Mohamed Makiya

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Mohamed Makiya (Mohammed Saleh Makiya 1914-2015) (Arabic: محمد مكية‎) was an Iraqi architect and one of the first Iraqis to gain formal qualifications in architecture. He is noted for establishing Iraq's first Department of Architecture at the University of Baghdad and for his architectural designs which incorporated Islamic motifs such as calligraphy in an effort to combine Arabic architectural elements within contemporary works.

Early life and education[edit]

Mohamed Saleh Makiya, son of Bahiya and Saleh Abd al-Aziz Makiya,[1] was born in Baghdad into a family of clothing merchants.[2] His father died when he was an infant, and his mother went to live with his uncle [3]

At the Baghdad Central Secondary School, he excelled in mathematics and showed sufficient promise to be selected as one of 50 students to be awarded a scholarship to study in England.[4] He travelled to England in 1935 and spent his first year learning English and preparing for the matriculation exams.[5] He enrolled at Liverpool University, School of Architecture, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architecture (1941) and a Diploma of Civic Design, (1942).[6] He later enrolled at King's College, Cambridge where he completed a PhD (1946). His dissertation was entitled The Influence of Climate on Architecture in the Mediterranean Region.[7]

In 1941, while undertaking post-graduate studies in England, he met his future wife, English-born, Margaret Crawford, who later travelled to Baghdad to marry him, in spite of some resistance from her family.[8] In 1956 he was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, which allowed him to study in the USA.[9]

Career[edit]

When he returned to Baghdad in 1946, he was one of the first Iraqis to have obtained formal qualifications in architecture.[10] At that time, Iraq had no tradition of using architects; rather a continuous tradition of both domestic and public buildings relying on ancient building techniques was evident, but designers rarely attached their names to their designs. The concept of an architect was so foreign that the Arabic language had no word to describe the profession.[11] However, by the mid-20th century, Iraq was undergoing a period of 'modernisation' and many traditional houses were being demolished, paving the way for contemporary designs.[12]

The challenge for contemporary architects was how to incorporate traditional design elements while using modern materials and techniques.[13] Mohamed Makiya, along with local architects, who had been trained in Europe, including, Makkiyya al-Jadiri, Mazlum, Qatan Adani and Rifat Chadirji took up this challenge, and in so doing, were pivotal to the development of a distinctly national style of architecture.[14]

Following his return to Baghdad, Makiya established Makiya & Associates, an architectural and planning consultancy, and later opened branch offices in Bahrain (1967); Muscat, Oman (1971) and London (1974) [15] His first important commission was for Khulafa Mosque (1960–63) for which he developed a design extracted from the 9th-century Abassid mosque that formerly stood on the same site, and built it around the surviving minaret. This mosque was situated in the same suburb as Makiya's place of birth.[16]

In the early years of his practice, Makiya struggled. Insufficient commercial work meant that he had to find a paid work. He was employed at the Directorate of General Municipalities in Baghdad, where he worked as an urban planner and architect. His wife worked as a secondary school teacher during these years.[17] By the 1960s, however, he began to receive important commissions and by the 1970s, his Bahrain office was thriving.[18] He continued to exhibit a preoccupation with regional architectural issues - local built environment, architectural heritage, folklore and local craftsmanship.[19] For this design focus, he was often known as "the Islamic architect." [20]

His interest in Islamic art and design led him to collect artworks and photographs.[21] Later his photographs were used to illustrate books on Islamic architecture such as Arab Architecture: Past and Present published by the Centre for Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies, University of Durham, 1983. He also supported the arts in practical ways. In the absence of art galleries in 1940s' Baghdad, Makiya opened his private home to host the first contemporary art exhibition featuring works by artist, Jawad Saleem.[22]

In 1959, he founded Iraq's first Architectural Department within the Engineering Department at University of Baghdad, became its Dean and held the position until 1968.[23] As an educator, he encouraged his students to take an interest in traditional Iraqi design and encouraged them draw street elevations of traditional buildings.[24]

By the early 1970s, he had fallen from favour with the Ba'athist regime and his name appeared on a Ba'athist-compiled list of those who were to be arrested.[25] He was working in Bahrain when he learned this alarming news, but was in the process of establishing an office in London. He and his family relocated to London.[26] While living in London, he established the Kufa Gallery In London as a focus for Islamic and Arab art

