London architect firm Assemblage designs $1bn Iraqi parliament building after being named winner of international competition
- Assemblage won competition to develop Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad
- The architects hopes to see plans come to fruition after taking top prize
- Iraqi government has remained in talks with rival which took third place in competition
By James Rush
PUBLISHED: 06:33 EST, 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:26 EST, 15 January 2013
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.
And the London firm came out on top after its design was whittled down to a shortlist of 32 before being announced as the winner by judges from a Royal Institute of British Architects jury.
The proposed development would be built at a site close to the disused al-Muhanna airport, where a super mosque had begun to be built by Saddam Hussein but was stopped following the US-led invasion of the country ten years ago.
Cutting edge design: London-based Assemblage architects have been declared the winners of an international design competition for this design of a new $1bn parliament building for the Iraqi government
Top design: Assemblage were picked out of more than practices who entered designs by judges from the Royal Institute of British Architects
The London-based architects designed a scheme which features clear and simple geometric forms within a maze of streets and courtyards.
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.
The practice told the paper: 'At this initial meeting ZHA was made aware that the competition rules allow for any of the submitted design proposals to be selected for construction, irrespective of placement in the competition.'
But Assemblage still hopes its design will be the one chosen to go ahead in the future.
Assemblage's other designs for the region include a fully integrated settlement for 3000 people with schools, markets, health centres, and a variety of green spaces and playing fields.
The settlement buildings proposed are low cost, architecturally advanced, use local resources, and have sustainability ratings rivalling western standards.
The company has also designed a major regeneration scheme for the holy town of Kadhimiya in Iraq.
Competition: The Iraqi Government is still in talks with Zaha Hadid Architects, which came third in the competition, but Assemblage is hopeful its design will be the one used
It describes the new structure as being
'inspired by the morphology and poetics of the Baghdadi house' adding
that the plan 'resolves a complex matrix of religious, infrastructure,
and conservation demands'
Practice co-director Peter Besley said: 'It would be great if our scheme was built and became a loved, well-used building.'
Assemblage director Hannah Corlett, who previously worked on the Peckham Library which won the Stirling Prize 2000, said: 'We wanted to take an urban approach rather than propose a single mega-structure.'
She said the scheme featured a series of streets and courtyards which will be home to government departments, officers and community functions including medical centres and libraries.
Corlett and Besley jointly launched Assemblage relatively recently in 2003.
The London-based studio consists of architects and urban designers who have worked on numerous private and public sector projects in the UK, Middle East and Australia.
New landmark: The new Government building would be developed close to the disused al-Muhanna airport
The winners: Architects Hannah Corlett, left, and Peter Besley, right, set up London-based Assemblage in 2003
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