Saleh Makiya (1914-2015) was born in Baghdad and educated in England, receiving his
BArch at Liverpool School of Architecture and a diploma in civic planning from
Liverpool University in 1941 and 1942, respectively. He completed his studies at Kings College,
Cambridge, earning his PhD in 1946. He
returned to Baghdad that same year and established Makiya Associates, an
architectural and planning consultancy practice. During the 1950s he designed houses and
commercial buildings and became increasingly aware of the heritage of Iraqi
architecture. Dr. Makiya was one of the
original founders of the Department of Architecture at the College of
Engineering, Baghdad University, in 1959.
He remained head of the department until 1968. During subsequent years, Makiya Associates
offices were established in Bahrain, Oman, London, Kuwait, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and
The works and ideas of Mohamed Makiya and his firm
have been investigated in numerous books and articles, and examined and explored
in conferences and exhibitions, including an international conference on
Baghdad architectural heritage held in early 2013 at the University of
Baghdad. The conference was part of the
events of “Baghdad, Arab Capital of Culture for the Year 2013”, sponsored
through a partnership between the University of Baghdad, Ifpo (the French
Institute of the Near East), and the UNESCO Office for Iraq.
Makiya’s contributions to the fields of
architecture and urbanism and, in particular, his sophisticated incorporation
of traditional forms into modern architecture, cannot be overstated. His work embodies ideas of urban conservation,
regionalism in form, and continuity of architectural heritage; ideas which continue
to younger generations of architects throughout the Middle East.
This project, one of the largest contemporary mosque constructions when built, is located adjacent to the Sief Palace and the central business district. It was seen as the central focus of an urban renewal project for the area. Rectangular in plan, the mosque houses a prayer hall surmounted by a central dome supoorted on four columns. A patio, six columns deep, separates the prayer hall from the main open court to the south. The open court is surrounded by an arcade that is open to both sides. Two smaller courts are situated to the north and south on either side of the prayer hall. The external walls of the complex are made up of a series of intermediate bays between the main load-bearing structure.