New Iraq Parliament Building, Project, News, Design, Property, Image
New Iraqi Parliament Complex : Competition
Iraqi Parliament Development – design by Assemblage Architects
10 Jan 2013
New Iraqi Parliament Building
Design: Assemblage, Architects
Project: New Iraqi Parliament Complex – Competition win
Client: Iraq Government
Assemblage has won the international architecture competition for the design of the new Iraqi parliament complex in Baghdad. The $1Bn USD project includes a large complex of buildings in addition to the parliamentary chambers, and a masterplan for the adjacent part of the city. The London-based architects succeeded against over 130 international architectural companies competing for the prestigious project, winning 1st prize of $250,000 USD.
The design competition was advertised globally in November 2011 and judged by an independent international panel. To ensure a meritocratic outcome, both entrants and the judges remained anonymous. A public exhibition of all the projects submitted will be put on display together with the decision of the judging committee (date to be advised).
The success in this competition follows Assemblage’s win in 2012 in the United Nations HABITAT international design competition for housing in Iraq.
In the Assemblage design the parliament complex is conceived as a work of urban design and not as one large architectural object. The majority of the complex is formed as a pattern of streets – indoor and outdoor – and green courtyards, connecting an arrangement of buildings of a variety of functions. Against this fabric, key landmark buildings and plazas are highlighted, such as the Council of Representatives and the Federal Council. The dialogue of landmark buildings in a low rise urban grain is highly legible and navigable. It is also flexible, easy to phase, zone, and replace. A grading of family relationships exists within this fabric of buildings. The many courtyards and streets allow excellent daylighting and services access, whilst also providing a variety of identities for groups of users as in an urban environment. An extensive horizontal brise soleil structure extends across the two storey fabric, providing continuity of shade and a roof level service zone. A major architectural elevation in its own right, this datum is carefully designed in terms of views from the landmark buildings and forms a plane against which they are read clearly.
The Council of Representatives building is placed as a landmark in the primary arrival plaza on axis to the Zawra Park approach. It has a circular outer shell of monumental brise soleil which protects the building and whose deep shadows tell of the intense Iraqi sun. Encircled within are the two great hemicycles of the Great Hall and the Council Chamber, with technical spaces and services embedded in the spine walls. The charged space between these two great volumes is the Entrance Foyer, further dramatised by raking rooflights. A press conference hall is situated at lower ground level. The public and members may populate the building’s facade by appearing amongst the large fins of the brise soleil. Generous areas adjacent the facade may be occupied on all floors, animating the entire perimeter of the building at all levels. Navigation is simple and intuitive. Users of the building look down from the perimeter areas into the Great Hall and Entrance Foyer, witnessing the motions of government. This transparency in the building is direct: to at once look out over the land and its citizens, and then at those who represent and serve.
A modern parliament building must embody the transparency between citizens and their government which reflects the essential democratic relationship. This is not literal transparency, but is about the building’s feeling of public ownership and accessibility. It must impart the positive possibility of the State: larger than the individual, but supportive and engaging – not aggressive or oppressive.
The Council of Representatives building is formed in the shape of a circle: a strong, simple geometry of great architectural power and lineage. In this context as an image of the State, it is a symbol of convergence and stability. A circle has no one elevation, presenting the same face to all. Divergent axes are co-ordinated and brought into agreement. The building’s circular plan echoes the shapes of the hemicycles within – themselves a geometry of agreement – and allows views out in all directions from the generous perimeter areas. Direct reference is also made to the historic City of Peace, from which Baghdad takes its name. Having stood just north of the parliament site, the circular city was built by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansour in 766 AD at a time when Baghdad was at a peak of power and prestige.
New Iraq Parliament Complex – Building Information
Architect and Lead Consultant: Assemblage
Executive Architect: Adamson Associates
Iraqi Partner: Al-Khan
Engineers: Buro Happold
Design Management: Schumann Smith
New Iraqi Parliament Complex images / information from Assemblage Architects