Between tradition and modernity: Max Lock and the Ubullah Neighbourhood Plan

Authors

  • Ben Tosland NYU London https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6590-8162

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2611-0075/11908

Keywords:

tradition, modernity, planning, architecture, Basra

Abstract

Ubullah is a zoned neighbourhood to the north of Basra, which the British planner and architect Max Lock was commissioned to plan in 1956 by the Basra Port Directorate. This followed a series of separate but relatable plans in southern Iraq completed in plan form during the previous two years. This article critically assesses how the Ubullah Neighbourhood Plan straddles both tradition and modernity within Iraq’s wider developing context, both through its physical architectural and townscape features, as well as its segregated location, away from the city centre. Owing to Basra’s location, within Iraq yet close to the Gulf, it negotiates wider geographies than its national picture; Lock’s plan acknowledged these through the scale to which he planned and the forms and types of building he aimed to procure through the publication of the Ubullah Neighbourhood Plan. This article further places the plan within its architectural and planning context, illustrating similar modern works within the Gulf, Iraq and Europe which forms Lock’s professional context. Ultimately, the plan was doomed to failure; from the outset, it was a plan that made sense for Lock to complete due to his portfolio of work in Basra and southern Iraq, yet difficulties with the location’s proximity to the city and its cut off nature meant Ubullah would be an isolated enclave on the periphery of the city. In addition, national politics and growing disquiet with the influence of the British within Iraq and neighbouring countries in the Gulf ensured the Ubullah plan by Lock was shelved. 

References

Primary Sources

BP ARC 68184, Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, AIOC Workers’ Terms Bettered Iran’s Labour Law, (London: AIOC, 1952).

FRY780-FRY825, RIBA Library, 46 Photo transparencies, ‘Gachsaran new town for the Iranian Oil Exploration and Production Company, Iran, designed in 1959 by Fry Drew & Partners’.

FO 371/104702, The National Archives, Unfair procedure of the Iraq Development board in awarding contracts, (1953)

FO 371/109887, The National Archives, Letter from D. A. Logan to C. T. E Ewart-Biggs, Foreign Office, 8th May 1954.

MLA 3.26, Max Lock, Report on Um Qasr. Unpublished: Max Lock and Partners, 1955.

MLA 4.8, Letter: Rebecca to Max Lock (20th November 1957).

MLA 6.12, Report: Max Lock, The New Basrah Plan. Unpublished: Max Lock and Partners, 1956.

MLA 6.20, Housing at Shatt-al-Turk: Proposed Layout of Area With Open Spaces and Tree Planting, November 1956.

MLA 10.5, Letter: Max Lock to R. C. Kelt (OBE) of the Port Directorate, (4th Feb 1955).

MLA 10.5, Letter: R. C. Kelt to Max Lock, Comments on the design for the Director General’s House, (21st February 1955).

MLA 10.5, Letter: Director General of Ports and Navigation to Max Lock, 2nd July 1954.

MLA 12.2, Letter: Max Lock to R. D. Gwyther of Coode and Partners, (27th May 1954).

MLA 12.2, Letter: Max Lock to Ben Polk, 18th January 1957.

MLA 18.17, ‘Box Headed: Please Return to Max Lock, Kuwait 1961

Secondary Sources

Abdelrehim, Neveen T. H.. Oil Nationalisation and Managerial Disclosure: The Case of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 1933-1951.Unpublished PhD Thesis: University of York, 2010),

Akcan, Esra. Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House. Duke: Duke University Press, 2012.

Akcan, Esra. ”Global Conflict and Global Glitter: Architecture of West Asia (1960-2010).“ In A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture, edited by Elle Haddad and David Rifkind, 317-345. London: Ashgate, 2014.

Alissa, Reem. Building for Oil: Corporate Colonialism, Nationalism and Urban Modernity in Ahmadi, 1946-1992. Unpublished PhD Thesis: University of California, Berkeley, 2012.

Al-Nakib, Farah. Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life.Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

Al-Qatrani, Firas S. A..”The old city of Al Zubair. The emergence and physical reality (1571-1882 Iraq).” Bulletin of Geography 27, no. 1 (2015): 28.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1983.

Avermaete, Tom, and Joan Ockman. Another modern: The postwar architecture and urbanism of Candilis-Josic-Woods. Rotterdam: NAI, 2005).

Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts into Air. London: Verso, 1982.

Boughton, John. Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. London: Verso, 2018.

