By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Libeskind designs national museum for Iraqi Kurdistan

Daniel Libeskind is to unveil plans for a Kurdish national museum in the ancient city of Erbil in north Iraq

The AJ understands Libeskind will present detailed designs for the scheme to the Kurdistan Regional Government later this month. The official unveiling is scheduled for early June.

The population of Iraq is 17 per cent Kurdish, and there are an estimated 35 million stateless Kurdish people worldwide.

This new project will be seen as further proof of Libeskind’s reputation as an architect of cultural institutions for dispossessed people. He designed the Jewish Museums in Berlin, Copenhagen and San Francisco.

Once completed, the centre could kickstart the regeneration of the region, already tipped by local politicians as the next Dubai.

The project will replace Erbil’s existing downtown Civilisation Museum, which opened in 1989, but its exact site is unconfirmed.

Kanaan Mufti, general director of the Kurdistan Region Culture Ministry, last year described the Civilisation Museum as a disgrace to the region’s reputation. ‘I would be seriously ashamed to take foreign delegations and guests there,’ he told community website

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital, has been inhabited since the 23rd century BC. Its Ottoman-era citadel (pictured) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2004, design consultancy Scott Wilson and architect Ruddle Wilkinson (now part of Capita) were appointed to design Erbil’s new international airport. London-based GMW Architects has designed a 10,000m² office for the city.

Studio Daniel Libeskind declined to comment.

Readers' comments (2)

  • No need to wait until Libeskind releases the drawings. I am confident that the "design" will feature angled walls and diagonal windows newly co-opted and deployed as a symbolic metaphor for the struggles of the Kurdish people. The character of an existing building or neighborhood will be diminished as the "solution" will be brutal, insensitive and contextually inappropriate. Libeskind will fabricate some childish rhetoric linking the stock solution to the specific problem.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Let Daniel Libeskind show the plan first , then we can comment.

    jessi (Architects Dir)

    Unsuitable or offensive?

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters