Design for Iraqi Parliament to Replace Saddam Hussein’s Super-Mosque Revealed

The winning proposal for a competition to design the Iraqi Parliament has been announced, and a team featuring London-based Assemblage, Canadian firm Adamson Associates, and engineering consultant Buro Happold has beat out a tightly-guarded shortlist said to have included Zaha Hadid Architects (that’s all you really need to know, right?).

The competition for the $1-billion project launched back in late 2011, attracting international architects with a $250,000 first prize and a chance to build an international icon of sorts at Baghdad’s disused Al Muthana airport, once primed to be the site of a super mosque conceived by Saddam Hussein until a 2003 U.S. invasion interrupted construction. According to BDOnline, eight 45-meter-high reinforced concrete columns remain at the site, and competing design teams were told that “[i]t will be an important aspect as to how those columns are treated.”

The winning design chose to knock down the columns but keep a series of piles installed for the super mosque. As renderings released on BDOnline reveal, the complex consists of two main structures, the circular Council of Representatives and the square-shaped Federal Council, and subsidiary buildings to house government departments and administration offices. The scheme also includes indoor and outdoor streets and green courtyards.

“It’s a great honor,” said Assemblage director Peter Besley according to BDOnline, adding with a subtle jab that the team was “very pleased a scheme about Iraq and the Iraqis has been chosen ahead of style-driven architecture.”

All renderings courtesy the architects, via BDOnline.

- Kelly Chan