ZUZAK and MAHALA (Arabic for 'Street and Place') is a special grassroot initiative by Iraqi architect Raya Ani (RAW-NYC Architects). With this project, Ani engages with local communities in Baghdad and beyond, helping rebuild destroyed Iraqi cities. Step by step. Or rather: street by street. As an international and multidisciplinary architect, Ani brings experience from working on three continents and different cultures. Which lessons can Amsterdam architects, urban planners and citizens take from her work in cities such as NYC, Baghdad and Dubai? And how can architecture and design be used as a source of empowerment for and by the city and its citizens?
Raya Ani is a multidisciplinary Iraqi architect and the founder & design director at RAW-NYC Architects. Her passion and interest crosses over disciplines to include architecture, urban design, interior design, fashion, art and the environment. To demonstrate this diversity in practice, a small selection of her extensive work:
Raya Ani received her BSC in Architectural Engineering from Baghdad University with distinctions, and an MS in Architectural studies from MIT, where she was awarded the Harvard / MIT Aga Khan Scholarship. She was the President of the American Institute of Architects-Middle East in 2017. She is a licensed Architect in the State of New York and a US Green Building Council Accredited Professional. She was named one of the top most powerful Architects in the Middle East by Design MENA in Dubai. She was selected as one of five inspiring and powerful personalities in the world by Black Tomato travel and Cadillac where she represented Dubai and the MENA region.