Architecture, Architecture competitions, Architecture heritage, Middle East architecture, Rifat Chadirji Prize, Tamayouz Excellence Award

Tamayouz Excellence Award launches 2018 cycle of Rifat Chadirji Prize

International architecture initiative Tamayouz Excellence Award has recently revealed the theme of its Rifat Chadirji Prize for 2018.

Named after the prolific Iraqi architect, the competition is currently seeking design concepts that transform the old Baghdad Governorate Building into a design centre.

Images courtesy Tamayouz Excellence Award

Located in Al-Rusafa, on the eastern side of the Tigris River in Baghdad,  the building was originally built by a German architect during Ottoman rule in the early 20th century. Today, despite decades of neglect, the structure’s facade and walls still stand.

According the competition’s site, the governorate building was heavily damaged due to the surge in looting and vandalism that occurred in the week following the 2003 US invasion. Called ‘Al-Multaqa’, or the meeting point, the site is a local landmark where people meet before heading off to nearby crowded areas, like Al Rasheed Street or the Al-Mutannabi book market.

“This year’s theme is Baghdad’s architectural heritage,” said Tamayouz founder, Ahmed Al-Mallak, “and the reason behind it is to raise awareness of the attacks on Iraq’s art, heritage and culture.  [Since 2003], 700 historical buildings out of 1,300 have been lost, according to various news reports.  The majority of Iraq’s heritage buildings have become victim to two negative approaches: either they are intentionally or unintentionally neglected, which leads to their collapse, or they are unlisted and replaced with modern, low-quality developments.”

He added, “We are hoping to see a new architectural approach that helps Baghdad celebrate its heritage and raise awareness of the importance of maintaining all the layers of the city’s history and heritage.  We hope to create a new and optimistic vision for the future of design within Iraq and see proposals that also set a benchmark for the respectful treatment of cultural heritage [sites] by truly fusing the old with the new.”

While the initiative was launched in 2012 and celebrates a range of categories that support architecture for and from Iraq, this year is its second cycle of the Rifat Chadirji Prize. Last year, it asked for architectural solutions to Mosul’s housing shortage.

The registration deadline is 9 September, 2018 and the winner receives a $7500 cash prize as well as a trip to the 2018 award ceremony. There are also prizes for second and third place, as well as the highly commended.