In 1980 the Mayor of Baghdad invited him to return to Baghdad for the purpose of participating in a major rebuilding program. After being given a guarantee of his personal safety, Makiya decided to return, but in family discussions, it was decided that his son, Kanan, should not travel to Baghdad, but instead remain in England where he would manage the London branch of Makiya & Associates.[27]

Mohamed Makiya spent his final years, in exile, living in London's Bayswater,[28] where his wife died in 2013. Makiya also died in London, in 2015, at the age of 101. He was survived by his son Kanan (b. 1949) and a daughter, Hind (b. 1952). His son, Kanan Makiya, had also trained as an architect, but left the family business to become an academic in the United States.[29]

Work[edit]

The Khulafa Mosque in Baghdad was Makiya's first major commission

For a time, he was one of Saddam Hussein's top architects, participated in Hussein's multi-million dollar rebuilding projects and helped to build Hussein's palaces.[30] He also built numerous commercial buildings, including banks, libraries, government offices and private residences.[31] In addition, he won competitions for designs for public projects, such as the Baghdad State Mosque and the Tikrit Ceremonial Parade Grounds, that never came to fruition.[32]

Major public works

  • Khulafa Mosque (1960–63) - based on a design extracted from the 9th-century Abassid mosque and built around the surviving minaret[33]
  • Rafidain Bank, Basra (1970)[34]
  • Sheikh Mubarak Building, Bahrain (1973) [35]
  • International Hilton Hotel, Dubai (1974)[36]
  • Siddique Mosque, Doha (1978)[37]
  • Al-Andalus housing complex, Doha (1983) [38]
  • Kuwait State Mosque (1978-1984) [39]
  • Headquarters for the Regional Arab Organisers, Kuwait (1982–87)[40]
  • Headquarters of the League of Arab States, Tunis (1983)
  • Great Mosque, Oman (1995-2002)[41]

Publications

Makiya contributed many articles to newspapers and scholarly journals as well as chapters in monographs.

  • (Sole-authored) Turāth al-rasm al-Baghdādī by Mohamed Makiya, Wizārat al-Iʻlām, al-Lajnah al-Taḥḍīrīyah li-Mihrajān al-Wāsiṭī, 1972
  • (Sole-authored) Baghdad by Mohammed Makiya, London, Al-Warrak Publishing Ltd, first published in 1962 and reprinted in 2005
  • (Joint-authored) Ḫawāṭir as-sinīn by Moḥamed Makīya and Rašīd al- Ḫaiyūn, Bairūt Dār as-Sāqī, 2005
  • (Contributor) Third World Planning Review, Volume 10, Liverpool University Press, 1988

Legacy[edit]

At least three books have been dedicated to his contribution to architecture.

  • Post-Islamic Classicism: A Visual Essay on the Architecture of Mohammed Makiya, by Kanan Makiya (Saqi Books, 1990)
  • Contemporary Iraqi Art: A Journey with the Iraqi Architect Mohamed Makiya, by Ahmed Naji Al-Saeed
  • Mohamed Makiya: A Century of Architecture and Life and Mohamed’s Son by Khalid al-Sultani

In 2014, Tamayouz Excellence Awards announced that it would award the annual Mohamed Makiya Prize designed to celebrate the best of Architecture.[42]

