Posts tagged with "Iraq":

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Influential Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji passes away at 93

Rifat Chadirji, an Iraqi architect, author, and critic, passed away on April 10 at the age of 93 from COVID-19. Born in Baghdad in 1926, Chadirji has been hailed as the “father of Iraqi architecture,” and built over 100 buildings across the country during the second half of the 20th century.

Chadirji left Baghdad to study architecture at the Hammersmith School of Arts & Crafts in London. After graduating in 1952, he founded the Iraq Consult IQC, a professional architectural and engineering practice, and moved back to Iraq to design several modernist and postmodernist buildings throughout the country. “From the very outset of my practice,” he once said, “I thought it imperative that, sooner or later, Iraq create for itself an architecture regional in character yet simultaneously modern, part of the current international avant-garde style.” One of the architect’s first and best-known works is the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Baghdad. Built in 1959, the arched monument was an abstracted homage to the arch of Ctesiphon in the ancient Iraqi capital of the Parthian Empire (though the monument was ultimately demolished in 1982 to be replaced by a statue of Saddam Hussein). Chadirji’s design signaled a new path for modern Iraqi architecture and was completed six years prior to Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Chadirji later came to define his aesthetic as “international regionalism” as he set out to design other, larger civic projects throughout Iraq. As forward-thinking as his architecture was, however, Chadirji was also deeply invested in Iraq’s past and ultimately produced over 10,000 photographs documenting the country’s modernization over his lifetime. “I felt that many things were disappearing, and I wanted to document them before they did,” he told arts magazine Ibraaz in 2016, according to The National. “This is what motivated me to create a sort of archive of these things.” The year after the Monument to the Unknown Soldier was demolished, Chadirji no longer saw a place for himself in the country and moved to the United States to become a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He then went on to publish several books, including Portrait of a Father (1985), Dialogue on the Structure of Art and Architecture (1995), and The Characteristics of Beauty in Man’s Consciousness (2013). A month after his 90th birthday in January 2017, the Tamayouz Excellence Award program established the Rifat Chadirji Prize to “introduce Iraq and its challenges to the world and invite them to submit their ideas and to establish an uncompromising open source of ideas tackling social issues in Iraq through design.” Chadirji’s legacy will live on in this prize, as well as in the memory of those who remember the modernist transformation of Iraq he championed.

Call for Entries: Baghdad Design Centre September 9th

Tamayouz Excellence Award is delighted to invite students, designers and architects worldwide to transform the current unused site of the Old Governorate Building into the Baghdad Design Centre in the city's Cultural District, Al-Rusafa. The competition hopes to see a new architectural approach that helps Baghdad celebrate its architecture and heritage. The transformation of the site into a Design Centre that showcases the best of contemporary design and is also a space of creative collaboration forms the basis of the brief. Whilst creating a new and optimistic vision for the future of design within Iraq the proposals should also set a benchmark for the respectful treatment of cultural heritage in a true fusion of the old and the new. ELIGIBILITY Architects, students, engineers and designers are invited to participate in this prize. Participation can be on an individual or team basis (maximum of four team members). We encourage the participation of multidisciplinary teams. SCHEDULE 09 / February / 2018 - Start of Early bird registration. 06 / June / 2018 - Start of the Standard registration. 01 / September / 2018 - Last week for registration. 06 / September / 2018 - Closing date for Registration. 09 / September / 2018 - Closing date for Submissions. November / 2018 - Announcement of Results. December 2018 - Annual Tamayouz Excellence Award Ceremony. All Deadlines are 11:59 pm GMT (London) PRIZES PRIZE WINNER: $5000 + The Rifat Chadirji Statuette + Trip to the 2018 Award Ceremony (Flights & Hotel covered by the organisers) 2nd & 3rd PRIZES: $1000 Each + Certificate + Trip to the 2018 Award Ceremony Flights & Hotel covered by the organisers) PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD $500 + Certificate 7 x Honourable Mentions: Certificates TOP 20 & TOP 50 Published on our website and social media pages THE AWARD CEREMONY: An invitation to attend the Tamayouz Award Annual Ceremony for the Top Three mentioned above (Flight and Accommodation costs covered by the organisers of the prize; Tamayouz Excellence Award), Every year Tamayouz International Award chooses a different city to host the ceremony, in 2017 it was held in Amman - Jordan. This year’s City will be announced later in the year. Download the information related to this competition here. The site is the old Baghdad Governorate Building in Al-Rusafa side of Baghdad (old Al-Rusafa area), the site lies between Al-Rasheed st. to the north, Al-Mutanabbi st., Al-Shuhadaa Bridge and Madrasa Mustansiriya to the east, the Abbasid Palace to the west and Al-Qishla and Tigris river to the south. The partially remaining building fabric on the competition site is what was once the Old Baghdad Governorate Building built in the early 20th century. The Old Baghdad Governorate building was heavily damaged (only the skin of the building remains) due to the looting and the vandalism in the week that followed the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.  The site is currently underused, and have not been properly maintained. The competition site and the skin of the old building are now called Al-Multaqa (the meeting point), where people usually meet before heading to the crowded surrounding areas.
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A snapshot of war with ISIS is on show at the Thomas Jaeckel Gallery

