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  3. UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan

UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan

UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan
UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan, Winning Entry: Exhibition Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Exhibition Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

, in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, have announced the winning proposal for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. An Argentina-based team, lead by Carlos Nahuel Recabarren alongside Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán and Franco Morero, were selected from 1,070 design entries from 117 countries. Prepatory work on implementing their scheme, entitled Descriptive Memory: The Eternal Presence of Absence, "will start immediately" close to the boundaries of the Bamiyan World Heritage site.

See the winning entry and the four runners-up after the break.

Runner Up [4]: Entrance View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO Runner Up [2]: Performance Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO Runner Up [3]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO +26

With generous financial support from the Republic of Korea, the Cultural Centre will be realised in a prominent location close to the boundaries of the World Heritage property of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of Bamiyan. Although the World Heritage Site is best known for the large standing Buddhas that were destroyed in 2001, "the Cultural Centre is oriented more toward the future, encompassing the multi-layered heritage of Afghanistan’s long history and envisioning the building as a cornerstone in efforts to preserve culture, promote research and build community around culture." The international competition to design the centre marked the first step in this process.

Design proposals had to be centre around the theme of national unity to promote heritage safeguarding, cross-cultural awareness, and cultural identity thereby contributing to the broader aims of reconciliation, peace-building and economic development in Afghanistan. The design also had to complement the physical and historical landscape of Bamiyan, described by UNESCO as a landscape that "bears an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition in the Central Asian region, which has disappeared." In making its selection, the jury applied design principles emphasising "innovation, facilitation of community, environmental consciousness, and connection to the natural and cultural landscape of the Bamiyan Valley."

Paolo Fontani, director of the UNESCO office in Afghanistan, has said that "this competition was an opportunity to create a new pattern for architecture, design and cultural development in Afghanistan. It is one of our objectives to make sure that the Afghan people recognize themselves in the design concept.”

The winning design was endorsed by the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, who acknowledged UNESCO’s competitive selection process and voiced his dedication to protect Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. Following this, it has been announced that the Afghan government will set up a major national culture program whose aim sole will be to value the country’s rich cultural diversity. The program will include a nationwide archaeological survey, a creative industries programs, and targeted activities to safeguard minority rights across the country.

Jury members included:

  • Zahara Bereshna, Architect
  • Young Joon Kim, Architect
  • Robert Knox, Museum curator, former Keeper of the Asia Collection at the British Museum
  • Elizabeth O’Donnell, Architect, Acting Dean of The Cooper Union
  • Ajmal Maiwandi, Architect, CEO of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Afghanistan
  • Jukka Jokilehto, Special Advisor to the Director-General of ICCROM, Member of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  • Cameron Sinclair, Executive Director, Jolie-Pitt Foundation, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity

First Place: Descriptive Memory: The Eternal Presence of Absence / Carlos Nahuel Recabarren, Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán, Franco Morero [BCC000738, Argentina]

Winning Entry: Entry Hall. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Entry Hall. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

From the architect. The Bamiyan Cultural Centre seeks to create a new vital centre for communicating and sharing ideas.  Therefore, our proposal tries to create not an object-building but rather a meeting place; a system of negative spaces where the impressive landscape of the Buddha Cliffs intertwine with the rich cultural activity that the centre will foster.  The Bamiyan Cultural Centre then is not a built but rather ‘found’ or ‘discovered’ by carving it out of the ground.  This primordial architectural strategy creates a minimal impact building that fully integrates into the landscape, takes advantage of thermal inertia and insulation of the ground and gives a nod to the ancient local building traditions.

The jury identified "exceptional qualities" in this winning entry: "a well-conceived plan providing for all program elements as well as a separation of public/exhibition and research/educational activities; a very sensitive site strategy that produced an elegant entry sequence and minimal visual impact on the site, integrating the building as part of a larger garden strategy, and the suggestion of brick construction that would be expressed on the interior spaces of the building, creating elegant passageways that could easily serve as informal or formal meeting spaces and additional informal gallery spaces. They also found the project to be an appropriately scaled project, and with careful design development, would be a very buildable project."

Winning Entry. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Site Overview. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Winning Entry: Site Overview. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

Runner-Up: Ahmet Balkan, Emre Bozatli [BCC002009, Turkey]

Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

From the architect. The idea of unity is enhanced by simplicity and silence. We propose simplicity in terms of the entire architecture, a vital compression, in which the hawli along an outward structure is proposed as a starting point for future adaptation and extension. It is a bare-architecture, a backbone-architecture to be filled with life; an abstract, undecorated, non-imposing architecture which leaves freedom to its users as to how to use and transform the edifice into the cultural centre of collective will.

Simplicity rather than excess is foreseen in terms of construction. Given that funds are extremely valuable and limited, in a context of social conflict and deep economic suffering, we propose a straightforward construction based on 3 materials: concrete for the structure to span large & flexible spaces; locally produced baked brick as the main building material belonging to this place and sustaining local economy, ecology, and tradition; and local stone for a refined flooring fit for a cultural centre this nature.

Runner Up [1]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Overview. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Overview. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [1]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

Runner-Up: Noel Dominguez, Zoe Salvaire, Agathe Culot, Anna Kampmann, Alexandre Ferron [BCC002022, France]

Runner Up [2]: Performance Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Performance Space. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

From the architect. The Bamiyan Cultural Centre (BCC) is comprised of rich and fascinating program elements integrated into a site which is remarkable both for its landscape and its history. Our project aims to honor and promote the sharing of this preeminent cultural, landscape and historic heritage, even as it provides the Afghan community in Bamiyan and its visitors an exciting and powerful tool for the collective writing of history to come.

The BCC program is organized like a village – buildings (“program blocks”) are arranged around interior streets (walkways and views toward the near, medium and faroff landscape). Situated in the prolongation of the existing urban network (police and TV station), the project preserves built continuity. Although the BCC facilities in the vicinity are obviously incomparable, the “program-blocks” are of a scale close to the pre-existing buildings and fit harmoniously into the context.

Runner Up [2]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [2]: Interior Perspective. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

Runner-Up: Costas Nicolaou, Constantinos Marcou [BCC004104, Cyprus]

Runner Up [3]: Perspective View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Perspective View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

From the architect. This proposal looks at the notion of culture beyond the poetic explanations that were embedded by different approaches and to read it means to understand it within social and political context. Bamiyan as a post-traumatic city has experienced political conflicts that have dominated its physical environment. The cultural voids of such trauma are embodied not only within the memory of its people but exist as the absence of “cultural space”. Although often romanticised, this suggests that the notion of culture is something more than social and the claim of it can become the apparatus for political conflict. The Buddha Cliffs, are such examples in which the productive space of culture is marked with the absence of its main treasures, the Buddha Statues.