In 2016, Iraq honoured two of its most celebrated architects, Mohammed Makiya and Zaha Hadid, with postage stamps.[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mohammed Makiya: Obituary", The Guardian, 27 August 2015 Online:
  2. ^ Elsheshtawy, Y., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 74; Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  3. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas, University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 6
  4. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  5. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas, University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 7
  6. ^ Elsheshtawy, Y., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 74; Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  7. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  8. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 7
  9. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Vol. II, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  10. ^ Cohen, N., What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way, London, Fourth Estate, 2007 [E-book edition], n.p.
  11. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 8
  12. ^ Pieri, C., "Baghdad 1921-1958. Reflections on History as a ”strategy of vigilance”," Mona Deeb, World Congress for Middle-Eastern Studies, June 2005, Amman, Jordan. Al-Nashra, vol. 8, no 1-2, pp.69-93, 2006
  13. ^ Longrigg, S. and Stoakes, F., "The Social Pattern," in: Abdulla M. Lutfiyya and Charles W. Churchill (eds), Readings in Arab Middle Eastern Societies and Cultures, p. 78
  14. ^ Munif, A.R., "The Monument of Freedom," The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle Easern Studies, Spring, 2007, p. 145; Elsheshtawy, Y. (ed), Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 72; Kanan Makiya and Samir Khalil, The Monument: Art and Vulgarity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq I.B.Tauris, 2004, p. xi and p. xii; Wilkes, J.A. and Packard, R.R., (eds), Encyclopedia of Architecture: Design, Engineering & Construction, Vol. 3, Wiley, 1990, p. 100
  15. ^ Elsheshtawy, Y., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 74; Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  16. ^ Elsheshtawy, Y., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 74; Makiya, K. (Khalil,S.) The Monument: Art and Vulgarity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq I.B.Tauris, 2004, p. xi and p. xii Note that Samir Khalil was the pseudonym used by Kanan Makiya, the son of Mohamed Makiya.
  17. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 9
  18. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp 16-18
  19. ^ Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, Focus on Arab Architecture: Past and Present [Focus Reports Series], Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, 1984, p. 164 and p. 170, ISSN 0260-700X; Wilkes, J.A. and Packard, R.T., (eds), Encyclopedia of Architecture: Design, Engineering & Construction, Vol. 3, Wiley, 1990, p. 100
  20. ^ Elsheshtawy, Y., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 79; Kanan Makiya and Samir Khalil, The Monument: Art and Vulgarity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq I.B.Tauris, 2004, p. xi and p. xii
  21. ^ Shams Constantine Inati, Iraq: Its History, People, and Politics Humanity Books, 2003, p. 77
  22. ^ Sabrah,S.A. and Ali, M.," Iraqi Artwork Red List: A Partial List of the Artworks Missing from the National Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad, Iraq, 2010, p. 10
  23. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Vol. II, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  24. ^ Pieri, C., "Baghdad 1921-1958: Reflections on History as a ”strategy of vigilance”," Mona Deeb, World Congress for Middle-Eastern Studies, Jun 2005, Amman, Jordan. Al-Nashra, vol. 8, no 1-2, pp.69-93, 2006
  25. ^ Rich, M., Smith, O.J. and Thompson, C., World Authors, 1995-2000, Volume 1995-2000, H.W. Wilson, 2003, p. 504
  26. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 18
  27. ^ Weschler, L., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 23
  28. ^ New Statesman, Volume 132, Issues 4632-4644, 2003, p. 24
  29. ^ Weschler, Y., Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 8l;
  30. ^ Madsen, W., Jaded Tasks: Brass Plates, Black Ops & Big Oil—The Blood Politics of George Bush & Co., Trine Day, 2006, [E-book edition], n.p.; Dimensions, Volume 8, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, p. 146.
  31. ^ Lawrence Weschler, Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 12
  32. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  33. ^ Elsheshtawy, R., Planning Middle Eastern Cities: An Urban Kaleidoscope, Routledge, 2004, p. 74; Kanan Makiya and Samir Khalil, The Monument: Art and Vulgarity in Saddam Hussein's Iraq I.B.Tauris, 2004, p. xi and p. xii
  34. ^ "Mohamed Makiya", Archnet [Online Architecture Portal], Online:
  35. ^ Imanova, A., "Zaha Hadid is Featured on New Iraqi Postage Stamp", Commercial Interior Design, 23 June 2016 Online:; "Mohammed Makiya: Obituary", The Guardian, 27 August 2015 Online:
  36. ^ "Mohammed Makiya: Obituary", The Guardian, 27 August 2015 Online:
  37. ^ Bloom, J. and Blair, S.S., Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 435
  38. ^ "Mohammed Makiya: Obituary", The Guardian, 27 August 2015 Online:
  39. ^ Holod, R., Khan, H.-E., Mims, K. (eds), The Contemporary Mosque: Architects, Clients, and Designs Since the 1950s, Rizzoli, 1997, p. 276; Archnet [Architecture Portal], Online:
  40. ^ "Library of Mohamed and Margaret Makiya", ArtNet [Online Arts Resource], Online:
  41. ^ Visone, C.C. et al., Time Frames: Conservation Policies for Twentieth-Century Architectural Heritage, Routledge, 2017, pp.162-164
  42. ^ Tamayouz Excellence Awards, Online:
  43. ^ "Iraq Issues Postage Stamps Honoring Famed Architects Zaha Hadid, Mohamed Makiya", Albawaba, 20 June 2016, Online: