Text description provided by the architects. The Architecture for this Provincial Hospital respects and understands the nature of living and building in rural communities of Bamyan. It draws inspiration from the traditional methodologies of the built environment, and the simplicity of forms seen in the local vernacular in the context of home and village settings. The Hospital Master Plan is developed around a series of courts. All outdoor spaces are arranged in a layered sequence, moving from areas of greater public usage to the absolute private areas required for critical care and well-being of patients.
Overall, our attempt is to take a “biophilic” approach to design, where through natural light and ventilation, views of mountains and gardens and access to outdoor courts, an Architecture is created which fosters healing and well-being.
A North – South orientation is developed to maximize solar gain in winter and optimize day lighting. Through this strategy light is brought into all the corridors and wards. This orientation also ensures a strong visual tie with the mountain range running south of the project. Through the design, we have attempted to introduce hybrid construction solutions which meet the rigorous demands of seismic design for a high risk area, while inculcating practices which are embedded in the local building traditions. The design is also sensitive to the fact that Bamyan lacks technically skilled craftsmen or labour, and so in this rural setting our detailing is kept simple. In this regard stabilized rammed earth is used as external walls along with RCC frame construction. With this adaptation to the prevalent use of “as dug earth” walls, local labour was employed and trained to use a more durable form of earth construction.
Bamyan’s climate and topography lends itself to a landscape of strong contrasts. The mountains are stark and arid, while its valleys are green, with farm land, orchards and streams. The landscape design takes inspiration from the juxtapositioning of these two extremes to develop a design which is based on the tradition of Central Asian/Islamic landscapes, centre around courts. The Central Hospital courtyard derives its inspiration from the traditional “ Char-Bagh”courts. Strongly defined and axes have been accentuated through landscaping edges. We see these gardens and courtyards as essential to the process of healing. Indigenous flora and fauna has been used for soft landscaping and trees such as poplars and cypress to define outdoor spaces. Fruit trees such as apples and apricots provide shading, emphasize seasons and enhance fragrance. This attitude helps the sustainable design which is further accentuated by the use of indigenous vegetation and gravel as a ground cover to limit the use of water.
In this serene valley it was essential that the hospital belonged contextually and provide a sanctuary for the people of Bamyan and a place of comfort.