Rifat Chadirji, the prominent architecture passes away at the age of 93. The architect, author and photographer Rifat Chadirji has a diagnosis of coronavirus while living in London. He died in the late hours of Friday, 11 April.

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Architect Rifat Chadirji pictured at his home office in the coastal Lebanese town of Halat in 2009

Chadirji was the Father of Modern Iraqi architecture. He has designed more than a 100 buildings in Iraq, including the Central Post Office and the Tobacco Monopoly Headquarters in Baghdad.

Chadirji’s life and works

Chadirji was born in Baghdad in 1926. Kamil Chadirji, his father was the founder and president of the National Democratic Party.

Chadirji played the role of a revered cultural figure between the 1950s and the 1070s. Some of his famous works include the Baghdad Gymnasium and the Freedom Monument at Tahrir Square, which he built along with Jawad Saleem.

When he returned to Iraq in the 1950s, he did so to design “The Unknown Soldier” which is present in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. Abd al-Karim Qasim, the then-president of Iraq commissioned Chadirji for the Freedom Monument.

A statue of Saddam Hussein was put up in place of The Freedom Monument when the Baath Party were on the rise. The statue was later torn down in 2003 by US forces.

Saddam Hussein threw Chadirji in jail during the 1970s. He was in the Abu Ghraib prison for 20 months.

He authored the book “The Wall between Two Darknesses” about his experience in jail.

A few of his achievements

Chadirji earned an honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1982 and the American Institute of Architects.

He won the Aga Chairman Award in 1986, a triennial architecture prize and he also won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2008 and Tamayouz Excellence Award 2015. The Rifat Chadirji award has been given since 2017 in his honour.

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