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  • Bamiyan Cultural Centre

    Daniel CAVEN, "Bamiyan Cultural Centre."
    chicago ILLINOIS

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Daniel CAVEN: The Bamiyan Cultural Centre takes on the initiative to push towards economical advancements in technology and culture for Afghanistan. The centre strives to envision the country’s progress towards the 21st century using its progressive architecture and responding to the growing needs of Afghanistan.

    Using vernacular materials and construction methods, Bamiyan will be put in full control of taking on the project, giving its citizen the ownership of the building and its integrity. The centre is pushing not only for a symbol for Bamiyan progress, but a promise for an economical uprising for the area and new ideology of Afghanistan.

    The centre’s concept is based around the 3-D resolution of the Buddha statues that where located to the North of the site. Deconstructing the pure detail of the statues and seeing the artistry and craft that went into them as symbols of culture, the centre’s architecture takes on those same remnants. The tragedy of the statues’ demolition, in 2001, brings on new hope for the area. As the remains of where they stood brings a vision and dialogue with the centre. Leaving the space, where the statues stood, a space of remembrance and a cove of community. The centre’s concept takes the basic outlines and decimates them to a non-secular outline bringing a symbol of neutrality and peace through form. The centre conceptually lowers the resolution to create a monolithic shell that pushes for equality under one shell. Thus bringing to life new varieties of culture, music, and entertainment under one roof.

    The program for the centre is designed around the idea of education, performance, and exhibit. Entering the building, on the south side, the lower roof creates compressive shell that sequentially opens to the users. Each of the spaces are designed around experientially directing people towards the view of the mountains using panels and wood decor throughout the faceted walls and ceilings.

    Programmatically, the centre is broken up by three sections. The auditorium is comprised of flowing patterns and wood panels profiling towards the stage and the mountains. Leaving the backdrop as a picturesque background for viewing pleasure. The library is a unique space that is hung above the exhibit space and auditorium—giving views to the spaces below. The slender area gives it users a delicate experience that enhances the research by being surrounded by quiet spaces as well active spaces. The exhibit space uses a large entry staircase that circulates people throughout the spaces as well as directing views towards the mountains.

    Overall programmatically, the building is broken up into two floors with a split level floor offering office and practice space. The building has emergency cores and exits on both sides and optional elevator system. The overall layout was based around feasibility and optimized systems. The construction for the building utilizes the minimal amount of cut and fill due to programmatic relationships and foundation work. The floor plate is a cost effective way to give the building its appearance as well as a sustainable solution to the construction.

    Materiality for the center was research to be applicable to the vernacular constructions. The shell is comprised of a wood structure and brick veneer. The brick is inscribed to show a relationship to the city and the wood facade delivers contrastic tension to the shell. The decor on the outside acts as tension rods holding the brick atop the wood frame trus inhabiting the exterior walls. The roof is made out of large network of wood trusses allowing for the space above the program areas for mechanical. The roof is a performance piece of its own—using PV’s the centre is self powering machine generating enough power not only for itself but to power some of the surrounding buildings’ electricity. Water management around the site is collected using a permeable tiling systems sticking to a LEED platform. The building utilizes passive systems by having every window wall on the north and south to open during the warmer months and using high performance glass for insulative value in the colder months. Allowing for fresh air to flow through the spaces leaving the need for air conditioning at a minimum.

    The Bamiyan Cultural Centre gives so many new advancements of space and technology to Afghanistan It delivers a view that is a back drop for every space—leaving a lasting impression for the users. Taking on historical references towards the past, the centre’s architecture will be a progressive stylized advancement towards the future of Afghanistan. The centre will be a huge spectacle for the rest of world all the while giving economical change through tourism, reuniting the people for the past and the future.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    DC: N/A.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    DC: Reading Mario Carpo, The Alphabet and the Algorithm; listening to Opie and Jimmy; and watching Better Call Saul.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    DC: Noriko Kuresumi.

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