Dewan Award for Architecture 2019
AL UMMA PARK COMPETITION
BACKGROUND - Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq with an area of 204.2 square kilometres and a population of 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world (after Cairo, Egypt) and the second largest city in Western Asia (after Tehran, Iran).
Split in two by the Tigris River, Baghdad sits approximately 300 miles from the northern, southern and western borders of the country. Its eastern part is called Al-Rusafa, while its western part is called Al-Karkh. Temperatures range from 5°C to 15°C in winter and maintain an average of 47°C in summer.
Establishing its capital in Baghdad in 762CE, the Abbasid Caliphate laid the foundation for the flourishing of Islamic culture in the city, which occurred over the following five centuries. Baghdad became synonymous with tolerance and education, as it served as a regional hub for intellectual advancements in fields such as science, medicine, philosophy and engineering. And further marking the ‘Golden Age of Islam’, art and architecture combined to produce beautiful mosques and palaces.
Art Installations in Al Umma Park
After the fall of the monarchy, the first Iraqi head of republic, Abd Al-Kareem Qasim, commissioned three major public art works commemorating the transformation of the political system in 1958, which were to be coordinated by Rifat Chadirji. The artworks included the Freedom Monument by Jawad Salim, the Mural of the People by Faiq Hassan and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Firdos Square.
The Freedom Monument: The Freedom Monument by Jawad Salim (Iraq’s most prominent artist) features 14 bronze castings that symbolise the 14 July Revolution. The images shown reflect various points from Iraq’s history, and include Babylonian, Assyrian and Sumerian styled reliefs, as well as stories of the 1958 revolution. At the centre of the monument, a soldier breaks the bars of a prison with strength and persistence. The turning point in the artwork, this story leads to visuals of peace and prosperity.
Although the 50m long x 15m high monument was Salim’s design, he was unable to see the project reach completion due to his premature death in January 1961. The project was finalised later that year.
Mural of the People: Mural of the People by Faiq Hassan was completed in 1960 and became a landmark due to its size — 10 metres by 4 metres. The artwork features different characters of Iraqi society joining hands and releasing doves, including a soldier, worker, peasant, woman and child. The mural was made using mosaics on a cement base.
Motherhood Statue: The Motherhood Statue by artist and sculptor Khaled Al-Rahhal was unveiled in 1961. Featuring a mother looking at an optimistic future, the stone figure is 4.5 metres tall. The location of this installation can be changed by the participants.
The proposed plot of Al Umma Park is 24,830 square metres and is strategically located as a buffer between the traditional/organic urban fabric of Baghdad and its modern/planned urban fabric. The former consists of Al Rasheed Street, the commercial heart of the area that contains the city’s financial district and government buildings, and the copper, textile and gold bazaars. Al Rasheed Street features the best examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings in the country. At the other end of the park is Al Saadoon Street, which was once the ‘High Street’ with exclusive retail boutiques, cinemas, restaurants, bars, cafes and other leisure and entertainment outlets.
Al Umma Park is perpendicular to the Tigris River, and is linked to Al Jumhuriya Bridge. It sits across Tahrir Square — the main public square where major political events that have occurred in the city’s modern history have taken place.
As a result of decades of neglected followed by the Iraq – Iran war in the 1980s to the UN imposed 13-year embargo that started in 1990, Al Umma Park has greatly degraded. However, its transformation from a family-friendly urban space into an unwelcoming and inhospitable environment following the 2003 invasion has perhaps been its most challenging time – as well as for the whole of Iraq.
In the wake of the most recent US-led invasion and the ensuing looting and chaos, the country witnessed and felt countless traumas that affected all parts of society. Crimes against public property surged, while attacks on Iraq’s art, culture and heritage, as well as its built environment, became commonplace. Since 2003, and under the government’s watch, many listed and historical buildings have been lost, including some of the urban fabric surrounding Al Umma Park.
