The corridors of Mosul (Iraq). Post-war Reconstruction Strategy
Design Maria Abi Raad
Picture credits Zoning map: Relief web; Damage
assessment: UN-Habitat (Mosul portal) – UNDP; Mosul
destruction photos: Timeslive, CNN, independent.co.uk,
Al Jazeera, UNHCR; Mosul tents: periodpaper.com,
Visualizations Jean-Paul (JPAG) El Hachem
Architecture has the power to educate the people by communicating solutions around a certain theme. Because reaching a sustainable development is globally the biggest challenge, it would be expected from our designs to respect and project the principles of success regarding this theme. Today, the old city of Mosul adds another challenge to that of sustainability: its reconstruction. Nevertheless, the destroyed city has the opportunity to rebuild itself in a better way by following the principles of sustainable development and become self-sufficient. However, how can architecture educate the Mosulis with no financial, technological means …? How can we teach the people, who haven’t had a particular education and are only interested in drowning their needs, the importance of ecological principles and of reusing the materials around them? To do so, the architecture will play the role of educator through a human approach. Given that public buildings (schools …) are scarce and not accessible to all, the best platform for learning is the corridors of Mosul, public places for daily exchange and communication. The reconstruction of housing/markets, the most common and reachable functions of the city, will allow the reconstruction of the important commercial hub of the city.
The short-term recovery intervention consists of the tent made of muslin, recycled fabrics and metal. Landmarks (from reused elements) are also introduced in the city’s public spaces and have a hygienic, sanitary and messaging role (for future projections…). The beneficial courtyard buildings are reintroduced for the housemarket complex. The final result includes different typologies obtained using a participative approach, teaching the people the importance of recycling the materials available. The shop-dwellings consist of: organized debris / stone, wooden moucharabiyah, iron / muslin curtains, wooden doors and metal wind towers for natural ventilation. Also, to promote hygiene in the city, a capsule containing basic services is added to the complex and is adapted for a better urban integration of the Cartesian architecture. It also becomes the basis of the sustainable development of Mosul using passive energy goals (reuse of rain water, conversion of waste to fertilizers and usable energy). Following short-mid and long-term recovery phases, the tent evolves to become the housing/shops. That way, the old city of Mosul can reach its much-needed urban resilience.
The design that educates
Finally, it is not only the final design that teaches the importance of the sustainable development but it is the whole architectural process that achieves it: • Participating in the construction allows a first experimentation with these new principles. • Living in tents and homes/markets designed from reused materials demonstrates the benefits of recycling. The architectural flexibility allows the user to become the designer going beyond the dialogue between these two. • Walking, shopping and growing in these corridors reminds citizens and visitors of the possibility of achieving the common goal: sustainable improvement. Exposed exterior facades display the positive result of reprocessing while the white capsules indicate the manifestation of a new start.