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Refurbishment in Architecture

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Chihilsitoon Garden Project / Aga Khan Trust for Culture

  • 02:00 - 17 February, 2019
Chihilsitoon Garden Project / Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Chihilsitoon Garden Project / Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC © Simon Norfolk / AKTC © Simon Norfolk / AKTC © Simon Norfolk / AKTC + 61

  • Architects

  • Location

    Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Category

  • Lead Architects

    Ajmal Maiwandi & Sekandar Seradj
  • Design Team

    Farhad Alawi, Rizaq Batoor, Shahwali Ghaznawi, Ayaz Hosham, Firoz Jami, Khalid Khan, Abdullah Mahmood, Koukaba Mojadidi, Rashid Mushkan, Shahab Mushref, Naweed Nahel, Nehmat Nayab, Ikram Rahimzay, Abdullah Safi, Shaiq Sarwari, Omid Shams, Najib Stanikzay, Waris Qaimizada, (Construction) Mustafa Ahmadi, Mustafa Asghari, Shafiq Furqani, Basir Langari, Hamid Rahimi, Wahidullah Sabawoon, Tahir Shafaq, Waheed Stanikzai, Naeem Wahidi
  • Project Architect

    Ertugrul Erbay
  • Area

    10200.0 m2
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Structural Design

    Arash Boostani
  • Landscape Design

    Planning Partners, South Africa
  • Monitoring Consultants

    Cobold Engineering & Construction, Afghanistan
  • Construction

    Aga Khan Trust for Culture
  • Donor

    German Foreign Ministry & KfW Development Bank
  • Landscape

    124,000.0 m2
  • Budget

    Donated by the German Government (German Federal Foreign Office through the KfW Development Bank) under a bi-lateral agreement with the Government of Afghanistan.
  • More Specs Less Specs
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

Text description provided by the architects. The 12.5 hectare Chihilsitoon Garden laid in ruins for the past 26 years before a project by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture restored the site to former glory, incorporating 10,200 m2 of modernized or newly constructed rammed earth buildings to provide high-quality facilities for visitors.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
Chihilsitoon Garden Site Plan
Chihilsitoon Garden Site Plan
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

Formerly a 19th century royal garden transformed in the early 20th century into a state property housing visiting dignitaries, including most notably U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the site had been heavily damaged and looted during the internecine conflict of the early 1990’s.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

The project began in early 2015 and was completed by mid-2018 with a €15.1 million budget provided by the German Federal Foreign Office through the KfW Development Bank and entailed extensive partnerships with local communities, Kabul Municipality, and the Ministries of Culture and Urban Development. Rehabilitation of the Chihilsitoon garden is the largest project carried out to date by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which has completed more than 140 restoration and landscaping projects across Afghanistan since commencing its work in 2002.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

On the basis of an architectural program developed jointly with local authorities, incorporating existing site functions for sport and recreation, the landscape plan called for the creation of a variety of spatial experiences resulting from the linkage of distinct programmatic spaces through a network of formal paths and trails. A historic formal axial garden forms the core of the site, surrounded by informal patches of dense landscapes and open lawns, with nodes of activities inserted along its longitudinal spine. These include family picnics areas, an outdoor amphitheatre, and the historic formal promenade (containing original marble fountains) which were restored and made functional again.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

The continued use of the site for sports activities required the construction of a distinct zone containing cricket batting areas, volleyball fields and two mini-football pitches. An indoor facility was constructed to enable sports teams’ access to changing facilities and showers, promoting the use of the sports fields for competitive matches. In addition to planting more than 5000 new trees, saplings were provided for maintaining the stock of trees and plants within the garden and a commercial horticulture nursery was constructed in order to generate additional revenue towards the upkeep of the site.

Historic Palace - Elevation/Section
Historic Palace - Elevation/Section

Contemporary designs for new buildings were based on the reinterpretation of vernacular forms and typologies by AKTC’s in-house team of architects and planners with in-depth knowledge of local building methods and materials. As a result of this process, rammed earth was selected as the main building material early in the design stage.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

Found to have been used in parts of Afghanistan as far back as the 2nd century A.D., rammed earth structures are highly suitable to the climatic and ecological environment in the region. Due to the workability of rammed earth, a range of architectural designs were explored for the various facilities. Reinforced with bamboo trees, steel re-bar, and concrete frame structures, buildings constructed with rammed earth were designed to withstand moderate earthquakes.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

New buildings in the garden include an exhibition hall, 300 seat auditorium, visitor management and administrative facilities, and a multi-purpose facility within the reconstructed historic palace. Together these facilities provide essential space for administrative and maintenance functions, while significantly increasing the capacity of the operations to plan multi-purpose events.

© Simon Norfolk / AKTC
© Simon Norfolk / AKTC

Retail units, food kiosks and restaurants have been built into the park to generate sustained revenue for the operation through the hire and use of these spaces. Provisions have been made for on-site utilities, which will ensure that the garden is properly maintained with limited usage of water and electricity, and septic systems that percolate filtered wastewater through subsurface leach fields.

Courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture

The rehabilitated Chihilsitoon Garden provides users with a safe and secure environment to experience, interact, exchange within landscapes and facilities designed to contain and promote the country’s rich cultural expressions and social history. The garden will be managed by the newly formed independent “Kabul Historic Gardens Trust,” which has been mandated to operate the city’s historic public gardens, building on more than a decade’s experience of sustainably operating Babur’s Garden.

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Cite: "Chihilsitoon Garden Project / Aga Khan Trust for Culture" 17 Feb 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
Courtesy of Aga Khan Trust for Culture

喀布尔 Chihilsitoon 花园项目,夯土重塑古今 /阿迦汗文化信托基金会

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