How can you condense more than ten thousand years of civilization into a single project that faithfully tells the story of a great nation? The answer is in the winning design of a prestigious architectural competition, to design the new compound for the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers in Baghdad. Zaha Hadid and more than 30 other international architects participated in this competition, won by the architecture firm CAP.
The design concept evolved as a logical and natural outcome of the system approach, concluding that an ‘Infinite Free Iraqi Constitution’ would be the perfect translation for the objectives of the project, as it represents now the virtual ruler that it is to house and maintain.
The four stages of the concept’s evolution covered searching for a design statement that would convey the raison d’être for the project; deciding on some characteristics within the statement that could be visually realized; symbolizing characteristics in a linear presentation, and finally, symbolizing a metamorphosing of form in a way that resembles the biological process by which a living creature physically develops after birth or hatching.
The architect suggests that if you can imagine a gigantic cylindrical seal, which was used in ancient Iraq as an administrative tool, engraved with all the significant features of Iraq’s past, present and future aspirations, that image is the design used to mark the ribbon connecting the land with Tigris River. Carved with the story of Iraq, the landscape of this ribbon evolved, through a process of metamorphosing, into splendid architectural spaces delineated by elegantly defined thresholds.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated on September 28, 2020, in order to identify CAP Consultant as the actual designer of the proposal.