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UNESCO launches rebuild contest for Mosul mosque

18 Nov 20 UNESCO has launched an international architectural competition for the reconstruction of Al-Nouri mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The ‘Revive the spirit of Mosul’ competition calls for a conceptual design to include the conservation of the standing structures of the prayer hall and its integration into the new buildings. It also covers the rehabilitation of some historical buildings and their integration into the new designs, including the landscaping design of the entire site. The aim is to incoporate new community spaces - for education, social and cultural activities - in ways that go beyond the complex’s principal religious function.

The competition opens this week with an open call for proposals based on an anonymous design submission. The deadline is in 26 March 2021.

An international jury composed of nine members and two alternate members will select the winning designer and the four runners-up. The competition is funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

An outreach campaign will invite architects, engineers and students from around the world to submit a design proposal. The organisers said that it is especially important to encourage the people of Iraq to participate in their own history-making and reconstruction.

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Since its construction in the second half of the 12th century, The Al-Nouri complex has 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,” said Iraq’s minister of culture Hasan Nadhem. This means restoring respect for Iraq’s heritage and more specifically, Mosul’s heritage. It is about rebuilding the people’s memory and restoring the damage that Da’esh left behind.”

UAE’s minister of culture and youth, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, said: “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. 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.”

President of the Sunni Waqf of Iraq, Saad Kambash, said: “Rebuilding Al-Nouri Mosque and its minaret is more than about rebuilding stones. 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 and strengthening the educational system.

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