“Building peace in the minds of men and women” (UNESCO)

The New Bamiyan Cultural Centre rises as a deeply rooted structure, an edifice that revives the history of the place and expresses it’s belonging to the ground. It cherishes the earth on which it sits and creates from it its own architecture. Peaceful, respectful, it embraces its users and dialogues with their innate human na-ture. Timeless, it gains the quality of its spaces through the precise framing it performs on the landscape of its context. 

Earthen architecture is one of the most original and powerful expressions of Afghan ability to create a built environment with readily available resources. It includes a great variety of structures, ranging from mosques, palaces and granaries, to historic city centers, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites. Its cultural im-portance throughout the country is evident and deserves a large-scale reimplementation in the present. The availability and economic quality of the material means it bears great potential. It contributes to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. However, earthen architecture is increasingly disappearing in the last century because of industrialization, modern building technologies, disappearance of traditional practices, etc. Our proposal to use this construction method aims for a revival of the use of earthen architecture tradition, with use of the best local practices and as an example for the development and dissemination of appropriate methods as well as techniques in building construction. Available local experience will further the endeavor to ameliorate know-how in the field and encourage a participative architecture.

Key features of the architecture:

HILL building (the building is perceived as one element with the entire hill); EARTH building (the all building is entirely made with earth available on the site);

NATURAL building (all materials are natural, integrating naturally in the site ); TIMELESS building (elements from the remote past are merged with futuristic ones);

LANDSCAPE building (the architectural lines are merging with the landscape ones); CAMOUFLAGE building (site materials are arranged in a mimetic configuration);

LOCAL SPECIFIC building (formed by the unique configuration of the site ); RESPECTFUL building (by the minimal impact on the site facing the heritage cliff );

PEOPLES building (as its not a monument but a re-appropriation of the public land); CULTURE building (as its a protected zone facing and promoting local culture); PEACE building (avoiding an architectural “style” it promotes multi-culturalism); SAFE building (the building compound is conceived as an ancient fortress on the hill);

LOW MAINTENANCE building (maintained with local materials and local know-how); INDEPENDENT building (solar and water collection are used);

CONNECTED building ( visually to the heritage net-work, and virtually to the www); EVENT building (key project features allow large events and gathering of people);

Project information

Status: Competition

Location: Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Date: 2014

Area: 2220 m²

Commission type: Public

Client: Unesco

Program: Museum, Education, Auditorium

Project team



Architect: Dorell Ghotmeh Tane / Architects, Paris

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