This competition seeks a new urban planning and architectural approach that helps Baghdad celebrate its heritage and raise awareness of the importance of maintaining all the layers of its history and heritage. The objective is the urban rehabilitation of Baghdad’s central park, restoring it to its former glory – a recreational space that served as an attraction for families and a platform for Iraqi art and history.
Participants are asked to redesign Al Umma Park as a green lung in the capital’s dense urban fabric, creating an optimistic vision for the future and a safe space for public gatherings and socialising. Proposals should reflect the legacy of the park and integrate the existing artwork (the Freedom Monument, the mural and the statue) within its redesign.
The park should have: (1) underground level/levels that include[s] a connection to the proposed Baghdad Metro, and (2) Al Umma Center, which would mark the historical events the park has witnessed. This centre can be located anywhere on the site, but we encourage it to be situated on a lower level (to keep the surface as green as possible) with connections to the metro station and other services.
All surrounding traffic needs to be diverted underground, with road networks integrated into the new site borders and used in the redesign of the park. Participants can suggest a supportive land-use for the buildings on both sides of the park*.
*Participants can suggest a supportive land-use, a redesign for the buildings or a facade treatment is not required but allowed if participants find necessary.
The site is currently neglected, but provides spatial relief from a very dense urban fabric. It is suggested that a significant part of the proposed use could be maintained as a public space. An overall urban landscaping and masterplanning treatment of the park is required, with the following potential components:
– Sports activities, walking tracks, games and playgrounds
– Art installations
– Food and beverage outlets
– Open air theatre that can be used as a live music concert venue multi-purpose stage
– Speakers corner
– Subterranean level with connection to the proposed metro.
In addition, participants should propose a suitable location and building design for Al Umma Center that features the following programme:
– Entrance hall, public circulation – gathering space / connected to the park and the metro.
– Space for temporary installations and exhibitions 300 sq.m
– Permanent exhibition area / museum 200 sq.m
– Lecture hall 200 sq.m
– Research and Documentation Center / Library 300 sq.m
– Administrative area 200 sq.m
– Cafe and restaurant
– Amenities and security.
There are no constraints or limitations to the number of levels below the park’s ground level. Participants to determine as they see suitable
27 / March / 2019 – Competition launch and early registration
01 / May / 2019 – Start of the standard registration
01 / August / 2019 – Start of the late registration
15 / August / 2019 – Closing date for registration
20 / August / 2019 – Closing date for submissions
November / 2019 – Announcement of results
December 2019 – Annual Tamayouz Excellence Award Ceremony
All Deadlines are 11:59 pm GMT (London)
Early Registration: $70 from 27 / March / 2019 – 30 / April / 2019
Standard Registration: $85 from 11 / March / 2019 – 30 / April / 2019
Late Registration: $100 from 01/ August /2019 – End of registration period
RELEVANCE – A clear declaration of conditions that set the urban and cultural contextual parameters of the project through identification of local challenges and potential opportunities, living culture and the daily use of the park.
RESPONSE – Aspirational and original ideas with a programmatic response to existing local urban, environmental and social conditions and challenges.
RESOLUTION – Spatial and technical justification, Accessibility, durability, safety and security. Clarity of the design process.
IMPACT – Clear definition of positive transformative social, spatial and environmental impact of the project.
VISION – Aesthetic, technical, environmental and sustainability ambitions.
Participants required to submit the following (In one Zip file named after the unique registration number):
1 – One – A0 board in JPEG format. Every team is encouraged to submit all the information they consider necessary to explain their proposal. Content may include but is not limited to plans, sections, elevations, visualisations, diagrams, etc. The resolution of the boards must be 300dpi with the unique registration number placed in the upper left corner of the board in 18 pt font.
2 – A word document file containing the project statement (250 Words Max) explaining the design proposal.
3 – Submit your entry by using the upload link in your registration confirmation email.
