Int'l Architectural Competition to Rebuild Al-Nouri Mosque

UNESCO launches an international architectural competition to rebuild Al-Nouri mosque

UNESCO calls on talents around the world to participate in an exclusive International Architectural Competition for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Al-Nouri Mosque Complex, funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Joining the initiative "Revive the spirit of Mosul" is a unique opportunity to change the lives of the people of Mosul and help them rebuild their city after Daesh's occupation.

The competition calls for a conceptual design, which includes the conservation of the standing structures of the prayer hall and its integration into the new buildings, as well as the rehabilitation of some historical buildings and their integration into the new designs, including the landscaping design of the entire site.

By creating new spaces dedicated to the community - for education, social and cultural activities - the project envisions a space to serve community in ways which go beyond its principal religious function.

The competition opens on 16 November. There will be an open call for proposals based on an anonymous design submission which is open until 26 March 2021. The winner will be announced next spring.

An international jury composed of 9 members and 2 alternate members will select the winning designer and the four runners-up. The jury and its alternate members, in alphabetical order, are: Ms. Howayda Al-Harithy(Saudi Arabia), Mr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Omari (Iraq), Ms. Raya Ani (Iraq), ), Mr. Xavier Casanovas(Spain), Ms. Amel Chabbi, (United Arab Emirates), Ms. Shahira Fahmy (Egypt), Mr. Dominique Perrault (France), Mr. Wang Shu, (China), Ms. Marina Tabassum (Bangladesh), Ms. Shadia Touqan, (Palestine), Mr. Jerzy Uścinowicz, (Poland).

A worldwide outreach campaign will invite architects, engineers and students from around the world to submit a design proposal for the Al-Nouri Mosque Complex. It is especially important to encourage the people of Iraq to participate in their own history-making and reconstruction.

"The reconstruction and rehabilitation of this important historical complex sends a strong signal of resilience and hope, as a first step towards social cohesion and reconciliation in post-conflict Iraq," stated UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay.

"Indeed, historical sites and monuments arepowerful symbols of belonging, community, and identity, whose rehabilitation will facilitate Moslawis in recovering their memory of their vibrant and emerging city". Since its construction in the second half of the XII Century, The Al-Nouri complexhas been a core site in the life and development of the city of Mosul.

"The launch of this architectural competition is an opportunity for world talents to participate in rebuilding the Al-Nouri Mosque and the Al Hadba minaret. This means restoring respect for Iraq's heritage and more specifically, Mosul's heritage," said the Minister of Culture of Iraq, Hasan Nadhem. "It is about rebuilding the people's memory and restoring the damage that Da'esh left behind."

"The International Architectural Design Project Competition for the design of the Al Nouri mosque complex was born out of our firm belief that a project of this importance must ensure wider community participation," said UAE's Minister of Culture and Youth, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi. "Al Nouri mosque and its magnificent Al Hadba minaret embody the civilizational essence of Mosul and Iraq. As a witness the rich history of Mosul, this place of worship represents values and principles that define us as human beings."

"Rebuilding Al-Nouri Mosque and its minaret is more than about rebuilding stones," said the President of the Sunni Waqf of Iraq, Saad Kambash. "It is about telling the story of all the people who defied death to give space for hope and let humanity live on".

Beyond the restoration and reconstruction of historical landmarks, the initiative includes:

  • The rehabilitation of historical fabric of the Old city of Mosul
  • The revival of the city's cultural life
  • Strengthening the educational system and ensuring quality education for all.

(Source: UNDP)

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