Carpet Bombing Iraqi Markets

Winner 44th Central Glass International Design Competition 2009, Tokyo Japan

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a large number of insurgents chose to adopt ‘Terror’ as their main weapon by attacking a market place in almost every major Iraqi town and city. An internet search survey made of all media reports suggests that from 2003 to date, an estimated 5500 Iraqi’s have died and a further 7500 have been injured in market bombings.

Market bombings clearly have a devastating effect on communities and infrastructure and can leave behind deep scars in the urban landscape. This proposal looks to heal the wounds of a devastated landscape by introducing the concept of the Persian carpet, in the form of mosaic or painted tiles suitable for pedestrian and urban surfaces. The Persian carpet holds a strong cultural significance in the Islamic world not only as a major item of craft for trade in market places but also as a symbol of great social significance. The carpet is a surface where people gather. It is used for praying, for eating on, for sleeping, for family interaction and welcoming guests. By using the carpet as a metaphor in a public space, this proposal hopes to encourage a sense of belonging and cultural pride where once again people can proudly gather and interact.

Each bombed site is an opportunity to create a new gathering place and a place of interest. A healed urban surface could create an opportunity for new shops and businesses to open around the once damaged site. A devastated building could also create new access where new roads can be made to connect other places of interest, thus offering opportunities to extend prospective development.  

A market when attacked can become a place of distress that can inflict a psychological paranoia to its citizens and the community. This proposal hopes to bring people of all groups together to this new place of community gathering to create a positive atmosphere with a strong sense of culture and common identity. The proposal also aims to create a catalyst which encourages new businesses, new development as well as further economic and social growth while, acknowledging and respecting the memory of the inflicted site.

Atelier Soler
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