Architecture in Iraq, Mosul's liberation, Reconstruction in Iraq, Tamayouz Award for Excellence, The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture

Ahmed Al Mallak calls for immediate action in reconstruction efforts following Mosul’s liberation

Ahmed Al Mallak, Iraqi architect, academic and founder of the Tamayouz Excellence Award, an independent initiative established in 2012 to support architecture in Iraq, has called for immediate action in reconstruction efforts for Mosul’s housing, following its recent liberation from Isis earlier this month.

The Tamayouz Excellence Award recently announced The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture, which invites regional and international architects to propose designs that respond to local challenges in Iraq, with this year’s inaugural theme ‘Rebuilding the Liberated Areas: Mosul’s Housing’.

Named after prolific Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, the prize’s submissions deadline is 4 September and winning entries will be announced by the end of October.

“Our plan is to produce a booklet that will be sent to all stakeholders, and we will exhibit the winning entries in Baghdad, Amman, Beirut, London, Coventry, Milan and Boston,” said Al Mallak. “The stakeholders will be invited to the annual Tamayouz Ceremony in December, as well as the exhibition.”

Images of Mosul’s infrastructure following years of conflict

While Al Mallak and the advisory panel, which once hosted Zaha Hadid and now comprises PPRIBA Angela Brady, Turath Allahoof from the Sorbonne and Ahmed Al Azzawi from Prestige Design, will send the results to stakeholders and Iraq’s Ministry of Housing, he’s not certain what will become of the proposals. However, he hopes to use the competition as a tool to pressure the government and potential investors.

“We are lobbying to get influential individuals and organisations to push for short and long term housing solutions,” he says. “Mosul’s liberation means we have to act now, because the displaced population will soon return and without a plan, it will lead to a humanitarian crisis.”

He added: “The Mosul housing competition is now, without doubt, the most important competition of 2017, for the significance of its subject, the potential impact of its ideas and the nobility of its cause. It’s a generation’s opportunity to address and respond to a humanitarian crisis.”

Al Mallak with Rifat Chadirji, courtesy of Al Mallak

By early July, when Mosul’s liberation was announced, The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture had 154 participants (firms and individuals) hailing from 43 countries. The most prevalent countries involved included Iraq, the US, the UK, Poland and South Korea.

“It means architects understand the gravity of the situation,” said Al Mallak, “and they are interested in proposing solutions.”