By Robert Tollast.
Iraqi architect Rif’at al Chadirji has been awarded the 2015 Tamayouz Architectural Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony at the University of Coventry, UK.
Michael Fitzpatrick, the Dean of Engineering and Computing at the university, presented the award which was announced on line in English and Arabic (video.)
The architect and author was interviewed by a representative from the university on receiving the award, and he said he hoped it was a sign that architects in Iraq would get greater appreciation in a country that typically honours its poets and writers.
Chadirji studied in London and worked on his first building, a block of flats, in 1953. He rose to professional prominence in the ensuing years but was eventually jailed for several months by President Hasan al Bakr of the Ba’ath regime.
As Saddam Hussein took charge in 1979, Iraq plunged into a period of worsening autocracy and war. Chadirji subsequently left Iraq in 1982.
Quoted in 2003, Chadirji said he believed that if Iraq could become a free society, it would be “at the vanguard” of international architecture.
Born in 1926, the architect’s work includes the Baghdad Central Post Office and the National Insurance Company building in Mosul. He is also the author of several books on architecture, something considered by the awarding panel, which also honoured Chadirji’s contribution to architectural theory.
(Source: University of Coventry)