Taking into consideration four main artefacts that are part of Bamiyan’s local environment the Cultural Centre is proposed as an archipelago of these elements, creating a new way of reading both the historical monument of the Buddha Cliff and the entire city. These elements are: firstly, the walls as physical borders that frame their housing units.  Secondly, the plantations that create a mosaic that re-defines the landscape. Thirdly the “invisible” but yet formal passages that are found in the surrounded area that also re-configure the city’s DNA and finally the cliff as an element of both natural and artificial context. 

Runner Up [3]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Conceptual Diagrams. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Conceptual Diagrams. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Perspective View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [3]: Perspective View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

Runner-Up: Graham Baldwin, Alessandra Covini [BCC003532, The Netherlands]

Runner Up [4]: Interior Perspectives. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Interior Perspectives. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

From the architect. The project is composed by a series of carved out rammed earth walls that emerge from the ground. The rich materiality of the walls reflect the landscape, fusing the monolithic forms with the environment.  Each wall is abstract in form and defined only internally by a series of carved out niches, enclaves, passages and services that serve as the infrastructure for the cultural centre.

The walls take this form and earthly appearance as not to compete with the program of the cultural centre. Staged between the walls are spaces for performance and exhibition, working and research. The architecture in between is open, maintaining views over the Bamiyan valley, and framing discourse between programmatic adjacencies. This architecture lends itself to the living walls and the cliffs where the buddhas once sat. It does not try to compete with nature and with itself, but exists only for the people as a way to stage their cultures.

Runner Up [4]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Ground Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Entrance View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Entrance View. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Elevation. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Section. Image Courtesy of UNESCO
Runner Up [4]: Section. Image Courtesy of UNESCO

UNESCO Launches Design Competition for Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan

Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan" 19 Feb 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/600403/unesco-reveals-winning-scheme-for-the-bamiyan-cultural-centre-in-afghanistan/>
Read comments

46 Comments

Ricardo Bruno · March 11, 2015
YC · March 10, 2015

ANOTHER 5 MORE OUTSTANDING , THE PETITION SIGNING WILL HIT 200 !!!!!!

A GREAT FEAT INDEED.

APPEAL TO ALL YET TO SIGN PLEASE HELP US TO COMPLETE THE FEAT IN OUR SILENT QUEST TO STRIVE FOR JUST & FAIR .

YC · March 05, 2015

Dear ALL,

The participation on the petition have been very encouraging!!!.

What will happen when it reaches 200 nos as intended ? (181 nos as of now) The petition will be activated or it doesn't matter when the organizer chooses to remain silent or refuses to comment and respond pertaining to the issue officially raised!

Brandon · February 25, 2015

Please see the comments in reaction to the announcement of the Guggenheim museum. It seems like people are copy pasting the same comments. C0mplaining about the result of the competitions without seeing the rest of the designs.
http://www.archdaily.com/57386...

louis.k · February 25, 2015 11:29 AM

Copy the comments from Guggenheim museum and paste it in Bamiyan Cultural centre???

You mean all our comments are copied from elsewhere and pasted here for the sake of showing off our intellectual argument ???? OMG!

Seeing the rest of the designs????? where are the rest of the designs. It was previously mentioned the rest of the designs shall be displayed upon winners selected. Where ???

Brandon · February 25, 2015

Please see the comments on the

YC · February 25, 2015

Please sign the Petition !

We could not afford such a good and meaningful brief to be forsaken in this manner! Is ok if the deviation is for a better cause but seemingly not the case !

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION. http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

YC · February 25, 2015

"Where the project of such a sensitive and fragile nature demanded a
people-centric approach, the jury seems to have been misled towards the exclusivistic manner of seeing and judging....."

Extracted from Juzar's statement dated 4 days ago.

The above is in fact the most important criteria as advocated and emphasized in the brief . The "people-centric approach" where the public space manifests democratic conviction , openness and liberal public realm caters to multi cultural heritage expression and potentialities for aspiring civic community to be build. where are these elements ...?? ..is framing the buddha cliff alone is sufficed ??? Hypothetically, what if the remaining buddha niches are detonated yet again....what is left ?are we concluding that the cultural centre become irrelevant !

Ali · February 24, 2015

I wish all designer should pay more attention on Afghanistan architecture.

Ali · February 24, 2015

I am an architect student, from afghanistan.studying in Iran.
I really think that all designs were not as good as expected.
but thanks for all efforts

Sara. A · February 24, 2015

Have you seen the way that the jury check all the entries in the video clip which was attched in this post ( in A4 sheet and 2 seconds for each one ...) . It is the professional way that they noted in their Brief? Or those "professional peoples" are so good to do that? It is the best attitute for 1000 architects nowaday? Sorry guys, I am feel so bad , we actually worked hard and worked seriously and we just want to be respected.
I tell you that EVEN THE STAFF IN SUPERMARKET CHECK EX.Date IN THE PRODUCT MORE CAREFUL THAN THOSE JURY CONSIDERED FOR OUR PROPOSAL .

How good we are! How cheap we are!
Absolutely disappointed.

louis.k · February 24, 2015

Agree! Jury 's decision appears more like fulfilling their duty to close the chapter in the "nick of time" than to carefully evaluate, assess and review both professionally and ethically.

We would not sign the petition if the selected building is to be built as jury unanimously concurred but we seriously doubt so. The decision seemingly to close the chapter conveniently than being serious and committed to the whole process and intent of purposes .
If that's the case, next time please state
"CONCEPTUAL IDEA ONLY "Competition.
As a matter of fact, our office has been very selective in recent years to partake in open competition. However, we felt this competition is serious about "real" architecture and not "paper" architecture. Nevertheless, seemingly the same disillusion we suffered previously is repeated. Hence, the organizer ,please take away the enticing video attached to the website for they are not worth the time and money wasted.
In addition, I am puzzled why the jury picked that particular runner up schemes which is completely inconsistent with the criterion I interpreted (if I could, ) from the winning scheme.That's truly show that the jury were at lost during the evaluation process.

I see no reason why they distinctly deviated so much unless the jury is of opinion that "VARIETY CHANNEL" is the way to go !

