Rifat Chadirji was an Iraqi architect, photographer, author, and critic born into a wealthy family with artistic and political connections. He studied at the Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts...
RIFAT CHADIRJI, Iraq (1926 - 2020)
Rifat Chadirji was an Iraqi architect, photographer, author, and critic born into a wealthy family with artistic and political connections. He studied at the Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts in London and returned to Baghdad in 1952. He founded the architectural firm Iraq Consult. Chadirji became a pivotal cultural figure in Baghdad during the period of its post-war modernization from the 1950s through the 1970s. Most of his projects included federal buildings and private homes he built for the government and elite families. Chadirji referenced monumental architecture from the Persian Sassanid Empire and the Arab-Islamic Abbasid era. One of his significant works, commissioned by the Iraqi government in 1960, is Nasb el Jundi el majhul, the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in central Baghdad. He addressed the concept of regionalism and national identity formation through architecture. Chadirji taught at the Baghdad School of Architecture and was appointed as director of the government Waqif department to preserve historical buildings.
Along with his father, Kamil Chadirji, founder and president of the National Democratic Party in Iraq, Rifat Chadirji documented the history of Iraq and the Middles east through a vast collection of photographs that spans more than five decades. They captured daily life, cultural engagement, and social conditions in the area from the 1920s to the 1970s. The collection is homed at the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT.
Rifat Chadirji's photography was highlighted in an exhibition entitled Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation. The show was based on the collection of photographs held on loan at the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon. It toured in the US from 2016 till 2018. Chadirji photographed his nearly one hundred realized architectural projects: factories, universities, and office buildings, and other sites in Iraq between the 1950s and 1980s. Most of the images were snapshots in black and white. Chadirji preserved the memory of Iraq in structural and photographic registration.
He passed away in London in 2020 after contracting the Corona virus.
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Selected Solo Exhibitions
Rifat Chadirji: Every Building In Baghdad, Laxart, Hollywood, California, United States of America
Rifat Chadirji: Every Building In Baghdad, Graham Foundation, Chicago, United States of America
Rifat Chadirji: Every Building In Baghdad, The Arab Image foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
Rifat Chadirji, Introduction to Urban Design and Architecture in Lebanon
Rifat Chaderji, Medina Interviews Architect
Rifat Chaderji, The Photographs of Kamil Chadirji
Rifat Chadirji, Concepts and Influences: Towards a Regional International Architecture, 1952 – 1978
Awards and Honors
Lifetime Achievement Award from Tamayouz Excellence Award
Honorary PhD from Converty University in England
Sheikh Zayed’ Book Award
Chairman’s Award of the Aga Khan Award of Architecture
Bronze Medal by Barcelona Furniture Design
Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
The Arab Image Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon
محاضرة الثلث الأخير المعمارية بعنوان: (رفعة الجادرجي: المرجع والنموذج) للبروفيسور السيد ليون تلفزيان
RIFAT CHADIRJI Artwork
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