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Rifat Chadirji Archive includes drawings of his 1966 building destroyed in January 2019

Mezzanine floor plan, photographed by Betsy Baldwin

In this post Betsy Baldwin, Collections Archivist in AKDC@MIT, reports on some drawings recently discovered in the archive of pioneering Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji.

A recent set of original architectural drawings discovered within the Rifat Chadirji Archive include drawings of the National Insurance Company Building that he designed for Mosul. Constructed in 1966, this building was put to a shockingly horrible use in 2017 when ISIS used it to execute people it decided had broken Islamic law, most notably young gay men who were thrown from it to their deaths.

Basement floor plan drawing, photographed by Betsy Baldwin

After the recapture of Mosul, restoration was considered. Unfortunately, the gruesome history of its use during ISIS occupation and the fact that it was so damaged when Mosul was retaken, led to the determination that this iconic building was too structurally compromised, and would have to be demolished. In spite of objections from architects, academics and others, the building was demolished in January. Therefore, it is particularly exciting to be able to have this opportunity to preserve and share the graphic development and design of this iconic building with visitors to our archives and, once digitized, with everyone through Archnet.

Readers interested in this post may also like to know that Betsy Baldwin also occasionally shares interesting finds from the AKDC@MIT archives in Notes from the Archives on Archnet.

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