In the 1970's, the Municipality of Baghdad embarked on an extensive upgrading and renewal scheme for the city, including several new housing developments. In December 1980 Planar, a Baghdad based planning and architectural firm, and Skaarup & Jespersen (Copenhagen) were commissioned to submit a conceptual layout ford 3km long site on the Tigris river, in central Baghdad. The project was to be essentially residential, in the form of low-rise and high standing town houses designed to replace dilapidated areas. At this initial stage, the would-be users were not identified, although the brief required dwelling units of different sizes, which would attract high-income families. Most of the present occupants are senior presidential palace staff.
The general layout had to allow for long stretches of new development, interspersed with some existing structures of architectural and historical value. The scheme involves low rise, medium to high density urban housing based on terraced units.
The project comprises a total of 278 units -86 4-bedroom town houses (228 sq m) -8 3-bedroom maisonnettes (163 sq m) -23 2-3-bedroom flats (118 sq m), -40 2-bedroom flats (104-118 sq m) -29 1-2-bedroom flats (92 sq m) -76 I-bedroom flats (70-75 sq m)
Each building is provided with a front court, a back garden, parking and a roof terrace. All units have their own private access from the outside and are completely finished with fitted kitchens, bathrooms, cupboards and storage fixtures. Solar energy provides 50-60% of the required power (including air-conditioning) with a back-up system operated on kerosene (to be later replaced by natural gas). Façade openings are recessed and composed of insulated panels with double-glazing, yellow-coloured brick facing further minimizes heat gain. Internal finishes include plastered painted walls, tiled floors and hard wood secondary elements. Open areas with two public parks, pergolas fountains and playgrounds are situated on both sides of the main street in the center of the site. However, parts of the initially planned landscaping and additional facilities (a nursery, supermarket, bank and restaurants) have not been implemented.