Al-Bayati, Basil

(1946- )

Born in Baghdad,
Iraq, al-Bayati received a diploma in civil engineering from Baghdad University in 1968. He continued his studies at University College, London, where he was a student of Mohamed Saleh Makiya. He received a doctorate in Islamic art and architecture. “His work is manifested in plans and publications that express exuberance for visual forms rare in the Arab world today.” (

He has published a number of books which deal with general ideas of a contemporary Arab architecture. Among them: Process and Pattern, 1981; Community and Unity 1983; The City and the Mosque, 1984; Basil al-Bayati: Recent Work, 1988.

In 1968 he designed a plan for a new central district for Baghdad, following the tradition of contemporary Arab architects. In 1974 he designed al-Nakhlash Telecommunication Tower which is described as exuberant, expressive, transcending earlier limits and exploring new possibilities of design.

Among his spectacular projects outside of Iraq are the Palm Mosque of King Saud University in
Riyadh (1984) and the design for the Edinburgh Great Mosque (1987): “a project by the master formalist Basil al-Bayati, it combines abstracted elements from historical styles with touches of "Oriental" fantasy in a tightly-controlled composition. The mosque achieves through this blend a certain level of universalism without really breaking from the hold of received, romanticized images of Islamic architecture.”(

Other projects are in Oman, Yemen, and other Arab states.

References: Udo Kultermann ; Contemporary Architecture in the Arab States. McGraw- Hill,1999;