EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Kurdistan Museum design unveiled
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The museum will showcase the spirit of the Kurds, their rich culture and history and the future of Kurdistan, said Daniel Libeskind on Tuesday.
Kurdistan Museum is to be built in the center of Erbil, near the citadel, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the Islamic State (IS) border.
Architect Libeskind said that the Museum intends to create “the first major center in the Kurdistan Region for the history and culture of the Kurdish people,” reported ArchDaily, an online platform for broadcasting architecture.
The project has been signed as a collaboration between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and client representative RWF World. The museum will be built on 150,000 square feet and will feature temporary and permanent exhibitions, a lecture theater, state-of-the-art multimedia educational resources, and an extensive digital archive of Kurdish historical assets.
Apart from the mentioned features, the museum will contain a community center and landscaped outdoor spaces for public use.
The design is meant to navigate between two extreme emotions: tragedy and hope, from the weight of history towards joy as the nation looks to the future, Libeskind explained.
The architect had previously visited the towns that survived the Anfal genocide committed by the former Iraqi dictator. Saddam Hussein destroyed more than 2,000 Kurdish villages and killed nearly 200,000 Kurds in 1980s.
“I knew about the Anfal. I come from this background [Holocaust]. It was kind of like a repetition: They took my brother in the middle of the night. They killed his kids, and we don’t know where he is,” he told Bloomberg News Agency.
Libeskind’s parents survived the Holocaust. He was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1946, and moved to Israel, and then emigrated to New York. He traveled to Erbil in 2010 for the first time.
“I am not Muslim. I am not Yezidi (Ezidi). I’m not Kurdish. I’m Jewish, but it’s the same thing,” he added.
The museum will be made of four interlocking geometric volumes which represent the four main parts of the Greater Kurdistan in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.
Additionally, a line that intersects the volumes divides the museum between the past and future of the Kurds. “The two fragments create an emotive duality: a heavy and opaque mass, the Anfal Line, which symbolizes the genocide under Saddam Hussein; and the Liberty Line, a lattice structure filled with greenery that ascends towards the sky and culminates with an eternal flame – a powerful symbol in Kurdish culture,” Libeskind told Bloomberg.
The project was initiated seven years ago when the Prime Minister of KRG, Nechirvan Barzani, asked Libeskind through an intermediary to design a museum near Erbil citadel to tell the story of Kurds, a nation that survived decades of violence and oppression.
Libeskind mentioned that the project was delayed due to the emergence of IS in Iraq and the financial crisis that faced the Kurdistan Region in particular and Iraq in general.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa