Bamiyan Cultural Centre

Copyright © 2014 MAD(E) IN MUMBAI, All rights reserved.

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Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Cultural Centre

2200 sqm.

UNESCO Competition

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January 2015

Krish Shah

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The architecture of the cultural centre in itself is an archive, an embodiment of relationships between people and their place through time. The gesture of Bamiyan Cultural Centre is to create a palimpsest that collects the remains of time. We imagine the cultural centre to be this utopia of walled garden which an envelope in its boundaries traces of time.

The wall of the garden runs along the length of the site to capture the panoramic views of the Buddha cliff. The linear wall takes it shape to view the Buddha cliff and to be seen from there. Programs almost as pavilions sit along the wall projecting into landscape. The entrance edge of the site is imagined as a set of public gardens that open up the site to everyday lives of local people. The second layer of landscape is series of courtyards, plazas, terraces that integrate with the wall building, programs and the pavilions. The third layer is of terrace gardens that step down towards the valley forming cascading fruit orchards. And the last layer is of wild grass. There also runs a network of water bodies from higher level to lower level to irrigate these terraced gardens. Pedestrian movement meanders through all these layers of public gardens, wall building, Pavilions, fruit orchards, water bodies and finally opening up onto grass lands to reveal panoramic views of the valley.

The built program is housed in the wall and in the pavilions. The architecture of the institution is a repository of experiences of people of Afghanistan with their places and surroundings.