NOTE: All files must be named after the unique registration number
1 X A0 JPEG - 300 dpi
1 X Word DOC (250) Words
1. This is an anonymous competition and the Unique Registration Number is the only means of identification.
2. The official language of the award is English.
3. The registration fee for this award is non-refundable.
4. Contacting the Jury is prohibited.
5. Tamayouz Award, as the award organiser, reserves the right to modify the award schedule if deemed necessary.
6. Entries will not be reviewed if any of the rules or submission requirements are not considered.
7. Participation assumes acceptance of the regulations.
Please send any questions to
Q: Who can register?
A: Anyone is welcome to register- This an open international competition.
Q: How many people are allowed per team?
A: A maximum of four people are allowed per team.
Q: How many projects can be submitted per team?
A: One project per team. Teams who wish to submit multiple designs can register their team multiple times.
Q: How do I submit my work?
A: Submit your entry by using the upload link in your registration confirmation email.
Q: How do I register for the competition?
A: You can register by paying the registration fee, once the payment is confirmed it will automatically take you to information page where you enter your information.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: Online Payments; Paypal and Credit Cards, wire transfer (Europe and US) and if none of the before is suitable please get in touch with us on the email above.
Q: Can we submit printed boards?
A: No, all submissions must be in digital format as outlined in the competition brief.
Q: Are we required to design new statues? Or keep the current ones in the same location? Also, can we add a new statue or mural?
A: You must keep the freedom monument and the mural, you are allowed to move the motherhood monument to a better place I'd you design one. You can make the area where the monuments are located better designed. Also you can add new art pieces murals or statues, or art on the back of the freedom monument, but you have to be very careful with your new art and you don't want it to devalue the others.
Q: Is there a specific site for my project?
A: There is a specific site that can be downloaded using the links in the download section.
Q: Is there a specific program requirement?
A: Yes, there the competition program can be found in the competition brief.
Q: What is the height requirement?
A: There is no specific height requirement.
Q: How many team members can be involved in my project?
A: Four members maximum.
Q: Can I share my project on social media before the announcement of the winners?
A: Projects may NOT be shared before the announcement of the Winners.
Q: Can a name or a company logo be included on a board or DOC document?
A: Submission materials should NOT include any company logo or identification, boards with any identification on it will be disqualified without notification.
Q: Should I use metric or imperial units if my I need to show dimensions?
A: Either metric or imperial units may be used.
Q: Is there a specific site for my project?
A: There is a specific site that can be downloaded using the links in the download section.
Q. Concerning the part of the proposed Umma Center that will be connected to both Metro stations on either side of the site, does this mean we can build directly under the Freedom Monument and the Mural of the People?
A. The Metro Stations on each side of the Park, are still a proposal, and their locations are hypothetical. Proposed links to the Metro Stations, are welcomed, which will results utilizing the underground level.
Q. Also, is it acceptable to exceed the required built footprint of the Center (underground) to add more uses to the site?
A. Yes, please. As stated in the Brief, it is strongly recommended to locate most of the needed “Built Program” underground, to keep the Ground Level as an open Landscaped Public Space.
Q. Finally, is there an expected level of detail (scale of drawings 1:500, 1:200 or 100) that should be submitted? This would, of course, affect the level of detail/ subdivision of the spaces in the architectural plans.
A. It is up to each competitor to choose the best scale that illustrate the proposed idea and fits within the submission layout format of A0
Q. Please i wanted to ask with respect to al umma park competition is it allowed to make a link between the river and the park?
A. A Visual Link to the River would be good. However, a physical link will be a big challenge, due to the level differences and existing buildings and traffic. Maybe we should limit the proposal to The Project Area, unless there is a really innovative / feasible urban approach to the surroundings.
Q. Is it allowed to use diagrams in the pdf breif submitted?
A. Yes you can use diagrams. Regarding the levelou decide the level.
Q. Are we able to submit a Video clip in addition to our A0 sheet.
A. No you won't be able to submit that but if you are one of the winners we will use it a lot in promoting your project.
Q. I was wondering if you can specify it’s exact location on the cad map so we can be able to see the path .. and are we supposed to design the way from the park to the station or just indicate a gate that leads to the underground tunnel heading to the station?