Brandon · February 24, 2015 02:07 PM

what you are doing is simply trolling!

LEE · February 24, 2015

It is what we received?
NO
WE ARE THE OWNERS OF 1065 OTHER ENTRIES AND WE DO NOT DO AGREE WITH THIS RESULT. HOW THEY CAN CONSIDER A THOUSAND OF ENTRIES IN JUST ONE WEEK?
PLESEA GIVE ME AN ANSWER.

THE ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION IS NOT THE LOTTERY !
PLEASE JOIN US WITH OUR PETITION :
http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

louis.k · February 23, 2015

Dear Reza, glad that you like it . However to conceive a cultural centre at Bamiyan is definitely expected to address larger critical issues namely how the social and cultural spaces reconciles and promotes peace amongst multi cultural ethnicity. The aspiration of such an important building should stand beyond purely visual framing by which buddha cliffs are essentially visible at any angle at Bamiyan. Issues such as topography, sustainability, construction & tectonic cultures, communal spaces and social & financial welfare will have direct impact to the the life of Bamiyan in addition to the framing view which I believe all the submitted schemes resonate that aspect. Likewise, to rebuild or not to rebuild the buddha statues is purely a discourse over " visual" representation however much desired by some Afghan for they have truly impacted the bamiyans welfare for its tangible tourism value.

Reza · February 23, 2015

One of the reasons I think this winner design is appealing, to
may Afghans, is the way in which the buddha niche is viewed from within the building. There is a constant discussion in Afghanistan and Bamyan about the world heritage area. We must not forget that the site was the object of veneration for hundreds of years and also of contested national identities in 2001 and beyond. I can see how this design presents the buddha niche in an elevating context. This might be important when it comes to remembering and reconciling the destruction in Afghanistan so that it never happens again. I am an architect from Afghanistan and like the winner design very much.

Alessandro Orsini · February 23, 2015 02:33 PM

Dear Reza,
I can assure you that every single entry framed the Buddhas.
Here we are talking about something else. The winner does not respect the prescriptions of the brief. The drawings are incredibly basic and elementary far from containing the level of complexity requested. There is no engagement on site specificity, they sunk the entire building resulting in a very expensive scheme. Images are very very deceiving that little small slit on the roof will never allow the light to penetrate that way....resulting in a very dark cavernous space which does not represent the notion of democracy and openness. We should defend our profession from unethical behaviors and unprofessionals juries

Ed Chew · February 23, 2015 11:40 AM

Can't agree more!

louis.k · February 23, 2015

PLEASE ACT : SIGN THE PETITION

This is the time for architects to "ACT" accordingly to send the right signal than to "produce" incessantly which result in down spiral of the profession. NO ONE TO BE BLAMED EXCEPT OURSELVES IF WE FAIL TO ACT.

louis.k · February 22, 2015

Fully Agreed !. The brief have been completed distorted , ignored and recreated based on individual's taste and whim. The juries seemingly not aware of the brief and conveniently judged. Put aside the compliance of the brief, what is even more critical is the proposed functional relationships, feasibility and workability have completely gone hay wired. (refer to "just me" 's comment )

Fabio Pradarelli · February 22, 2015

Let's wait the publication of the projects, then we will decide the right project to built there..away from consideration that has to be necesserly a beautiful building done by a star architect. Afghanistan do not need a superstar architect in that place, but need to solve problems in the most intelligent way; the right balance between a nice looking design and something that really work there. This is the goal to reach, something the the commission compleatly forgot!!.
With the publication of the projects a WEB VOTATION will decide WHO WILL BE THE WINNER..this could be a good proposal to solve the problem of an other stupid commision!

Fabio Pradarelli · February 22, 2015

The Guggenheim Helsinki competition had a compleatly different goal; here you have to work with mimesis, intelligence and a rather creative way to be self-sufficient in term of enerfy saving and heating problems. In Helsinki it was exactly the contrary...Bilbao story is a very strong eritage. I do not complain about the fact that my project has not been selected, but to the way the all thing has been done. You do not put so many points in the brief to follow during design, and at the end these poits are not so important!!...with so many things to follow, your project will be very technical (even a quite low budget for that type of building..in that area where anything exist!!). These are all considerations that I did, including the costs of plumbing and eating systems, trying to create a very low cost in engeenering to built up something that in Europe (but also in any other part of the world) will cost twice of that budget. These are the points dear Ricardo.

Ricardo Bruno · February 22, 2015

I remember reading the same comments on the result of Guggenheim Helsinki competition. I understand your points about following the brief but what if those designs which followed the brief word by word were uncreative, ugly, insensitive to situation in Afghanistan and would have negative impacts on the valley? What I am saying is that: You cannot judge unless you see all the designs, which will be at the time of online exhibition.

KIA · February 22, 2015 03:05 PM

in that case, the organizers must ask the most reliable projects to work further on their shortcomings in 2nd or even 3rd round. as we mentioned in the revision application.

Girish Dariyav Karnawat · February 22, 2015

Since enough has been said and dissected in terms of brief and requirement and technicalities and etc etc etc....most of which I agree with. Here is something I wish to say which some have touched upon briefly..

Sadly,there is no contextual response in any of the shortlisted entries.Be it in terms of topography, climate, culture, history, construction,Budget....non what so ever.

And where is the involvement of people?? A country torn by civil war for decades, unemployment, Lack of basic infrastructure...education and health facilities, the struggle is an everyday struggle.....the list is endless...all the budget could have been allocated to do something about that than have this elitist piece of architecture that is supposed to represent the people and history of Bamiyan, ...yet look at the courage of the people that they are I am sure supporting to have a building of this nature that could connect them back to the world outside that has been de linked since ages...and give them some acknowledgement of their identity back.....get people to come there...indirectly also generate some business and livlihood..such a beautiful place...such a rich history and such courageous people....and can one ignore involving the same people.......??? can we??Is that not our concern as architects??

Are they and their living condition at all a part of our so called "context" in the era of so called sustainability that is so fashionable today?? Are we to follow the sustainability as defined by west in developed countries with their yard sticks that is an outcome of their perception of their context?? ...and only then would it be sustainability and not other wise? Wouldn't by shear common sense (Which unfortunately is not so common and totally absent in our panel of jurors and the shortlisted entries) should one evolve and define sustainability that is suited, appropriate to the local conditions? Are we going to generalise the criteria and definition of sustainability that is borrowed from the West and applied here just like another industrial product that is sold all over...like mac donalds, coke, subway, kcf etc etc?

