Tamayouz Excellence Award, Rifat Chadirji Prize 2018, COdESIGN, Concept Proposals, Baghdad Design Centre

COdESIGN creates 'walled village' for Baghdad Design Centre competition

Dubai-based architecture, interior design and landscape design practice COdESIGN has revealed images of its concept for the Baghdad Design Centre.

Created for Tamayouz Excellence Award’s Rifat Chadirji Prize, which called for architectural solutions that transform the Baghdad's old governorate building into a design centre for its 2018 cycle, COdESIGN’s concept features a ‘walled village’ that consists of public spaces, an intruded piazza, water features and a small garden.

Around this core, a system of small buildings sits behind the existing facades that remain from the original governorate building and which were integrated into the new structure.

"The new volumes of the design centre have a peculiar relationship with the existing facades,” wrote the architects. “On the upper floor, the former openings of the existing building are used as clerestory opened windows that allow views from the open-air passageway. On the ground floor, some of the rectangular openings are used as actual windows, bringing light inside the different volumes.

“The two main entrances to the public space of the citadel make use of the original doorways on the facades, while a third entrance sits where the existing fracture on the walls was, giving access to a public grand staircase and the café entrance, and also acts as a seating area overlooking both the existing urban landscape and the new design centre,” they added.

Public functions, including an exhibition space, administration and information point, are located on the ground floor and face the inner square. Private functions, such as workshop spaces and classrooms, are located on the upper floor.

The site applies brick and concrete as its main materials, while terracotta pergolas offer shading. Together, the combined elements offer visitors a link to local construction material and a familiar atmosphere.

COdESIGN was awarded Tamayouz’s People’s Choice Award and received honourable mention. Commenting on the design, the jury said, "Inside this walled village, the footpath leads to a public square as well as a more private inner courtyard, dividing the site and giving it a sense of hierarchy. The surrounding wall has been respectfully treated."

“We are very proud to have our project awarded twice in such a prestigious competition,” said Anna Cornaro, founder and partner at COdESIGN, and associate professor at the American University in Dubai.

“We’ve been selected for the People’s Choice Award by a board of 20 Iraqi architects and academics who represent most of the architecture schools in Iraq, heritage specialists and the Iraqi architectural community," she added. "We are proud to put our 20 years of experience in heritage at the service of the Iraqi community. Starting with this important achievement, COdESIGN is open to discussions with Iraqi authorities to develop the project.”