For ten years, British artist Piers Secunda has been capturing the violent manifestations of geopolitics using industrial floor paint. He described himself to me as merely "a guy who collects bullet damage," however, the downplaying ends there. Currently, at the Thomas Jaeckel Gallery in Chelsea, Secunda is exhibiting a collection of recent works that use damage from ISIS gunfire, collected from the recently ISIS-liberated regions of Iraq. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), he explained his work in more detail. "I'm trying to make a forensic quality record, [it] has to be as accurate as possible," Secunda, said, talking of the bullet holes he has accumulated and is now exhibiting. His process involves making molds of bullet holes and then placing their negatives into historical friezes (a video can be seen below). The result of this process is a series of ancient replica reliefs, nearly all of which appear to have been targets in a firing range. Indeed, it was at a firing range where Secunda first delved into the process of bullet hole collection. In Pudong, China, he and a colleague (of sorts) "chatted their way into" a People’s Liberation Army firing range used for executions. After a "long convoluted lie," Chinese officers shot some paint for Secunda and thus his foray into collecting such artifacts began. The endeavor has taken the London-based artist to some areas of more immediate danger, notably Afghanistan where he collected bullet damage from the Taliban. After this, he was invited to the Kurdish regions of Iraq by the Kurdistan government and the Peshmerga (Iraqi Kurdistan military forces). Despite being protected by the Peshmerga, however, Secunda wasn't able to go wherever he wanted. "It was impossible to get to Nimrud or Nineveh, it would have been suicidal to go there," he said. "The best I could do was to go somewhere where ISIS had been recently—a few months or so ago." Secunda was able to get to the town of Daquq where he met its mayor, Idriss Adil. He asked about what ISIS had done and what their impact was. "It's crucial that I know where ISIS attacked from, so I know I'm collecting the right bullet holes and also to get background on the skirmish that took place." Just outside Daquq, Secunda was able to collect samples from a former gunshot peppered school that had been transformed into an ISIS headquarters. Secunda, though, even in this setting, was limited with what he could do. "At one point ISIS were only about 60 yards away," he said. "When men in flack jackets holding machine guns tell you, you can't go somewhere, you do what they say." To "collect" the bullet holes, Secunda uses alginate—a substance usually used in dentistry—and mixes it with a hardener in his hands and then stuffs it into the bullet hole. The mold takes approximately five minutes to set after which Secunda has to rather forcibly pry from the cavity. After this, he goes home to make a high-resolution facsimile of the mold using a high-grade silicone. And so to 532 West 25th Street at the Thomas Jaeckel Gallery. Hung against a blue wall are industrial paint-made reliefs that have these bullet hole negatives set into them. The reliefs range in scale: smaller, Assyrian ones depict hunters and bulls and have smaller bullet holes forged into them; meanwhile, larger, thicker friezes like replicas from the Pergamon Altar span more than fifteen inches and show The Temple of Zeus. In these instances, numerous reliefs are shown, with each having more bullet holes embedded into them. In all these cases, the friezes have a history that can be traced back to where ISIS has been—and inevitably caused destruction. Speaking of the latter example, Secunda described how Zeus lost his body (replaced by bullet damage) and the impact he strives for. "The sensitivity of the interaction with those holes and the rest of the composition heightens the work," he said. "To try and take a figurative sculpture put holes through it in a way that heightens its context and its validity as an image and as a story, that's where the challenge is." In a sense, Secunda is time-stamping the violence that ISIS brought and placing it in an accessible medium that nearly all Westerners will be able to experience. Piers Secunda: ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings is on show through May 6 at the Thomas Jaeckel Gallery.
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The Kurds may have a Libeskind-designed museum

Just this Monday on April 11, Studio Libeskind announced a major controversial new project: the New York based firm is designing a museum to document the art and culture of the Kurdish people, the first of its kind. The Kurdistan Museum will be located in Erbil, Iraq, below its historic Citadel—the city’s original center and a World Heritage Site that some say is the longest inhabited town in the world. The unveiled renderings reveal architect Daniel Libeskind’’s famous sharp edges and strict angles that create a sense of openness and claustrophobia at the same time. (One his well-known project is the Jewish Museum in Berlin). The design for the 150,000 square foot museum features four wings or “fragments” that meet at the center. They represent the four major homes of the Kurds: Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. There are also two paths, a concrete one that the architect calls the Anfal line to represent Kurdish genocide, and the other, a latticed form rising above a garden path, with an eternal flame to represent freedom. Libeskind’s schematic sketches highlight the struggle of the nationless Kurdish people—and how to give form to their past and present, while looking towards the future. In one sketch, Libeskind noted a fracture. But he said there’s also resilience, freedom, and the importance of memory and reflection. “The design had to navigate between two extreme emotions: sadness and tragedy, through the weight of history, and of joy and hope, as the nation looks to the future,” he said in a statement. The museum will hold galleries for permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as an education center, a community space, and more. The Kurdistan Regional Government, along with film and multimedia company RWF World (the client representative), is backing the project. But due to the political nature of the project, funding for the $250 million museum has yet to be secured, with funds being directed toward the current war effort. “The Kurds in Iraq are currently engaged in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS), which has been covered widely by the international media,” said Studio Libeskind in a press release. “The construction of the museum will begin once the region is stabilized and the threat posed by ISIS is minimized.”      
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Zaha Hadid shortlisted to build icon in her home country

Zaha Hadid. BD Online is reporting that architect Zaha Hadid has been shortlisted for the $1 billion new home of the Iraqi parliament. The project will be built on a site of the former Al Muthana airport once slated for Saddam Hussein's partially constructed super-mosque in central Baghdad. The finalists haven't officially been made public, but Iraqi-born Hadid is on the list along with Buro Happold and AECOM. Designs are due in July and a winner will be announced at the end of the year.