Iraqi architects convene in Abu Dhabi for reunion
Iraqi architects recently gathered in Abu Dhabi, UAE for a reunion organised by Ban Damlouji, Gulizar Jonian, Uns Al-Shabib and Tarik Al-Ani.
Attracting industry professionals like Dewan’s founder Mohamed Al-Assam, Noor Makkiya and Raya Ani, among many others, the recent reunion was the organisers’ second installment. The first was held in September 2012 in Amman, with over 150 architects, family and friends in attendance.
“Initially, we wanted to bring together architects who were graduates of the Department of Architecture of Baghdad University to reflect on our heritage, renew friendships and learn from our experiences,” said Tarik Al-Ani. “We arranged lectures, a gala and tours of Amman. It succeeded beyond [our] expectations. This year we decided to include all Iraqi architects regardless of where they studied.”
The reunion spanned a weekend in early February, and the programme consisted of lectures, presentations, a ceremony as well as a visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Among the speakers was Mohamed Al-Assam, who presented his work in urban planning in Najaf, Karbala and Kadhimiya as well as Raya Ani, who discussed the Zukak and Mahala Initiative, a people-driven community restoration project for Iraq.
“It was surreal to see my professors after all these years,” said Raya Ani. “As well as catching up with college classmates and other Iraqi architects, with each sharing their experiences and stories. The presentations were all good and it was very important to see what others are working on that relates to Iraq.”
According to Al-Assam, next year’s reunion will be held in Baghdad, and the organisers are expecting an even larger gathering.