An Old Plan For A New Baghdad

A group of researchers suggest Frank Lloyd Wright's sensitivity to Islamic culture in his 1957 Plan for Baghdad as a model for rebuilding in post-war Iraq.
June 30, 2003, 10am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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In the midst of rising tensions in post-war Iraq, researchers at the Library of Congress are suggesting that one of the keys to rebuilding Baghdad, as well as bridging understanding between the United States and Iraq, lies in Frank Lloyd Wright's relatively unknown 1957 Plan for Greater Baghdad. Inspired by Arab and Persian architecture, Wright's unrealized plan is an attempt to return Baghdad to its heyday in the 8th and 9th centuries, as a capital of Islamic culture. Current advocates hope that Wright's plan, which evokes cultural memory and respects cultural heritage, will inspire future physical interventions that allay fears that "the West is intent on erasing Islamic culture." The plan includes a ziggurat-based plan for Baghdad University, an opera house, a civic auditorium, a landscaped park with monuments, a casino, and a parking deck in the shape of a three-storey ziggurat.

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Sunday, June 29, 2003 in The Washington Post
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