Would one not consider something as basic as involving locally available materials, building tools and techniques, local crafts man/woman, local contractors etc etc?? Provide them employment??Would this not be a context that is then striving towards an whole some response then?? Would this not give them a sense of belonging?? Is it not a place that belongs to them?? Is it only for tourists who are interested in the relics and artefacts??? Let local people provide material/knowledge, build and look after the whole place. They will once they have a sense of ownership, belonging ...I am sure.

I wonder, whats the point in having an sustainable building in a region where sustainability of survival itself is at stake and a venture of this nature is completely indifferent to that which is at stake.

How many of these shortlisted people are aware or even jurors for that matter that it takes about 9 hours by road from Kabul to Bamiyan that is merely 135-150 ams distance?? Even though they say RCC is local, it is only local for a small scale construction....RCC involves transporting thousands of tons of reinforcement, sand, cement, admixtures, concrete, shuttering and scaffolding materials, concrete mixers, man power skilled enough to handle this mode of construction. And all this within the budget they are talking about....?? Word impossible also has its dignity and I would prefer to use it else where, not here. Lets not kid ourselves. Are the jurors even aware??

In case of another war, could this building turn into a shelter for people who have lost homes, for schools, hospital, market place....Are we saying in this age where every one is talking about sustainability that we architects have no role to play in sustaining a culture...people....their survival.....is sustainability only in terms of construction methods and materials, is sustainability only for the art and artefact and in museums?? Can we actually afford to spend resources on a building that is so rigid that it cannot adapt itself to tomorrow's call? Is the idea of museum in context of central asia and more specifically Afghanistan same as that in the west?

These winning entries could be anywhere. In fact the shortlisted ones are so banal, immature, insensitive....look like a 5th semester studio projects. All of it is so alien,so indifferent, so out of sync with the place and people in every sense.

I can go on and on and on.

I don't blame the participants who have made to the list of shortlisted entries, They did their best with the available abilities to perceive, available ability to imagine and conceive what best they could.

I do Look down on the jurors,... with their lack of perception/knowledge and Insensitive judgement.They indeed had a nice party for couple of days in a beautiful country at state's cost. Wish the panel consisted of better informed people, who were not in hurry and had patience and time at hand to browse through 1000+ entries....and after spending enough time had the guts to say that they scrap of the competition in case they didn't find any entry that could do justice to people and their place. They were under no obligation to select from what they received, were they? OR selected some that had potential and asked them refine and present again and then choose a winning entry from amongst those.

juzar · February 22, 2015

Where the project of such a sensitive and fragile nature demanded a people-centric approach, the jury seems to have been misled towards the exclusivistic manner of seeing and judging, where only selected few can enter the premise of the building, no matter how democratic its appearances are. Not only the winning entry violates the sentiments of the people of bamiyan in particular and that of the people of afghanistan in general, it also lacks life and vitality necessary to the nourishment of a culture suffering from economic helplessness and social injustice. were we suppose to build a memorial, i shouldn't have bothered myself and the jury. But who are we to judge about what people feel about their own culture? Shouldn't they be sitting in the jury? Shouldn't they be the judges of their own destiny? The central question remains unanswered, that, will the people of bamiyan feel this cultural centre as their possession and belonging, or will they suffer further impositions, disillusionment and alienation? the question is of a very delicate nature and demands substantial thinking on the part of the jury and sufficient input from the very people of bamiyan. If the answer is affirmative, there is a real hope for reconciliation. And if it's in the negative, then, pray, another crisis is awaiting in the near future.

louis.k · February 25, 2015 06:13 AM

Aptly correct and hit the bull-eyes. ! That's the most important criterion which is greatly missing , "people-centric approach", the spirit of democracy , cultural heritage and civic community.

Ricardo Bruno · February 22, 2015

It see as that complaining about the architectural competitions has become a pattern! Get over it guys, your design wasn't selected, so what? We also submitted our design, but we also know that 1065 designs weren't selected, that happens with such large design competitions. Let's wait for the online exhibition and see the rest and let the public to be the judge.

Mira · February 23, 2015 01:48 PM

Is not about complaining...is about rational judgment made by juriors. And the fact that for all entries the brief was important then in this winner project those criteria weren't important at all...so far to be done the jury must evaluate in accordance with the brief.

KrisT · February 22, 2015 10:09 AM

I agree with you about "getting over it". The winner is selected and that's it. The judging has always and will always have a subjective component to it. So the subjective topics pointed out here can only produce an endless and pointless debate. But...
When we talk about factual demands in an official and public brief that's another story. When presented with an eye-soring omision of the brief's demand that should be followed, well then there's no hidding behind subjective "I like it better" walls. This are arguments that cannot be brushed away. And one of them is the accessibility problem mentioned (and prooven) bellow.
UNESCO and the jurry have to face this facts and they have to be accountable. How? By never judging again. So it's not about changing anything in the past but to prevent it of happening in the future.

KIA · February 21, 2015

Dear friends,

here is the link to the online petition we made. If you feel the same about the Jury's decision, please vote for this petition so we can send it more officially to the organizers as soon as possible.

http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

and please share it with your colleagues as well :)

Alessandro Orsini · February 21, 2015 09:25 PM

Hey that's a great Idea!Lets go forward an make a campaign to ask to review the result!! I will use our office social media to promote the petition!

juzar · February 21, 2015

Was that a Cultural Centre or a Crematorium?

James · February 21, 2015

I have actually visited the site and understand that the winning design, while reasonably modest, does appear to sit naturally within the landscape, rather than to be a 'monument' in its own right. I understood this as a significant part of the brief in my reading. On the other hand, when the building will be viewed from the Buddha niches, it will be visible as part of the slope of the hill into which it is built. In this respect, the partial 'burial' of the building within the landscape clearly aims to mitigate the visual impact on the skyline on what is a protected landscape.

Reza · February 22, 2015 02:35 AM

Well said!

Mira · February 21, 2015 04:55 PM

It seems to be alright, but why for all applicants was prohibited to "philosophize" and gave them strict architectural criteria? So for the guy who draws ski-ramps is permitted?

Fabio Pradarelli · February 21, 2015

Please all architects make a web petition to UNESCO to invalid the Jury decision, for the many reasons that have come out; we want a professional Jury that follows the many points of the brief, to choose e project that can be built with the budget! If I am not wrong a budget cost was requested...!!!!

