National Museum of Afghanistan Competition Winners

  • 08 Oct 2012
  • by
  • Awarded Competitions
1st prize – Courtesy of AV 62 Arquitectos

Held at the National Museum on Monday, September 17, the Ministry of Information and Culture and the US Embassy in announced the winners of their International Architectural Ideas Competition for the National Museum of Afghanistan. The Jury’s decision for the winning design submissions is based on the clarity of the architectural concept that responds effectively to the programmatic, functional, technical, economic and security requirements in the brief, and the architectural quality of the proposed design as a whole. This decision ultimately recognizes the distinguished architectural quality of the winning proposed design solution with the first prize given to AV62 Arquitectos. More images and information on the winning entries after the break.

1st prize – Courtesy of AV 62 Arquitectos

This competition attracted the interest from architects, urban planners and designers from more than one hundred and forty countries after its official announcement in March 2012. Three hundred and forty eight firms from sixty three nations of the relevant fields applied to participate in the competition. Through a prequalification process one hundred and twenty five of the applying firms from forty seven nations were admitted to elaborate their architectural design ideas. By the deadline in June 2012, seventy two eligible design proposals from thirty one countries had been received and subsequently evaluated by the appointed Jury.

1st prize / master plan – Courtesy of AV 62 Arquitectos

Jury’s Statements:

First Prize: AV 62 Arquitectos, Spain
Design Team: Toño Foraster Mariscal, Victoria Garriga Ariño, Blanca Pujals, Stefano Carnelli, Itziar Imaz, Nuno Lopes, Daria Luce, Luis de la Fuente, Samantha Sgueglia, Marc Marin

The strength of this Design Proposal rests on the balance that has been achieved between the architectural form and the presentation of the collections that will be housed in the proposed new Museum building. This has been achieved by an exterior appearance that is distinctive yet understated and which responds to the local context, along with a coherent scheme of interior spatial articulation that takes into account the nature of the materials that might be displayed. Moreover, the design is a relatively simple building solution that is both affordable and realistic to construct with the materials and skills locally available – this design will enable the collection to be safely stored as soon as possible. The clear and simple circulation concept, along with a degree of modularity, results in an efficient spatial arrangement for staff and operations that also provides a degree of flexibility in responding to changing needs and variation of displays.

2nd prize – Courtesy of Mansilla + Tuñón Arquitectos

Second Prize: Mansilla + Tuñón Arquitectos, Spain
Design Team: Emilio Tuñón, Matilde Peralta, Jesús Vasallo, María José Castillón, Ruben Arend, Carlos Brage, Marceline Ruckstuhl, Andrés Regueiro, Carlos Martínez

This Design Proposal is a more demonstrative, monumental type architecture that expresses the functional spaces within. The scale of the proposed new museum building is bigger than that of the First Prize Winner and the exterior profile can be seen as visually responsive to the backdrop of the surrounding mountains. Like the First Prize Winner, the design is based upon a grid, offering easy expansion and interior flexibility, but here the grid is expressed more directly externally and the building becomes visually more assertive. The design has an identifiable and recognizable visual form and scale that is quite sculptural, without being too monumental.

3rd prize – Courtesy of fs-architekten, Paul Schröder Architekt BDA

Third Prize: fs-architekten, Paul Schröder Architekt BDA, Germany
Design Team: Paul Schröder, Sabine Habicht, Oliver Schmand, Gregor Kahlau, Melanie Dahmen, Süleyman Yaya, Rona Khpalwak, Alona Lavrenteva

This Design Proposal makes an extremely strong and creative architectural statement and represents the most successful of the free-form designs. This is achieved by very sculptural massings and volumes. The visual references to the adjacent mountains represent a further shift towards an architecture that speaks of the landscape and of the nature of protection. The design also has the potential to be quite dramatic: a building that could become a destination visit in its own right, encouraging an interest in the collection almost by default.

honorable mention – Courtesy of IAN+

Honorable Mentions (of equal ranking):

IAN+ architecture & engineering, Italy
Lawrence and Long Architects, Ireland
Luisa Ferro, Architect, Italy

honorable mention – Courtesy of Lawrence and Long Architects

The Jury, chaired by HE Dr. Raheen, Minister for Information and Culture, advised by Dr. Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation (New York), and further comprised of Afghan and international experts in the fields of engineering, museum planning and Afghan architecture and cultural heritage, was impressed regarding the number and diversity of proposals submitted in response to the brief for the master plan of the museum site and the new museum building.

honorable mention – Courtesy of Luisa Ferro, Architect

Organizer: S.E.E.|office for architecture and design: Sayed Rohullah Majidi + Sayed Zabihullah Majidi
Client: Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture
Sponsor: U.S. Embassy Kabul




Cite: Furuto, Alison. "National Museum of Afghanistan Competition Winners" 08 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Robert Ciula

    Kimbell Art Museum by Louis I. Kahn?…

  • Andrew

    Yes, how many times has this project been published with out mention of Kahn’s Kimball museum?

  • Scott Smith

    Winner is a copy of the Kimball and it doesn’t even use the most brilliant part of Kahn’s design, the filtered light through the arch. Instead they put some goofy off the shelf up lighting. Nice.

  • T rizzle

    Hey it may be a rip off, but at least they wrapped it in what looks like really expensive middle eastern glossy wrapping paper.
    …So let’s give ‘ em some credit