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Foreign design guides imminent as RIBA addresses Iraq

The RIBA is on the verge of adopting new design guidelines aimed at foreign architects working in war-torn Iraq.

Though exact details remain sketchy, it is believed that the RIBA Council will discuss the issues facing Western architects in the Middle East, including how best to encourage traditional methods of design in Iraq.

Fears were raised last year that some foreign consultants - in particular American architects - were ignoring Iraq's heritage in favour of 'designing another Los Angeles' (AJ 20.3.03).

The debate has been welcomed by Lyn Edwards, a director of GMW Architects, which helped in the reconstruction of post-war Macedonia and also has a number of Middle Eastern staff.

'Any discussion on the issue is highly valuable, ' he said. 'There were a lot of RIBA members in Iraq before the difficulties whose experiences need to be recorded.' However, Edwards warned that the country's situation would have to improve significantly before any GMW employees return. 'Iraq is not a safe place to be. You have only got to read the daily newspapers to see that it is not worth it, ' he added.

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