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Finalist – Mustafa Mora

Mustafa Mora.

Photo by David St George

Mustafa Mora, from the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, was a finalist at the 2017 NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Awards for his project 'The Five-Thousand Year Line'.

Project description

Undertaken using freehand and measured geometrical drawing techniques, this project proposes a large House of Wisdom for Qurna, a city at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Like the thirteenth-century Baghdad library from which the study draws inspiration, the House of Wisdom is an open environment for the sharing of culture, history and knowledge. The building draws on the traditions and architectural language of Marsh Arabs, including reed huts and boats, and symbolises the tragedy many regions in the Middle East have faced, including the displacement caused by the draining of the area’s marshlands under Saddam Hussein. The design aspires to be a beacon of hope for the region.


This engaging and romantic scheme was prompted by a personal desire to explore and connect with the culture of an ancient civilisation, and assist the revival of a war-damaged eco-system. The proposed House of Wisdom drew on and celebrated the Mesopotamian tradition of learning and scholarship, and the region’s architectural history. Mustafa’s project had an ethereal, even mystical quality.

2017 Student Architecture Awards