LONDON: UNESCO announced on Thursday the winner of its architectural design competition to rebuild the historic Al-Nouri mosque complex destroyed by Daesh in Mosul, Iraq.
A team of eight Egyptian architects, headed up by Salah El-Din Samir Hareedy, beat out more than 120 other entries to win the contest with their “Courtyards Dialogue” design.
The mosque was mostly destroyed by Daesh in 2017 as Iraqi forces fought to recapture the city. Its reconstruction is a central part of UNESCO’s “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” project, which aims to rehabilitate the ancient city, which was heavily damaged in the recent conflict.
“The reconstruction of Al-Nouri Mosque complex, a historical site that is part of Mosul’s fabric and history, will be a landmark in the process of advancing the war-torn city’s reconciliation and social cohesion,” Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO director-general said in a statement. ”Heritage sites and historical monuments are powerful catalysts for people’s sense of belonging, of community, and identity. They are key to reviving the spirit of Mosul and of Iraq as a whole.”
The UAE has been heavily involved with the reconstruction of the mosque and the ”Revive the Spirit of Mosul” project overall, and the country’s minister of culture and knowledge development said the announcement was a ”significant milestone.”
“In 2018, the UAE took the lead and joined UNESCO on this historic endeavor, inspired by the history and legacy of Mosul and the resilience and strength of its people,” Noura bint Mohammed Al-Kaabi said in the UNESCO statement.
“Reaching this important milestone has brought us closer to the realization of a shared commitment to restore social cohesion and a spirit of fraternity and tolerance in Mosul once again,” she added.
The winning team issued a statement welcoming the results of the competition, saying: “Our team worked with high passion to submit a project that primarily addresses the need for social cohesion and revival of souls. We are looking forward to completing the design and to helping the revival of the Old City of Mosul.”
The group of architects have previously worked on other heritage-rehabilitation projects, as well as urban planning and climate-based architecture. They will now produce a more detailed design for the project, with a view to starting work in late fall 2021.