Design competition entry for the National Museum, Government of Afghanistan.
The relationship of the UNESCO gardens, the old museum building and the Daru lama palace to the site naturally provides a framework for the master plan. The principal axes generated from this relationship dictate the orientation and placement of the building block. The parking block, which is the arrival court to the museum ground, is created at the lowest level of the site. A series of plinths and landscape elements create a progressive walk through along the UNESCO gardens and the old museum building culminating into the entrance of a low ground hugging built mass, enhancing and establishing the primary axis.
Landscape weaves in to the old museum building, which is proposed as a learning and event space and displaces the display and cafeteria pavilions clear of the views of the proposed new buildings.
The landscape becomes the basis for reconstruction of the ecology and culture by preserving what is healthy, repairing what is unhealthy, and restoring what is depleted. The landscape contributes to the ecology by using vegetation, wildlife and water as a regenerative tool. Wastes are treated by phytored beds and contructed wetlands.
Well-integrated security touch points with least invasive presence from the peripheral compound walls to the building entry points ensures checks without compromising on the visitor experience.
The building mass in response to the existing building has been sunken partially into the ground, such that the new building does not rise above the existing museum. This naturally becomes an advantageous proposition in terms of energy efficiency, structural stability and ensures a secure enclosure.
The lower ground floor houses non-public collections, administrative offices and services, which have been secured in the heavy stone and concrete shell rising up from the ground, like a plinth. The public collections and public facilities have been placed on top of this plinth drawing inspiration from a fort structure.
Deriving from traditional afghan Kilims and architectural typology of courtyards and lawns, the public galleries have been laid out as interconnected spaces and courtyards.