Bamiyan Cultural Centre
The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley is unique amongst World Heritage Sites with its history of destruction and suffering. The surroundings, including the intangible cultural community, should be preserved and celebrated for future generations. Tourism is very important in this context but the industry is facing critical situation due to a marked decrease in the number of tourists. The Bamiyan Cultural Centre is well-positioned to improve the above situation, but the construction of a fashionable tourist attraction risk tarnishing the existing context. Our proposal seeks to balance the desire for an innovative architectural landmark while maintaining and respecting the existing natural context.
Considering the above issues, we propose the Bamiyan Cultural Centre with the following key design features:
The site is located on the plateau of Chawni Hill. To build a structure up from the plateau will be to take away from the surrounding beautiful landscape. In order to maintain the existing scenery as much as possible, we propose to utilize the lower portion of the site. Furthermore, we propose to nestle the Bamiyan Cultural Centre -2.3m into ground. The overlapping vaulted roofs create a new, consistent cave-scape visible above ground level.
The sectional profile of the roofs is informed by the shape of Buddhist caves found in the Bamiyan Valley. Visitors will experience the vaulted spaces as if they are inside the caves. The interior spaces achieve natural lighting and ventilation by having various sized spaces according to the programme.
(2) The Approach with a Panoramic View
Approaching the main entrance from higher part of the site, visitors will be captured by the Bamiyan Valley view as they proceed down a slope to the lower part of the site. The main entrance of the building is located at -2.3 meters below ground level. After entering the building, the horizontal view is suspended and replaced by a connection to the sky.
(3) Connection to Outdoor Landscape
The Bamiya Cultural Centre maintains its connection to the surrounding landscape in its planning. The permanent collection exhibition spaces are centrally clustered around the Outdoor Exhibition space. Stairs from the Outdoor Exhibition space connects visitors to the Outdoor Green Garden. The exhibition spaces for temporary and permanent collections are kept separate in order to achieve independent use from each other. Both collections are accessible directly from reception.
(4) Structure and Materials
Durability and longevity of the building come not only from using local materials, but also from using passive mechanical systems and simple construction processes. The structure of the building is reinforced concrete, which is used locally. The wall spans are mainly limited to two lengths. The span in the exhibition spaces and the other small spaces is 12 meters; and the span in Performance Hall and Workshop Studio space is 18 meters.
Natural indirect light is introduced into most of the spaces by reflecting light onto the ceiling from the ground outside. Skylight is also introduced in some of the exhibition spaces for the permanent collection. The use of artificial lighting should be limited. Where artificial lighting is needed, it is not introduced on the ceiling, but on the wall to light upward towards the vaulted ceiling.
(6) Future Expansion
The proposal anticipates future expansions to the northeast. In that case, the pedestrian circulation should be left. The higher part of the site should remain open to hold events celebrating the cultural community of Bamiyan: outdoor theatre, outdoor workshops, local market, etc.