Lexa · February 21, 2015

How extremely disappointing. Apart from the winning scheme (and all finalists) being largely non-compliant with the brief ... it is possibly one of the most underwhelming (an old fashioned) designs I have ever seen. And how do you build this for 2million USD? The excavation alone will take up a large portion of that. I thought the brief suggested that major excavation be avoided. The jury must take the blame here. I think the result is an insult to all the architects who followed the brief and invested time in this competition. And how boring has all thus turned out to be? It will be interesting to see the other 1000+ schemes but I find it incredibly hard to believe that these were the best of them. There should be a review by a new Jury.

Mohammad · February 21, 2015

I as an Afghan architecture student just feel sorry that no announcement were heard from afghan media about this competition. even in ministry of info and culture of Afghanistan.

arkitek · February 21, 2015 02:23 PM

Because your Government were not proud of the winning entry?

HereISaidIt · February 21, 2015

There will be no second jurry. That's a fact. Why? Well simply because there was no complaint body to decide wether the complaints have merit or not. These rules, including with potential disputes, are usually laid down in competition briefs or are part of a national scheme. For example european countries have usually independent revision agencies that supervise all tenders. Architectural or otherwise. Well UNESCO have none. So who will you complain to? The UNESCO Kabul office? So they can revise their own doing? Pointless.

The key is to look into this before enlisting in a competition. The only thing aplicants can achieve now is to make sure none of the jurors will be in a jurry again.

And I did some math, too. There were 1070 projects. Let's be conservative and say the expense for each group was between 3000 and 5000 dollars. That means that architects from all over invested between 3 and 5 million into this effort. That's double of the building budget! All I'm saying that the whole process and the architects involved should have been treated with some damn respect! And all that was expected was for the jurry to follow the brief to the letter - the same way most applicants did.

arkitek · February 21, 2015

If this competition were to be re-judged by different jurors, do you think that the outcome of the result would be different? Just a wild thought.

arkitek · February 21, 2015 10:13 AM

Never have I seen so many disgruntled participants and negative comments here.

soni bhavin · February 21, 2015

it is hard to believe that no entries even make a space in best 5 , from Asia (were architects doing same nature of practice & aware of construction techniques which pointed in brief) and north east Asia (...its difficult to understand for lot people this statement but........Buddhism is a religion for them, i think they people have done too hard work and seriously effort to grab this opportunity)

i think lot entries from these region might good enough that jury should not go for some out of brief selection (like elevator one)

Peter · February 20, 2015

So, is this your final decision? To send the Afghan people to the Underground?!
During these years Afghan people have been socially and individually neglected, violated and terrorized in different ways. and now UNESCO decides to send them to somewhere underground: simply to bury them!

and about those three openings in the facade of the winner project, is this just enough to make a "Shape" which resembles the Buddha cliff in the most banal way?!

It seems that the most neglected part of the project is the Afghan people, and their real presence, not just something fictitious as we see here.

Amirabbas Aboutalebi · February 20, 2015

Is it really a new pattern for architecture, design and cultural development in Afghanistan supported by UNESCO??

Alessandro Orsini · February 20, 2015 11:10 PM

Please do. We just sent an official letter of objection .
We need to be united to defend our profession from people who thinks can judge a project so important in just few days and with so much superficiality.

Amirabbas Aboutalebi · February 20, 2015

I dont believe the results...... We will write objection

Alessandro Orsini · February 20, 2015

It is a deep disappointment to see that many great professionals internationally have been mislead. The very accurate and restrictive brief has been completely forgotten and not put into play at the time of the jury meeting. Our office will write an official letter to the competition organizers to highlight how unethical is this result and how international competition should not constitute a vehicle of exploitation of architects. In particular our letter will list the following:

1. The winning proposal has no elaboration on the
concept of architectural innovation as the brief was

requesting. The winning proposal appears to be a
scholarly unresolved design exercise.

2. A notion of site specificity is completely absent
from the scheme. The scheme does not promote local

tectonic as a tool of cost saving. In particular the
site strategy appears to be very costly and very disruptive

of the environment.

3. The entire design proposal hasn’t been properly
represented at the right scale. In fact the drawings lack

of information that pertains to the requested scale
1:100. In such drawings we must see the notion of

the structural and tectonic system. The wall section in
scale 1:20 lacks of any idea or notion on how

technical details are resolved making that drawings
simply an enlargement of the section without adding

the requested level of complexity. The panels are a
collection of misleading images. The slim cuts on the

roof will not produce the amount of light represented in
the images, making the spaces below just a series

of dark cavities.

4. The brief requested an environmental strategy study,
which is completely absent in the winning submission.

No diagrams or any sort of explanation or narrative is
citing the energy strategy.

5. Construction methodology is absent which is very
suspicious for a proposal that is about to go under

construction in few months.

6. It appears that the jury had no notion of the
requests of the brief or the jury members didn’t have the right

expertise to read this complex design.

It is unethical to promote an international competition,
asking professional to give their free ideas to help an

exceptional country like Afghanistan and then treat
such procedure as a school exercise.

We invite every participant to do the same. Let's voice our efforts!

Fabio Pradarelli · February 20, 2015

It was a good occasion for professional architecture to built something different, in according with the brief (very accurate...too much), but the brief has been totally forgot. May be the Jury had too many projects, or (even worst) they were not prepared to meet such goal. It seens to me (I am sorry to say...) that the members had not a decent professional experience in the real world (I say "real architecture.."), and everyone that do this very difficult profession know what I am talking about. Did these people designed a real building? Did any of them meet the complexities of a real work and not just two dimension drawings?...Seems to me that they really look more amatours then professional architects, and everybody knows that University teachers do not know the real difficulties of building construction. Too bad..this Competition was an occasion to do do something special.
Please everybody read the comments posted on this discussion, and if possible let's make a web official petition to re-consider (and follow the brief..) the competition!!!..

arkitek · February 21, 2015 02:26 PM

There were seven jurors; all can't be wrong, right?

Rampsteak · February 20, 2015

Ramp ? More like a ski slope ? Have the jury actually read the brief. Seeing that it's a key feature of the winning scheme one would have thought that it wouldn't have just been an afterthought. And why did the jury think that the other schemes had much longer ramps ? Just to be perverted ?
The level changes on the site and the very specific stipulation that elevators or lifts were to be avoided would have made negotiating different levels a significant feature of the design strategy for the site and yet it has been completely ignored by the jury.
Particularly grating considering the rhetoric about bringing healing and unity in a war ravaged country. One would have thought disabled access would have been seriously considered.

