Tamayouz launches The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture with Mosul Housing Project

The Tamayouz Excellence Award, an independent initiative established in 2012 to encourage and promote architecture across Iraq, has recently announced The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture, with this year’s inaugural theme being ‘Rebuilding the Liberated Areas: Mosul’s Housing’.

Named after prolific Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, the prize invites regional and international architects to propose designs that respond to local challenges in Iraq. The submissions deadline is 4 September.

With the jury board once including renowned industry icons like Zaha Hadid, its current advisory board comprises PPRIBA Angela Brady, Turath Allahoof from the Sorbonne and Ahmed Al Azzawi from Prestige Design, among many others.

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According to the initiative, founded by architect and academic Ahmed Al Mallak, Mosul suffers from a severe housing shortage, with the more than 50,000-unit deficit expected to rise.

While contributing factors to Mosul’s housing shortage can be attributed to the failure to update the city’s 1973 master plan to include formal urban expansion zones, as well as the scarcity of tracts of land for new housing projects, the city is also currently an Isis-stronghold.

The Iraqi government launched an offensive to retake the city in October 2016, and as of now, liberated areas include Nineveh and Mosul’s Left Bank.

The Rifat Chadirji Prize for Architecture serves as a beam of optimism. According to its website, “The conditions for returning refugees and internally displaced persons are extremely challenging. The question of how to support those who wish to return to their homeland will become extremely pressing. Limited resources in terms of finance and land mean that carefully considered material and spatial responses are needed.”

Participating architects are asked to propose a solution for the city’s worsening housing crisis as neigbourhoods may soon be freed, allowing people to return home.

“Until now, there are more than 100 participants from 25 countries,” says Al Mallak. “The majority of participants are from the US, Poland, Iraq, the UK and Italy.”

The competition asks for architects to design a prototype for affordable housing, which can range from a single housing complex to an entire neighbourhood. The winner, to be announced in November, will receive a cash prize of USD 5,000, a medal and a certificate. There are also cash prizes for second and third place, as well as for the project awarded the sustainability award. The first place winner will be invited to attend the Tamayouz Award Annual Ceremony, to be held in a regional city.

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