Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
National Museum Of Afghanistan in Kabul, by Klingmann Architects & Brand Consultants
September 20th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Anna Klingmann
TREASURE BOX AS METAPHOR: A HIDDEN MYSTERY
Klingmann Architects and Brand Consultants’ competition entry for the new National Museum of Afghanistan envisions the institution as a compact jewel box concealing the treasure that history has entrusted to it piece by piece. For this reason, the box, though dense and hermetic on the outside, must be suggestive and magical on the inside. Seemingly simple and plain on the exterior, the box reveals the deep, rich and complex heritage of the people of Afghanistan on the interior. While the treasures are carefully embedded and protected deep within the box, they are not readily available to the onlooker. They remain a hidden mystery, longing to be discovered. We want to capture this sense of mystery and longing and The space within invites the visitor on a journey of unearthing and discovery. The space within is neither a mere organizing element, nor a beautiful but distant architecture. The exhibition’s experience has the ability to evoke places and people from a tiny yet resilient fragment of ceramic which has managed to survive, and which speaks of the fragility of time.
THE MUSEUM AS A SYMBOL: PRIVATE, PRECIOUS, AND PROTECTED
The organization of the museum is based on the Afghani courtyard house, which is characterized by a layering of walls, oriented towards an inner courtyard. The privacy measures that influence the design of the museum are representative of the Afghani lifestyle, characterized by a system of layering and thresholds. Courtyard houses, which are common in the region demonstrate strict territoriality and create a private space for introversion. As such, the museum is conceived as a “private” rather than a “public” space characterized by a spatial progression of walls to protect it from the outside. The courtyard organization is on the one hand an attempt to conform to necessary security measures and sustainable climate control, but also an attempt to create a private, peaceful and introspective environment for visitors that is conducive to study and reflection.
THE IDENTITY OF AFGHANISTAN: THE EARTH AND THE LAND
Afghanistan is a multiethnic society, and its historical status as a crossroads has contributed significantly to its diverse ethnic makeup. In a land that is so culturally diverse, it is the land is what defines and unites Afghanistan as a nation, where landscape and culture are inextricably linked. Our intention is to bring the vastness of the land, the mountains and the valleys of the surrounding landscape into the interior of the museum. The design of the building is at its most basic an inverted mountainscape, where the galleries are nestled like precious rocks inside a strong perimeter wall, built from recycled materials that were left after disasters. It is a building devoted to tradition, history, a sense of place, sustainable use of materials, and the people who will inhabit it.
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