Location: Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Area: 2,220 m²

Client: Ministry of information & Culture of AghanistanUNESCO

Date: January 2015 - International Competition Submission

Just as caravans navigating the Silk Road were comprised of an aggregate group of independent vessels, each transporting fragments of otherworldly origin, so too is our proposal for the Bamiyan Cultural Center conceived of as an assembly of vessels dedicated to cultural exchange, knowledge, and creativity. Bound together by common purpose and inspired by Afghanistan’s rich and diverse contribution to world heritage, this proposal crosses political, social, and cultural boundaries towards the establishment of common ground. In response to a cascading topography, earthen structures appear as a hilltop settlement, bound together in a mutually responsive arrangement that considers local climate, scale, and materiality.

A considerable drop in level within the site itself provokes a meandering composition. Courtyards define and characterize the in-between spaces, while terraces address the infinite expansion of the Bamiyan Valley, and the dramatic topography of the Hindu Kush. The undeniable drama of this edge condition, and the charged voids of the Bamiyan Buddhas, is what magnetizes the cliff-edge, an expansive view of the regions layered history, agriculture, and geology. This panorama is a major organizational influence on our proposal, and draws the complex to the edges of the escarpment.