Bamyan Cultural Center
Our proposal for a new cultural center is located on the higher part of the site, with the main view towards the Buddha cliffs. The design aims to be simple, making use of only non-advanced building techniques, yet still have the uniqueness that would be required by its function.
The design started by determining a boundary of 92x92m. The boundary, a square marked by a wall of 1.2m height, should be thought of as a symbolic enclosure only; tall enough to be constantly visible, but short enough so as not to obstruct views. The boundary contains a garden of 6200m2, with trees and plant life collected from both the immediate area and the larger region, and will be a place for quiet contemplation or small social gatherings.
The building is placed in the southeastern corner of the boundary, and is single storey, with a triangular plan. Functions are placed within the triangle so as to best make use of the 2200m2 area available, maximizing natural light for the programs that would require this. Where the plan is too deep for natural light to reach the interior, skylights are installed in the ceiling.
Structurally, the building is comprised of a vaulted concrete roof of 2.3m, supported by concrete columns of 3m height. Non-structural infill walls made from terrazzo with a cementitious binder, of 2.3m height, are placed between columns. This gives a 0.7m glazed area between the ceiling and the internal walls, that is constant throughout the building and allows light to penetrate further into the plan. The floor can either have a polished concrete finish, or brickwork on a concrete slab. The outer facade continues the 1.2m garden wall, with concrete structural elements and glazing on top.
In the construction phase, it is assumed that recycled or local aggregates can be used in the concrete to make it more sustainable. To ease construction, the design relies on a repetition of standard geometric elements. The formwork for the vaults in the ceiling could for example be reused, repeated over in a sequence. Similarly with the columns and walls which are all same heights and thicknesses throughout.