Bamiyan Cultural Centre

Bamiyan Cultural Centre is located In a unique place  with a special potential . The plot marked to the project is situated on a hill with  a view of the Bamiyan Valley.

Together with Unique Vision Studio and Moss Decor we have finalised works on Cultural Centre in Bamiyan (Afganistan) competition entry for UNESCO.

After a long period of turmoil, Afghanistan is beginning its second decade of democratic governance. The emerging government has had to manage ongoing instability while taking steps to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, which has been devastated by over 30 years of conflict and neglect. Further exacerbating these rebuilding challenges is the geographic isolation and limited access to resources of some parts of the country.

While the rehabilitation process in Afghanistan typically focuses on infrastructure, rebuilding can also advance the goal of national unity by promoting positive public discourse and cross-cultural understanding. As a result, ethnic diversity can be seen as a collective benefit, rather than a source of fragmentation and conflict.

To this end, UNESCO and the Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan, with the generous financial support of the Republic of Korea, are implementing a project to build the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. The Centre will be located near the boundary of the World Heritage property, the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley. The purpose of the project is to promote heritage safe-guarding and cross-cultural awareness, and thereby contribute to the broader aims of reconciliation, peace-building and economic development in the country.

UNESCO’s mandate is to contribute in the areas of education, science, and culture for the purpose of promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. With the implementation of each of its projects, UNESCO is helping to rebuild and bring sustainable development to the Afghan nation.

The Bamiyan Cultural Centre will be a cornerstone in efforts to preserve culture, promote research and build community around culture, in order to build cohesion in a fractured cultural context. The Centre will provide space for archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from across the country and serve as a multi-purpose state-of-the art cultural complex and research facility. The building will provide adaptable space that can be used for variety of culture-related purposes, ultimately benefiting many stakeholders across a wide demographic.

Project Idea:

Bamiyan Cultural Centre is located In a unique place  with a special potential . The plot marked to the project is situated on a hill with  a view of the Bamiyan Valley. The aim of our project is to emphasise and take advantage of the value of the place , to adapt it to the surrounding landscape and culture. Moreover , we would like to present a building economical  in terms of usage , easy to extend and change of its  function.

During the process of designing of the building we were trying to conform to all the guidelines  given in the contest regulations. Our assumption was to  design a building  constructed from local materials in a technology typical for the region  , possessing outstanding architectural  qualities.

What is more , the building should be  easy to extend  and very flexible in terms of arrangement. On the one hand , the building  ought to be very  compact to  become  energy-efficient. On the other hand , it should be well lit with natural light.

The shape of the building is horizontal with a modular solid based on very strict dimension 4x4m. The  base is a network of pillars and beams , filled with locally made bricks creating walls and cradles. The most important assumption is to illuminate the interior through the cupolas that are turned in different directions . Thanks to it various lighting is gained suitable for individual  rooms. Furthermore , as a result of illusory irregularity the  interior  becomes inimitable and the  exterior  is interesting . There are some internal courtyards  with plants and daylight.

The designed building thanks to its dense solid and well-thought-out lighting of the interior will be energy-efficient. There is a possibility to  channel  water to a special container and to use it in the building and in the garden. Solar collectors can be fixed to the flat surfaces of the roof. They will not be visible from the outside since they will be covered with the vaulting.

The building is located in the higher part of the plot . As the result, the view  of the Bamiyan Valley from  the museum and the tea house  is spectacular. The important part of the development plan is the wall surrounding  the plot. In our project  it is connected with  the observation deck.  It results in the fact  that it becomes an element of the architecture  , not only  a  protective  barrier .

The use of the land is based on the same module as the solid of the building. The separate quarters  are filled with water , geometrical floor and plants of different height .


Thanks to the fact that  the building is based on the network of pillars its  layout  is regular  and it makes it easy to  rearrange the interior knocking down the partition walls . the building was divided into two zones : private and public space designed for the museum  workers , students and artists. They have been divided by the interior courtyard and the entrance zone .

In the public zone  there is a museum , performance hall , tea house and additional helping functions allowing the space to work . In the second private part there is an administrative part , classrooms , conference hall and workshop studio.

The entrance space divides the building into two essential zones described above.. It is very bright space connected with the inner courtyard. The hall is directly linked with  the museum   and the performance hall, to which  it plays the role of  the foyer .In this zone there is the tea house , performance hall an the museum. They are adapted to the needs of the diabled.

The museum is available directly from the main hall .It is an open space with various lighting, provided by glazing in the vaulting and the inner courtyard. The vaulting is turned into different directions  providing  light day and night. The museum is open towards the observation deck with an inimitable view. The interior is connected with the deck through glazing  and the continuation of the modular network.  The rooms  merge with  the neighbourhood and the view of the Budda Mountain. The exhibition  area of the museum may be arranged in a various way. It can be divided into a temporary and a permanent part by means of partition walls and pedestals..

The  museum is connected with the collection storage which is linked to the zone of research centre. A separate  entrance is designed to  this part of the building  connected with the the driveway the  art loading area. Scientists  and archeologists  have roomy , well –lit space  connected with the library and the reading room.

The performance Hall is directly connected with  the entrance hall  which is at the same time the foyer. The hall  has a drop  to enable the audience a good view. It can accommodate 200 people. It is illuminated by the glazing in the vaulting  that can be covered by  curtains or blinds  when it is necessary. The stage is connected with  the dressing rooms for  the   artists and has a separate entrance from the  backstage.

The private zone has a more cosy  character.  There is the possibility to close it by the glass door. to limit the access of strangers. The conference hall may not only be used by  the people working in this part of the building but also hired  to others. It is easy to divide it into two smaller ones  thanks to sliding panels. The workshop  studio  comprises  all the demanded  space. There is a spacious workshop   for artists  to create  sculptures and paintings. It is lit by  the daylight . It is possible to divide it arbitrarily and arrange  it into smaller  rooms  thanks to the vaulting  that illuminates the interior.

The administration is designed  as one room divided into smaller offices thanks to the arrangement of the interior. It is an optimum  solution since we lose only a little room  for communicating space. Individual employees  have not only their own space but also can easily  keep in touch with other offices.

Bamiyan Cultural Centre

Project: BXBstudio Bogusław Barnaś
Landscape design: MOSS decor
Visualisations and Graphics: Unique Vision Studio Rafał Barnaś & BXBstudio
Project team: Bogusław Barnaś, Natalia Bryzek, Anna Hydzik, Rafał Barnaś, Agata Lęcznar, Magdalena Kajor
Location: Bamiyan, Afganistan
Date: 2015
Total area: 2228 sqm
Administrator: UNESCO

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