Bamiyan Cultural Center – UNESCO Competition


Our vision of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre is a long single storey building that stretches across the entire site, facing the valley and linking the existing plateforms. The two levels area is given a distribution system, an attractive pair of public esplanades and now confirmed in its role of balcony overlooking Buddha cliff.

The building itself is materialised by parallel waving sheets which recall the facing cliffs. Those sheets, voluptuous walls of  compressed earth blocks, are regularly opened by large vertical bays which dialogue with the numerous niches and caverns one may see on the opposite side of the valley.
Sleak and massive at  the same time, walls help the visitor wandering around by following them. The visitor will ultimately end up either in the tea house or in the conference room, both offering a dramatic sightseeing towards the empty Buddha niches.

The purpose of this building is, nevertheless, more to shelter activities and communities drastically oriented to the present time and the coming future.

While being of great dimension, it has to be accepted. Its use is rather simple with big volumes for main events, efficient smaller spaces for common fonctions, all rationally layout around clear vertebral spine.

But, to really become part of the population’s daily life as their Cultural Centre, one should allow inhabitants to get involved into the construction itself.

Melting ancient techniques such as compressed earth blocks and rational engineering, everyone from unskilled workers to side jobs, may participate, gain experience and initiate a new relation with its newly built environment.

Therefore, this proposal, while not demonstrating cantilevered challenge or expensive imported material, is deeply committed into the resurgence of a self promoted  society.

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