Architect student’s vision to rebuild Iraq

12 June 2017

Yousif Al-Khafajy develops plans for his home city

An architecture student passionate about rebuilding his home city has dedicated his final year project to finding a way to restore Baghdad to the place he remembers.

Yousif Al-Khafajy, 23, was born in Iraq’s capital but moved away from the country with his family, who now live in London, when he was younger.

He is a final year student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and has developed plans for the creation of a Baghdad Design Hub, intended to be an inspirational environment where teaching, research and industry can come together to work on the city’s reconstruction.

Yousif said: “Baghdad is passing through a tough period but I believe it’s the right time for it to get back to what it once was. When it came to designing my final year project, I really wanted to do something for the city because I believe it’s the right thing to do and it could really benefit Baghdad.

“The Design Hub is a place where members of the community can unite with industry and education to share ideas about how we can help Baghdad to reconstruct in the right way.”

Yousif identified that, besides the obvious effects of war, design is a major element that is affected during the post-war time as cities hurry to rebuild using poor quality materials and with little thought to architectural significance.

"Baghdad is passing through a tough period but I believe it’s the right time for it to get back to what it once was."

The Design Hub is somewhere ideas from thinkers, designers and the academic sector could be cultivated, which would contribute to the overall regeneration of Baghdad.

Yousif says he drew inspiration from acclaimed British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who was also born in Baghdad.

And the student, who will graduate from UCLan next month, has a long-term goal to establish an architectural practice of his own, which he would like to base both here in the UK and in the Middle East.

Yousif added: “Becoming an architect has been my dream since I was young. I love drawing and I was always drawing buildings as a young kid.

“I’m happy to be graduating but I have really enjoyed my time at UCLan. My tutors are all friendly and have pushed me, but in a very positive way. I’ve also really enjoyed learning new techniques and working on some difficult designs and ideas.”

Yousif’s designs will be on display at UCLan’s Preston campus from 9-16 June as part of the Lancashire Arts Festival Degree Show.