Alunso · February 20, 2015

There is only one word that comes to mind when I see the results of this competition : FAILURE !

The say that there has been around 1070 submitted works, so, are these really the best among those 1070?! each one of the winners have major contradictions to the "Critical Principals" mentioned in the competition brief. This is a surprise how the jury completely forgot / neglected what the main purpose of the design was. The name "UNESCO" seemed to be a credit point to the competition, but now the outcome seems nothing close to the anything within the mentioned mission of the project.

as of the winner project: is this enough to just "say" those typical words that sound good on paper like : "carving it out of the ground" or "takes advantage of thermal inertia and insulation of the ground" rather than providing what you say in reality an in terms of real technical knowledge and innovative design ?

Is this project really carved out of the ground? really?! or is there just a huge excavation on the site and the final building is completely expose to the exterior environment through the walls and the roof !

I am sorry to say this, but the jury seems not to be a fool-proof one!

arkitek · February 21, 2015 02:29 PM

We can say whatever we like here; the decision is final and is not subject to further review. Too bad, next time. Do try again!

IveRadTheBrief · February 20, 2015

I will focus on one aspect of the design alone since many other things that don't add up were already mentioned. And that issue is accessibility. Since International Accessibility Guidelines were enforced here, the ramp connecting the two site levels was a limiting (or a good opportunity) factor concerning design. It was a thin line when taking the appropriate ramp in consideration an all the brief's demands an limitations. Especially the gross area limitation. So the ramp, in my opinion, was predestined to become the key architectural element in the design. I will just put down some key facts about the winning proposal and the Guidelines requirements:
1) According to Guidelines a ramp with the ratio between 1:8 and 1:12 should be used. A ratio 1:12 in preferred and is considered more handicap friendly especially with long ramps and no roof.
2) According to guidelines a rise of 76 cm should not be exceeded (before landings).
3) According to guidelines landings should be at least 150 cm long.
4) The winning proposal has a 56 m long ramp.
5) Considering the 1 m high base at the lower portion of the site, the winning proposal's ramp has to rise 9,5 m.
6) That means the ratio of the proposed ramp is approx. 1:5,6 without landings and ever steeper with landings!
7) According to Guidelines a rise of merely 5,6 m can be achieved on this length (56 m) using the ratio 1:8 and a rise of 4 m using the preferred ratio 1:12! Landings included. So there is a 4 or 5,5 m "gap" there! No biggie.

In order to properly design a ramp with right landings for this height difference (9,5 m) an overall length of 94 m is needed (1:8) or even 132 m (1:12) for a more suitable inclination!

One more consideration regarding ramp steepens. Bamiyan has a very mild winter with absolutely no frost. So no broken hips there...

This is not one of the things "we can change later". That's just a silly argument. This is an issue that determines the design process right from the beginning - if done properly and according to the brief and standards. It was something many of the applicants put in to the core of their design process I suspect. And rightfully so. I would be happy to hear from the jury about this, but I doubt they will address anything...

In order to emphasize my claims I've attached a schematics about the ramp "issue".

Alessandro Orsini · February 20, 2015 11:12 PM

I fully agree with your statement. The ramp was going to be a key element. It seems that no one of the juror have read the brief. If you are a participant architect you should formally write a complaint to the Unesco organizers

WALK-UP-CALL · February 20, 2015

architecture these days are just a catalog of images, without revealing the pragmatics, cultural aspects of it as well as does not express the true qualities of light, materials and shadows. This competition is one of these. I would to share my opinion after I reviewed & studied the competition requirements (http://bamiyanculturalcentre.o... and winning schemes. This review is about the the winning project only, and from my point of view the project does not even qualified to win this prize for the following reasons:

1. Functional Relationships:
The proposal did not satisfy the main requirements of the competition. The research center should have a direct access to the storage. According to the design proposal, if any researcher asked for artifact, he should walk outside then through lobby, exhibition and finally storage to pick one artifact and come back. all of this during working hours and while events in auditorium and exhibitions or outdoor activities.

The direct access between entrance lobby and exhibition, assured that the exhibition space is totally exposed to patrons and where it lost it’s private identity and importance. Furthermore, the direct access between exhibition and auditorium will create a discomfort for the exhibition user while he is enjoying his quiet time.

The grouping of classes and research entity in one space have very negative consequences. Privacy for the researchers which their work necessitate quietness and privacy. The researcher are dealing with precious artifacts that need separate entrances away from public to achieve security.

Nevertheless, the entrance to the auditoriums are adjacent direct to bathrooms and each entrance have different set of bathrooms (male, female). these restrooms are shared with cafe and retail users, where they have go through the small entrance to reach. (please refer to plan)

2. Way finding
One biggest issues in cultural centers is way-finding and controlling the huge amount of different user with different orientations (education, research, theater, exhibition, administration..etc)

The way-finding in the site is absent. once the user descend through the ramp, which is far away from the main entrance, he will not be able to recognize the presence of reception. He is maybe have to ask administration before he find his way.

once he reached reception and the user want to ago for research and education. He have to walk outside again (maybe under rain ) and looks for that specific room. This only one example.

3. Orientation:
The orientation of the public lobby, cafe is not related to the main view of buddha. Cafe which will be a huge revenue for the cultural center, and very important entertainment aspect is sided to the wall in a closed area. The only part that have direct view with buddha is museum (part of it) and auditorium. even in the auditorium, not all attendants will be able to see the buddha view (please see plan and perspective)

Classes and art workshops have no direct view, instead it is only have indirect lighting. These places are considered a place for creativity and flexibility. on the contrary, research center which need indirect light considering the fragility of artifact, have been exposed totally to view and direct light.

4. Technical issues:

According to perspectives, the materials that have been used in the design are brick. The arcade in the main spaces are made from brick. however, the section shows that the brick have been hanged from the ceiling through false ceilings! the huge space between the false ceiling the roof is empty and junk space. Not only the solution is not coherent with the design, it mimics a local construction with weak solutions. (please refer to sections in http://bamiyanculturalcentre.o...

to achieve the horizontal of roof, huge implications of the design and usability of height challenged. It make all spaces the same heights. In the classrooms a huge unused junk spaces between the false ceiling the roof in the classrooms.

