consulting business into an apartment at 1601 18th St. NW.

In Aspen, where many of the Kennedy cousins have congregated to ski, there was a bomb scare in a restaurant where they were eating the other night. Someone got suspicious of a metal carrying case that looked like a portable movie projector that had been left near the Kennedy's When police checked it out, they found that it was a portable movie projector.

The entire "Saturday Night Live" cast seems to be moving in around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on Martha's Vineyard. Now Jane Curtin has bought nearby. And at the zoning hearings on the former First Lady's proposed new mansion last month, her lawyer indicated she intends one day to have her own compound like the one Joseph P. Kennedy built around him for his children at Hyannis Port. Both John and Caroline anticipate building on their mother's vast oceanfront acreage someday. Meanwhile, Mrs. Onassis' architect, Hugh Jacobsen, is in Paris where he is redesigning Talleyrand's 18th-century residence into new office space for the U.S. Embassy.