BAMIYAN CULTURAL CENTER



The Bamiyan Cultural Center is envisioned as a “center for the multi-cultural congregation” located on the lower terrains of the Bamiyan valley facing perpendicular to the Buddha Cliff. With emphasis to create fulfilling societal liveliness through diverse multitudes of activities, a strong centralized community court is implemented as the spine that runs throughout the compound, forging a strong link between the different cultures.

Located on the lower terrains of the Bamiyan valley, arriving visitors are greeted by the majestic panoramic view of the valley from street level before being lead on the descending pathway ramp towards the main entrance of the cultural center. On the opposing direction, an alternative local path leads down from the mountains to the secondary northern entrance of the cultural center.

The center provides a generous number of culture-related programs including a multi-purpose auditorium with multiple configurations, an exhibition area, educational classrooms, a conference room, a research center/library, and a community market all conventionally aligned to the central community court. Through framed openings, the various programs provide visual interactions with the central court, strengthening relationships between spaces within the cultural compound.

In addition to its main operation as a multi-cultural center, the design of the compound also focuses on serving the everyday lives of the locals. Extensive agricultural lands are provided on higher topographies to support local crop-rotations. Additionally, programs such as the Market Bazaar Is also designed to play a prominent role in integrating the local daily lives with tourist activities.

Vernacular characteristics of the Afghan house are implemented to establish a connection between the cultural center and the ancient city. Regarding regional practical construction methods, techniques such as cast-in-place concrete, plaster brick wall, and dowel wood joints are chosen to construct this building. To express the stability and permanence of the building structure, polished plaster mixed with local sand and stone on bricked walls are used creating a lasting impression through time.


2015
Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Unbuilt
22,000 sqm
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UNESCO, in Collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture
Puiphai Khunawat / Prajanin Kongporod / Sitthiwat Suddhijaru / Visara Phadoongsat
Somdoon Architects Ltd.