Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji made a design for the Siraj al-Din Mosque of Baghdad close to the beginning of his career in 1955. The design is an important part of Chadirji's evolution as an architect, as it represents a boldly modern form for a building type known for its adherence to tradition.1
The building as designed takes the form of a rectangular hall, with the qibla on one of the short sides of the rectangle. The entrance opened on the side of the mosque opposite the qibla. Four large pillars placed close to the corners of the hall support a large arched vault, which covers the central portion of the hall. Chadirji included two walls made of perforated screens on either side of the building: one at the main entrance and another behind the qibla wall.
The design references traditional Iraqi and Islamic forms, while remaining thoroughly modern in style: the basic idea of a large hall with a central vaulted bay is present in many mosques, especially those from the Ottoman period where large central domes defined architectural excellence. The shape of the vault - a parabolic arch - also recalls the Arch of Khusraw at Ctesiphon. The perforated screens recall traditional carved woodwork in mosques and other Islamic buildings in Baghdad, but the motif has been changed from eight-pointed stars to a new pattern of Chadirji's design.
1. Al-Sulṭānī, 168.
Chadirji, Rifat. Al-Ukhayḍir w’al-Qaṣr al-Billawrī: nushū‘ al-naẓariyya al-jadaliyya fī al-‘imāra. London and Cyprus: Riad El-Rayyes, 1991.
Al-Sulṭānī, Khālid. Rif‘at al-Jādirjī: mi‘mār, 168-169.Amman: Adib Books, 2016.
September 12, 2018 (AKDC staff): edited description; edited preferred name to reflect design status.