World Architecture Festival 2019, WAF Awards 2019, Baghdad Design Center, Tamayouz Excellence Award, Concept design, Architecture awards

Concept for Baghdad Design Centre gets shortlisted for WAF Award

A concept proposal for a design centre in Baghdad, Iraq has been shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2019 in the Future Projects - Competition Entries category.

Created by Dubai-based architects Islam El Mashtooly, Steven Velegrinis, Eslam Salem, Abdelrahman Magdy and Ahmed Salah, the project was originally designed for Tamayouz Excellence Award's Rifat Chadirji Prize 2018, which prompted architects to create architectural solutions that transform Baghdad's old governorate building into a design centre. The concept, titled ‘The Cultural Canyon’, was shortlisted for Tamayouz's award and honourably mentioned.

“In our scheme, the buildings take from the form of a cultural canyon – a place where both the sky and enclosure are present,” said the architects. “A place where people inhabit the space in a way that renders them both held and free.”

Read more: UK firm Brooks Murray Architects highlights winning design for Baghdad Design Centre competition

The centre's design and its landscape are based on a sensitive approach to the city’s cultural landscape. The building’s forms also encourage people to move easily between the centre and the surrounding city, as its port promenade and pedestrian footbridge link the project to its environment.

“This flexible access not only invites the visitors, but also serves as a key cultural space for the community,” said the architects.

They added, “The skyline is composed by independent volumes highlighted by a landmark tower. These geologically inspired fragments contain art exhibition spaces and allow strong integration with outdoor display and event spaces. The vertical sky galleries offer a new perspective over the city of Baghdad by bringing people up to a level where they can see the entire landscape of the city.”

WAF will reconvene in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 4 to 6 December, during which architects and designers behind each shortlisted project will compete for category prizes to more than 100 international juries and in front of festival delegates.

Read more: One month left to nominate female architects for Tamayouz's women's award

Category winners then compete against each other on the final day of the festival, to compete for the ultimate accolades of World Building of the Year, Future Project of the Year, Interior of the Year and Landscape of the Year.

WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: “We have been inspired by the levels of innovation in this year’s entries, that show the incredible range of ways in which architects are responding to the global climate and biodiversity emergencies we face