The Bamyan Cultural Centre

Bamiyan Cultural Centre project is one of few projects which attempts to address hopeful aspects of Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been seen as a country of strife and war, a nation fragmented by decades of conflict and ethnic tension. However, thousands of years of history and deeply refined culture of the country tells a whole different story. The country is a place of extraordinary resilience, where some of the world’s most ancient traditions mingled, where there are stunningly varied landscapes, where beauty, pride, and optimism are national characteristics. Afghans retain a deep well of hope for a better future.

Bamiyan Cultural Centre project is one of few projects which attempts to address these hopeful aspects of Afghanistan. As a result of long driven discussions between UNESCO and the Government of Afghanistan on enhancing culture as a tool for peace-building and economic development, operational plan for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre was endorsed in 2008. In November 2013, the Government of Republic of Korea generously agreed to provide financial support for the project, sharing with UNESCO and the Afghan Government a vision of promoting Afghan culture for the future of the country.

Based on the support from the Republic of Korea, the Government of Afghanistan and UNESCO is in pursuit of building a unified nation under the common objective of creating an open society free from conflict and where ethnic diversity is recognised as a societal benefit. The project endeavours in establishing an anchor and model for what a creative hub can look like in the Afghan milieu, trying to integrate local communities as well as to identify Bamiyan’s rich cultural backgrounds.

International Design Competition of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre

Copyright Bamyan Cultural Centre

The design, “Descriptive Memory: The Eternal Presence of Absence,” by a group of Argentinian architect was selected as the winning design after a two-month international design competition. The competition received an astonishingly large number of submissions: in total 1070 architect groups from 117 countries. The competition was the evidence of marked aspiration from diverse international communities toward peace-building for post-conflict Afghanistan through construction design and culture. The Jury panel included well-known international practitioners led by a Korean architect Mr. Kim Young Joon, and the winning design was vetted by numerous high-ranking Afghan officials, including H.E. the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The selected Bamiyan Cultural Centre design is already recognised by the local community as a future landmark in Bamiyan. It is one of the first architecturally thought-through new public buildings to be constructed in Afghanistan.

Critical Principles of Design

  1. Create an innovative design.
  2. Create a vital centre for the cultural community of Bamiyan allowing individuals to commune and share ideas.
  3. Integrate the Bamiyan Valley view into the building design and create a positive visual impact on the Cultural Landscape of Bamiyan Valley.
  4. Integrate an environmentally conscious design, which in the Bamiyan context should consider locally resourced materials, climate and efficiency.
  5. Connect to the historical context of the World Heritage property.
Copyright Bamyan Cultural Centre

Selection Process

A group of seven professional and experienced Jury members examined each of the designs and voted for an Argentina-based architecture team as the winning entry (BCC738) and for four runners-up from Turkey (BCC2009), Cyprus (BCC4104), France (BCC2022) and the Netherlands (BCC3532). The work of Carlos Nahuel Recabarren and his fellow team members Manuel Alberto Martinez Catalan and Franco Morero’s from Argentina was selected from an astonishing 1,070 design proposals submitted from 117 countries.

The assessment of the applications was made in accordance with the pre-defined criteria, and the selections were made anonymously by a unique user code that was given to each of the entries at the time of the submission. In making its selection, the jury applied design principles emphasizing innovation, community needs, environmental consciousness, sustainability and connection to the natural and cultural landscape of the Bamiyan Valley.

This article need more information and will be updated soon!

Bamyan Cultural Centre website



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