Location Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Construction Area 2.200m2
The location for the future Bamiyan Cultural Centre is in a rural valley in Afghanistan, a rugged terrain with a strong presence, materialized by the mountains that enclose it, and by the characteristic giant Buddha statues they house. From an intervening perspective, not only do we strive to preserve this landscape, but also to make the most of its natural beauty and historical setting.
The building we propose bridges the difference between the site’s two levels by connecting them through both interior and exterior. The entrance to the building happens on both levels, clearly arranging the cultural program into two distinct areas: educational and research areas, and exhibition areas benefiting from generous spaces with large floor to ceiling heights, that are free and flexible in their design. A courtyard internalizes the centre – a green oasis that is also the key to articulating the different levels. There are no visual separations between the spaces, connected through this courtyard, circulations and atriums.
In order to protect the heritage and values of this location, traditional and local materials that require less energy to manufacture and transport would be used, while still promoting small local economies. Constructively the building has a concrete and load-bearing brick superstructure, surrounded by compacted earth walls, and complemented by a lighter interior structure which retrieves the use of wood associated with traditional Afghan construction.