Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition

Greetings everyone. We have been a little busy in our studio since the new year has rolled in but we wanted to take the time to update you all on an exciting competition we have collaborated on with some other talented architects, Rebecca Caldwell, Michelle Cook, Regina Kaluzny and Phillip Nielsen

The UNECSO office in Afghanistan commissioned a competition for professionals to submit a design for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan, in a city surrounded by beautiful mountain scapes within the agrarian community, a community that has historically endured constant conflict and unrest. 

The Bamiyan Culutral Centre Competition design brief for this site was to create a centre that would provide a space for exhibitions, training, research and education that would restore community back to this culturally rich site and encourage local residents and Afghan at large to “move beyond conflict, to reclaim their shared heritage and to step towards building a peaceful future” (Mojadidi and Noshadi, 2014, 9). 

  The design objectives include the following; 

     To enrich community life through programs and cultural events such as festivals, films, drama, music, dance, etc., that reflect the culture of the region and use these forms of communication to disseminate information and to raise awareness on cultural heritage. 

    To provide a venue and organize a variety of cultural, educational and recreational programs for the public to learn and appreciate different facets of Afghanistan’s heritage, history and cultural context. 

    To foster and cultivate cultural exchange between different ethnic groups in Afghanistan in order to contribute meaningfully to the spirit of multi-culturalism. 

    To promote the creation, performance and appreciation of arts by coordinating arts advocacy. 

    To serve the community by establishing, maintaining and operating a unique facility and provide services that contribute to the vitality of the community. 

    To serve the democratic society by providing a public space for civil society. 

In response, we proposed a centre that aimed to capture the diverse heritage of the Bamiyan Valley as well as represent the cultural variety of the Afghanistan community - It will become a place where ideas are exchanged, discoveries are made in research laboratories and above all else, people from all cultures can gather. 

UNESCO’s Afghaistan office announced the winners of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre in March this year, and huge congratulations to the Argentina-based team for a great achievement, winners out of 1070 design entries from 117 various countries. To see all the competition entries, click here.

To see our full design entry – see below.