One of the tallest surviving structures from the ancient world has been totally destroyed by Isil extremists at Nimrud, the former capital of Assyria, which was captured by Iraqi government forces on 13 November. The ziggurat, which was nearly 2,900 years old, was obliterated. Only the largest Egyptian pyramids are higher than Middle Eastern ziggurats and central American step pyramids.
[...] incidents represent “the worst damage that Isil has inflicted on Iraqi archaeology”. — theartnewspaper.com
During his time in power, as head of state and as leader of the all-powerful, secularist Ba’th party, Saddam would oversee an unprecedented program of monumental development across the historic city of Baghdad. This was not limited to monuments of war and hollow bronze shells, but enormous palatial complexes, museums, art galleries, and civic squares [...] marshal it, awkwardly, unevenly, into the post-industrial age, a modern city shaped by the aspirations and egotistical tastes of a despot. — failedarchitecture.com
The Iraqi postal service has issued new postage stamps honoring two of the country's beloved architects: Zaha Hadid, who died in March, and Mohamed Makiya, who died last year at the age of 101.
Hadid and Makiya both changed the perception of architecture in the Arab world and introduced some of the aesthetics of Arabic-inspired architecture in projects around the world. — albawaba.com
Iraq’s earliest Christian monastery has been destroyed by Isil extremists. [...] This seems to have occurred in September 2014, three months after the site on the southern outskirts of Mosul was seized by Isil forces. [...]
If the near-total destruction of Mar Elia is confirmed, 16 months after the event, it is worrying that it went unreported, since it suggests that other Christian sites may have also been destroyed without publicity. — theartnewspaper.com
Islamic State militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum, destroying priceless artefacts that are thousands of years old, in the group’s latest rampage which threatens to upend millennia of coexistence in the Middle East.
The destruction of statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires, revealed in a video published by Isis on Thursday, drew ire from the international community and condemnation by activists and minorities that have been attacked by the group. — theguardian.com
The US Army is looking to recruit the next generation of “Monuments Men and Women” to help preserve sites and cultural property in combat zones and to advise troops on heritage. [...] It is turning to museum directors, archaeologists and preservationists to fill these posts. [...]
With extremist groups such as Islamic State using the destruction of cultural heritage as a tool of war, such expertise is needed more than ever. — theartnewspaper.com
“The cities we’re working on were neglected by Saddam Hussein, so they have little basic infrastructure,” says Elliot Hartley, 36, a director of Garsdale Design. But why can’t Iraqis redesign their own cities? “There has been a massive brain drain of professionals from Iraq over the years, and a lack of investment in local government planning departments, which means that the skills aren’t there – yet,” [...].
More improbably yet, only one member of the family firm [...] has set foot in Iraq. — theguardian.com
Leading British archaeologist and member of the House of Lords, Colin Renfrew, says the destruction of historic mosques in Mosul, northern Iraq, by Islamic state militants (Isis) “is a disaster for the cultural heritage of Iraq, and indeed of Islam”. The Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine in Mosul was destroyed on 27 July, according to unconfirmed press reports. The 14th-century mosque was the latest in a series of holy sites targeted by the jihadist group. — theartnewspaper.com
The mosque was built on an archaeological site dating back to 8th century BC and is said to be the burial place of the prophet, who in stories from both the Bible and Qur’an is swallowed by a whale.
It was renovated in the 1990s under Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein and until the recent militant blitz that engulfed Mosul, remained a popular destination for religious pilgrims from around the world. — arabnews.com
Zaha Hadid has won the scheme to design a new parliament complex in Iraq – despite coming third in the original RIBA-run international competition. — BD Online UK
As militant Sunni fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) continue their assault on Iraq, following their recent take-over of Baquba, President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 275 combat-ready troops to help defend Baghdad and, in particular, the new and expensive...
Designs for a new Baghdad library boasting the largest single-space reading room in the world have taken a step closer to being realised after the architects got the green light to put the project out to tender in September.
The Iraq National Library was devastated by fire and looting when allied troops entered the city in 2003. An estimated 60% of archival materials [...] and 25% of books, newspapers, rare books, historical photographs and maps were destroyed. — theguardian.com
A London architect firm has been declared the winner of an international competition to design a new $1bn Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad.
Assemblage architects was one of 130 firms to put forward a design for the £620million scheme.
But while Assemblage received its $250,000 prize in August, the designs have only just been released as the Iraqi Government had remained in talks with a rival, which came third place in the competition, Zaha Hadid Architects, The Guardian has reported. — dailymail.co.uk
Zaha Hadid on growing up in Iraq, getting the architecture bug, and the legacy of her Olympics Aquatics Centre — guardian.co.uk
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