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 ekurd.net.
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.