Overlooking the majestic Buddha cliffs our proposal for the Bamiyan cultural centre is the creation of a timeless architecture perched over the Bamiyan valley. Wherein the very form of the building created provides a portal to the surrounding landscape, connecting the visitors to the lower valley and beyond.
“The overriding concept has been to provide a unique experience to the approaching visitor. As one arrives at the building from the upper area, the geometric folded form of the vaulted bricked roof allows the visitors to be channelled inside the centre, to be gently led into a unique transcendent environment, an ageless sheltered light perforated space.”
Once inside the visitor is led towards the light, with a shielded glazed façade which makes use of the building’s orientation to present a diffused soft light. The building form then leads the visitor to the external enveloping walkway, where the breath taking views can be enjoyed and the surrounding environment absorbed.
The building is north-south oriented and is conceived as a device to channel the views towards the Buddha cliff. It is set across the natural contour separating the higher and lower areas of the chosen plot.
The very form of the building defines the main entrance, with visitors being drawn inside as they approach from the upper area, which is served by the existing road. From this point on a ramp descends four metres down to a sunken patio, where the actual entrance door is located.
All circulation is organized around the central space and the two levels are connected via ramps that allow easy access to everyone. The ten metre difference in height in the plot has been used in order to achieve the maximum internal height and volumetric space. This has allowed the use of two levels. The classrooms and workshops are located on the upper floor at the entrance level whilst the exhibition spaces, the tea house, the performance hall and the research centre are located at the lower levels in order to ensure a connection with the outdoor areas.
Nevertheless, the building layout has been designed to be flexible, with the central core and circulation-ramps being the fixed elements of the space. This allows the location of the various uses to be located according to necessity providing a fluid element of development as the needs of the activities of the centre are catered for without affecting the functionality of the building.
The performance hall is located underneath the entrance patio, enclosed within the base walls of the vaulted roof. A panoramic-scenic promenade along the perimeter is protected by the roof and provides the perfect platform to allow the visitor to experience the landscape from a most advantageous point.
“The walkway is a most important aspect of the centre because it provides the physical connection to the valley below, allowing an extra sensory characteristic to surround the visitor, a transition point bringing the outside in.”
Car parking is located on the upper area of the plot near the entrance ramp and accessible from the existing road, where thirty spaces have been provided.
The design has ensured that the building is constructed with locally sourced materials. The main construction material being sourced directly from the land itself, brick.
The perforated bricked roof-vault is oriented towards the south, where it filters the light. Furthermore, because of its inherent large thermal mass it absorbs and stores heat energy, releasing the cool accumulated during the night environment in the summer and vice versa in winter, where it releases warmth.
The external shed walls support the scenic promenade and are designed to protect the internal space from direct sunlight when the sun is low on the east and west, whilst always allowing views to the Buddha cliff.
“The resulting architecture is one which unrolls from the land and unfurls to allow the assimilation of a unique historical environment. A building from the land for the land, a timeless space for the community providing an environment to present and share ideas whilst deeply rooted in its surroundings.”
Use: Cultural Centre
Bldg. Area: 2,220 m2
Status: International design competition
Architect: LUCA POIAN FORMS
Structural Engineer: SOLUXN Ltd
Visualization: ENGRAM Studio