5. Lighting qualities:

The lighting in the museum is based on one strip of light inside the museum. I have been in many museums whom tried to achieve this quality. The presence of big glass windows will produce abundant of lighting inside the space that will not allow for the one strip of lighting inside the space to happen. These strips of lighting needs a very dark spaces to get perceived with eyes. The small light quality and strategy is repeated in almost all the main spaces as entrance and the education/ research corridor.

6. service accessibility to the site:

to reach to the main storage space, the service car should drive through the whole site while the users enjoy the view from the roof and through the ramp at the far edge of the site towards the view between the pedestrian serene space.

7. The hero shot is deceiving. It shows the roof of the buildings and how is it related to bamiyan valley, but does not actually represent the actual visitor perspective (level eye). It has been taken from higher level that user will not never perceive. considering the fact that this view is distracted with parapets and service car access.

8. The site is very large and more enough to include all the functions on the ground level, therefore in a pragmatic sense the core of the concept is not valid. Many comments below just explain more. Nevertheless, the amount of excavation is very large that have several implications on the how and where the extracted soil will be diverted. From a design sense, bringing the people from the street level to the lower level means, users will be excepting a profound and amazing sensation through this journey. Yet, that has not perceived in the design proposal. Its just a ramp that takes you down.

9. The concept of buried the building under the ground to achieve thermal insulation is not achieved. The research/education have three sides that are totally exposed to air. half of the administration only is surrounded with soil. The theater is totally exposed. a small part of the museum also. The only part that well insulated is retail, cafe and store.

I hope the winning team will reply to my comments as well as the jury. I would like to hear their opinion.

Sera masaw · February 20, 2015

I’m terribly sorry to write this comment, but this seems to be one of the worst competitions I have ever seen. I know my words wouldn't change anything in Jury’s decision but I think as professionals we must all care what’s happening to architecture and its future. Above all, a competition held by UNESCO, which by its very nature is expected to be a good place for architects to finally see what they have learnt really matters. But pfffff…….
Here I will explain my reasons, and you’ll be the judge.
1. LACK OF CREATIVITY: I have read the competition brief many times, and I can say that it was emphasized in many sections that a “creative concept” and to “Create an innovative design” was the first criteria of this competition. Yet, none of the winners even slightly mention anything about their concepts. No drawing, no diagram, nothing. Moreover, assuming the concept is just ‘not mentioned’ in the final work, just take a look at the works; open an architectural journal of anytime like “WA journal”. You’ll see lots of same projects, with same façade, same everything, executed in Europe, Africa or wherever else. This competition supposed to emphasize the cultural heritage of Afghanistan and its history, yet all you see are the same projects, which could have been built in any other place.
2. NO ARCHITECTURE DIALOGUE: well, what can I say? There are no explaining drawings; the plans, sections and elevations are extremely abstract and no fluency in the way the works are presented.
3. ACCESSIBILITY: as it comes in the brief “The building must be handicap accessible, following the general requirements for international disability guidelines.” That means that all the spaces should be accessible and not just the entrance. Yet take a look at the works of runner-ups and you’ll see some are accessible only with stairs and no ramp at all.
4. NO LANSCAPE IDEA: there’s no need to be a landscape architect to see there’s no landscape concept AT ALL. Filling the empty spaces with grasses, and some trees is not landscape architecture.
5. THE ISLAND-SHAPED STRUCTURES: 3 out of 4 winners, only used island buildings, which are connected to each other through open spaces. There’s no uniqueness and logical connection in designing of the buildings. And in these cases, no concrete CONCEPT. It seems actually the designers only draw rectangles responsive to spaces areas and tried to arrange them together in a logical way.
6. NO CHALLENGE: All the winners only designed the southern part of the site. In fact none of the projects are responsive to the 10m level difference of the site, and ignored to do anything in the northern part. Just filled it some greenery or just grasses and that’s it.
On the other hand, the whole building structures show no challenge at all. No extraordinary work, just mediocre, just something you MUST do, and nothing more.
7. UNFIT JURY: I hate to say this, but just go on and take a look at jury’s professional works in their websites. Catastrophe. Why such huge event should be judged by some random mediocre people. They seem to just rely on visual presentations and renderings, and ignore all the other criterion mentioned in the brief.
I must say, the Jury at the end, did a good job choosing the winner. This design is by far better than the others. But except the design from “Turkey” the other 3 runner-ups do not deserve this. No way.

Mira · February 19, 2015

Mismatch of the dimensions described in the brief are revealed in the winner project drawings. Its seems that the criteria of the competition where lost in the evaluation process made by the jury. At least there is no intention to make an functional concept in accordance with the local specific. IMHO there is no originality and is very sad to see that the chosen "cheap" attitude and idea. Also in the covering of the buildings structure is involved a difficult constructive solution and also, very expensive ones.

Participating Architect · February 19, 2015

...i forgat to add: beforw we started design, we did extensive research to understand what can (and can't) be built in the region in terms of logistics. One good starting book was
Venturing Permanence: The ETH House of Science in Bamiyan.
http://www.amazon.com/Venturin...

The jury members might be aware of this for sure (if not,it is a problem), but i wonder if the runners up and winners were aware. It depicted eloquently the potential of building in such region.

Best.

Participating Architect · February 19, 2015

Considering the three links / pdf files which the organizer has recommended to check regarding the construction methods and limits available in the region (see FAQ in the competition website), and considering that excavation methods requires hard work in such region, and considering that accessible roof needs hard work in terms of structure, then i wonder how this first proposal will be built...when one reads the brief,and all the associated FAQ, and all this extreme emphasis of the organizer toward earth material and brick, and the jury composition characterized by architects with Architecture for Humanity approach, one gets immediate response that we are talking here about Humanistic Architecture, architectural design in challenging zones, in conflict zone, in zones with lack of tools to build a certain type of buildings.

So, having all these in mind....i see contradiction between brief, and winner. It is definitely beautiful design, but not responding to the brief. I think the mistake is either in the brief, or in allowing and awarding a proposal that doesn 't respond to the brief.

To make things worst, look at the runners up..........no comment.

All the best, and i look forward how the winning scheme will be built in the specified time and period set by organiser, and in particular with the allocated budget...

KIA · February 19, 2015

I’m terribly sorry to write this comment, but this seems to be one of the worst competitions I have ever seen. I know my words wouldn’t change anything in Jury’s decision but I think as a professional we must all care what’s happening to architecture and its future. Above all, a competition held by UNESCO, which by its very nature is expected to be a good place for architects to finally see
what they have learnt really matters. But pfffff…….

Here I will explain my reasons, and you’ll be the judge.

