Iraq’s new Parliament building

January 17, 2013 at 11:12 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Manx link to Iraq’s new Parliament building

WINNING DESIGN: New Iraq parliament building designed by Assemblage architectsWINNING DESIGN: New Iraq parliament building designed by Assemblage architects

By John Turner
Published on Tuesday 15 January 2013 11:44

A MANX architect and her partner have won a prestigious competition to design the new Iraq parliament buildings.


The project is a historic one marking a new era in democratic politics for the area since the overthrow of Saddam Hussain.

Hannah Corlett and partner Peter Besley are directors of the London-based firm Assemblage which won the international architecture competition to design the new Iraqi parliament complex in Baghdad.

The one billion dollar project includes a large complex of buildings in addition to the parliamentary chambers, as well as a masterplan for the nearby part of the city.

The Assemblage entry won over 130 international architectural companies competing for the prestigious project, and took first prize of $250,000.

Ms Corlett, a former St Ninian’s High School pupil whose mother lives in Onchan, said they were delighted with the result.

‘The competition was run by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and judging took place last summer.

‘They judged our submission and we were told we had won last August but they asked everyone to stay quiet until the official announcement was made,’ she said.

‘It’s not unusual for firms outside Iraq to do work because the situation is so volatile there. My director has been there a few times and we have a good relationship with firms based out there.’

At present the time-scale for getting started on the building is not known.

She said the design had to take account of the setting, surroundings and culture of Iraq as well as the climate.

‘The design is site specific and culturally specific – it’s not a super-imposed design from the West.’

She said the design made use of reflected rather than direct sunlight and the design also allowed for easy access to the various services within the building. There also had to be potential to expand and adapt the buildings.

The Assemblage design for the complex is formed as a pattern of streets – indoor and outdoor – and green courtyards, connecting an arrangement of buildings meeting various functions.

Key buildings and plazas are highlighted, such as the Council of Representatives and the Federal Council.

In total the site covers an area of around 50 hectares and Ms Corlet said they had enlisted help from Kew Gardens to decide which vegetation should be planted on the site to complete the landscaping.

Kew has advised on suitable plants for the climate and the objective is not just aesthetic but navigational – using different plants in different areas helps people to find their way about the site.

The design competition was advertised globally in November 2011 and judged by an independent international panel.

Entrants and the judges remained anonymous. An exhibition of all the projects submitted will take place at a later date.

The success in this competition follows Assemblage’s win in 2012 in the United Nations HABITAT international design competition for housing in Iraq.


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