Cleveland, William L., andMartin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East.Philadelphia: Westview, 2016.

Crinson, Mark. Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Architecture.London: Routledge, 1996.

Crinson, Mark. ”Abadan: planning and architecture under the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.” Planning Perspectives 12, no. 3 (1997): 341-359.

Cullen, Gordon. The Concise Townscape.London: The Architectural Press, 1966.

Dillon, Brian. Essayism. London: Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017.

Drew, Jane. ”’Housing in Iran’ in ‘In the Middle East’.” Architectural Digest (March 1957): 73–108.

Foucault, Michel. Order of Things.London: Routledge, 1966.

Habermann, Stanely J.. ”The Iraq Development board: Administration and Program.” Economic Review1, no. 9 (1955): 179-186.

Haj, Samira. The Making of Iraq, 1900-1963: Capital, Power and Ideology. New York: State University of New York Press, 1997.

Hinchcliffe, Tanis. ”British Architects in the Gulf, 1950-1980.” In Architecture and Globalisation in the Persian Gulf Region, edited by Murray Fraser and Nasser Golzari. London: Routledge, 2013.

Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terrence Ranger, (eds.). The Invention of Tradition.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Home, Robert. Of Planting and Planning: The Making of British Colonial Cities. Oxford: Routledge, 1997.

Hoskins, William G.. The Making of the English Landscape. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2005.

Ionides, Michael G. ”Review of: The Reconstruction of Iraq: 1950-1957. by Fahim I. Qubain.” International Affairs 35, no. 4 (1959): 485-486.

Jackson, Iain. ”The architecture of the British Mandate in Iraq: nation-building and state creation.” The Journal of Architecture 21, no. 3 (2016): 375-417.

Jackson, Iain, and Jessica Holland. The Architecture of Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. London: Routledge, 2014.

Jackson, Iain. ”Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew’s early housing and neighbourhood planning in Sector-22, Chandigarh.” Planning Perspectives 28, no. 1 (2013): 1-26.

Jackson, Iain. ”The planning of late colonial village housing in the tropics: Tema Manhean, Ghana.” Planning Perspectives 29, no. 4 (2014): 475-499.

Khattab, Adil A.. Basra City: A Study in Urban Geography. Unpublished PhD Thesis: SOAS, 1972.

King, Anthony D.. Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture, Urbanism and Identity. London: Routledge, 2006.

Lefèbvre, Henri.- The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell, 1974.

Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on Cities.Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City Boston: MIT Press, 1960.

Novack, Frank G.. Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes: The Correspondence New York: Routledge, 1995.

Orwell, George. The Road to Wigan Pier. London: Penguin, 1937.

Provoost, Michelle. ”Tema: Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew’, Delft Architectural Studies on Housing” 12, no. 13 (2015) http://dash-journal.com/tema-manhean/ (last accessed October 27, 2021);

Pyla, Paniota. ”Back to the Future: Doxiadis’s Plans for Baghdad.” Journal of Planning History 7, no. 1 (2008): 3-19.

Qubain, Fahim. The Reconstruction of Iraq: 1950-1957. New York: Praeger, 1957.

Rudofsky, Bernard. Architecture Without Architects: A short introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon, 1978.

Salter, Arthur. The Iraq Development Board: A Plan of Action. London: Caxton Press, 1955.

Shiber, Saba G.. The Kuwait Urbanization. Kuwait: Kuwait Government Printing Press, 1964.

Shoshkes. Ellen, and Sy Adler. ”Planning for healthy people/healthy places: lessons from midtwentieth century global discourse.” Planning Perspectives 24, no. 2 (2009): 197–217.

Shoshkes, Ellen. ”Martin Meyerson and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt and the Global Exchange of Planning Ideas.” Journal of Planning History 9, no. 2 (2010): 75-94.

Squire, Raglan ”In the Middle East”, Architectural Digest (March 1957): 73–108.

Stanek, Lukas. Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa and the Middle East in the Cold War.Princeton: Princeton: University Press, 2020.

Stanek, Lukas. ”Miastoprojekt Goes Abroad: The Transfer of Architectural Labour from Socialist Poland to Iraq (1958-1989)”, The Journal of Architecture 17, no. 3 (2012): 361-386.

Downloads

Published

2022-03-21

How to Cite

Tosland, B. (2021). Between tradition and modernity: Max Lock and the Ubullah Neighbourhood Plan . Histories of Postwar Architecture, 5(8), 93–116. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2611-0075/11908