1. LACK OF CREATIVITY: I have read the competition brief many times, and I can say that it was emphasized in many sections that a “creative concept” and to “Create an innovative design” was the first criteria of this competition. Yet, none of the winners even slightly mention anything about their concepts. No drawing, no diagram, nothing. Moreover, assuming the concept is just ‘not mentioned’ in the final work, just take a look at the works; open an architectural journal of anytime like “WA journal”. You’ll see lots of same projects, with same façade, same everything, executed in Europe, Africa or wherever else. This competition supposed to emphasize the cultural heritage of Afghanistan and its history, yet all you see are the same projects, which could have been built in any other place.

2. NO ARCHITECTURE DIALOGUE: well, what can I say? There are no explaining drawings; the plans, sections and elevations are extremely abstract and no fluency in the way the works are presented.

3. ACCESSIBILITY: as it comes in the brief “The building must be handicap accessible, following the general requirements for international disability guidelines.” That means that all the spaces should be accessible and not just the entrance. Yet take a look at the works of runner-ups and you’ll see some are accessible only with stairs and no ramp at all.

4. NO LANSCAPE IDEA: there’s no need to be a landscape architect to see there’s no landscape concept AT ALL. Filling the empty spaces with grasses, and some trees is not landscape architecture.

5. THE ISLAND-SHAPED STRUCTURES: 3 out of 4 winners, only used island buildings, which are connected to each other through open spaces. There’s no uniqueness and logical connection in designing of the buildings. And in these cases, no concrete CONCEPT. It seems actually the designers only draw rectangles responsive to spaces areas and tried to arrange them together in a logical way.

6. NO CHALLENGE: All the winners only designed the northern part of the site. In fact none of the projects are responsive to the 10 m level difference of the site, and ignored to do anything in the southern part. Just filled it some greenery or just grasses and that’s it.

On the other hand, the whole building structures show no challenge at all. No extraordinary work, just mediocre, just something you MUST do, and nothing more.

7. UNFIT JURY: I hate to say this, but just go on and take a look at jury’s professional works in their websites. Catastrophe. Why such huge event should be judged by some random mediocre people. They seem to just rely on visual presentations and renderings, and ignore all the other criterion mentioned in the brief.

I must say, the Jury at the end, did a good job choosing the winner. This design is by far better than the others. But except the design from “Turkey” the other 3 runner-ups do not deserve this. NO WAY....

Chi'Tr · February 19, 2015 09:14 PM

I'm sorry to say that I do not agree with a lot of points you made in your comment . Here I will explain my reasons.

1. LACK OF CREATIVITY.
Did you see all the submitted drawings and documents of the entries or you just see few photos of them here like me? May be they mentioned about their concept somewhere as I am quite sure they did and actually might present it to the jury. After all, why do they need to explain about their concepts if the design is good enough to speak that itself.

And how do you define the term 'Creativity'? If it means "coming from nowhere" or "different from anything else" then I think the winning project is 'quite creative'. So, now it is the issue of how a person defines 'creativity' and how he measures it.

I do not have enough knowledge about the culture and history of Afghanistan so I cannot comment on that, but I think the winning project evokes a 'good feeling' of the region (very subjective).

2.NO ARCHITECTURE DIALOGUE.
Well, again, did you see all the submitted drawings and documents of the entries or you just see few photos of them here like me? May be they are just not showed here.

3. ACCESSIBILITY.
I think it is so hard to tell about the accessibility issue here based on just few presenting drawings. So no ramps? Oops, can we add them later or put some lifts on? Not a big deal. Oh wait, I saw a ramp on a winning project's perspective. Problem solved :D

4. NO LANSCAPE IDEA.
"No landscape concept AT ALL" can actually be a GOOD concept, the concept of 'NO concept'. And why do we need a landscape design there any way? Can we just leave it as it is so we can minimize the impact of the project to the area? And, yes, just add some grasses and trees please, I will not have much resources to maintain a fancy landscape but just few trees is alright :D

5. THE ISLAND-SHAPED STRUCTURES.
Well, if they work then why not? May be rectangular spaces logically connected through open spaces, those providing good services and meeting places for local people, is all we need for a culture center. Cheaper and easy to build as well.

6. NO CHALLENGE.
Again, doing nothing sometime is the best thing to do. Doing nothing to keep that southern part of the site intact to be developed thoughfully later can be better than doing something uncertain there. And, why do we need to put some 'design' there anyway? WHY DO WE NEED CHALLENGE? To make life harder in Afghanistan?

7. UNFIT JURY:
This is the main reason why I reply your comment. I hate to say this but you are very arrogant to comment about the jury's members here. If they were chosen to be the jury's members then probably that they are the right people with appropriate knowledge to make a good decision in this competition, and actually they DID.

Saying someone being a catastrophe and mediocre just based on their works on websites??? It is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. Oh, wait, should I say that your works on your website are not very impressive at all, that is why you made a such nonsense comment like this one? Surely I should NOT, right?

Just me · February 19, 2015 08:37 PM

Agree with everything you sad, and just would like to add>
Provide Storage that can be accessed from the exhibi-
tion space and adjacent to the Research Centre - this was one of the requirements from the competition programme. I cant see this connection in the winning design. And, what about the massive excavations?

One runner up even have elevator, although in the programme was clearly sad to eliminate the use of elevators
Very amateur winning designs without any signs of innovation, lack of concept and unprofessional jury - this is the essence of this competition. I am hardly waiting to see the on line exhibition.

IUG · February 19, 2015 06:49 PM

Totally agree

everyone is a critic · February 19, 2015

this works are mediocre.
it is something to be expected from any architect-student in their response to these kind of thematics !
i wonder if the problem is with the quality of selected projects on these kind of competitions, or in the composition of the jury(s) and their (supposed to be modest) choices...
recently, guggenheim was/is the same. hungarian music hall the same.
what is happening with architect(ure) ?
are we that banal ??
you do realise that this is just simply one big nothing. nothing intelectual there - i have seen milions of these projects like 20 years ago !
i am not saying star-architects, but are we forced to observe daily this nothingness in gesture !?
no wonder any other profession has no appreciation for us, architects.

a architecture student? _ yes · February 19, 2015 03:32 PM

Did you read the full brief? _ no

Do you know what a UNESCO world heritage site is? _ no

Do you understand the scope of to context and the historic precedence in the are? _ no

Did you want some irrational construct with a serious technical detailing completely alien to both program and context? _ yes

Just go home.

···

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