The strategic positioning of the future Bamiyan center, above a small hill that dominates the Bamiyan valley and in front of the monumental façade of the Buddha Cliff, lends itself to a strong topographic and landscape support. All of the valley’s topographic system is distinguished by how the land is used and its fragmentation into lots for different cultivations.
The new perimeter of the building interacts with the natural geographic support, geometrising level curves, creating new planes and volumes and introducing new materials and textures of green.
The project translates into a massive geometry dug and built into the land, whose head is simply a plane of different agricultural cultivations and gardens.
This (un)built landscape will characterise, over time, the perception of the Bamiyan valley and of the Buddha Cliff, for the higher part of the country.
The aim is to transform the natural look of the site of the project, using a mimetic, topographic, landscape and architectural approach.
The intervention doesn’t aim to build a building that fills the landscape, but creates it through its apparent absence. With this in mind, the volume of the Bamiyan Cultural Center has been placed in the lower part of the terrain (+2545.00m). Using the land’s topography, the intervention can take place without imposing a new presence in a place where history has already marked out its long presence and keeping the view of the Buddha Cliff unimpeded.
A work of binding the building and land at +2555.50m allows us to transform the cover of the Bamiyan Cultural Center into a unique natural element: a vegetable plane made up of plats and geometrised gardens in a regular knit.
The space and light are dug into the partly underground building. The project is kept free, using a modular plan, which starts out from the open spaces, the patios that have come out of the “dig”, and, by drawing the precise spaces that gravitate around them.
The use of a level covering allows the public to look out over the view below.
Two main accesses will permit entry into the Bamyan Cultural Centre, one for the workshop, research, classrooms and storage areas, the other for the exhibition and performance areas. They will also communicate among themselves.
Inside we will subtly build a continuous and very deep space and we can perceive how the design of the covering determines the different parts of the programme. The sequence of the spaces will lead the visitor through a course with different scales and, therefore, through different sensations. The alternation of open and closed areas, of light sinks and shadowed areas will keep the perceptive senses aware. The use of cases and cabinets as organising elements of the programme’s functions will give a strong visual link between the various environments of the Bamiyan Cultural Center.
The experience of this rich internal space is completed by the way in which the sky and the Bamiyan valley become an integral part of it. A series of patios and openings in the wall, each with different sizes, will make the indoor communicate with the outdoor and viceversa, introducing a more vibrant and extended luminosity, that will play among the structure’s columns. This vertical connection with the sky and horizontal one with the Bamiyan valley will render the experience a vibrant architectural experience. The project aims to create the most stimulating conditions possible for a sensorial experience of the architecture.
The relationship with the outdoors is marked by the only two visible facades. Here the sober usage of poor materials will determine the formal aspect of the outside of the Bamiyan Cultural Center, making clear the desire to not emerge out of the landscape with its presence. The tonality of the blocks in will further amalgamate the building with the colours of the surrounding nature.
On the minor façade, three arches identify an access point to an internal space that has been built on the façade that can be found at the borders of the lot, facing the overlooking precipice of the Buddha Cliff, reclaiming the idea of openings dug into the rock and re-adapting them to the needs of the Bamiyan Cultural Center. The façade, due to its colours, material textures and the design of the holes will annul itself in the rocky face.
A landscape and architectural project, strongly contaminated by the site, by local tradition and by all of its temporal and historic meaning.