The National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul
“A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive.” – Motto of the National Museum of Afghanistan.
The new design of the National Museum of Afghanistan will be a landmark for Kabul. The country whose ancient heritage as the ‘Crossroads of the Ages’ is embodied in its collections of approximately 100,000 objects, the majority of which have been excavated from the country own soil. The Museum will be also be a catalyst for the cultural quarter in which it sits, inspiring and promoting residential development in the community.
The existing National Museum of Afghanistan protects and preserves its collections and the country’s cultural heritage. It interpret its collections and educate its communities through its objects.
Located on a prominent area of Kabul, Afghanistan, the new National Museum is not only the anchor of residents’ educational development, but it will soon become the cultural center of among the neighboring countries. A new physical space that reflects the cultural heritage of the country, will welcome visitors around home and abroad. Thus, the existing facility will continue to serve as the Museum’s home.
Afghanistan’s culture that abides in the country was much ruined and deserted. Its new museum to catch up the lost richness and its cultural asset is necessitated to give hope and inspire people in that region. Finding this design chance as a way to bring the lost heritage back to the present, the major concern for the architecture was not only about the collections but also emotional realm of space that requires a place to give a rest and the joy of the nature in its heritage safe and secured. Our Architectural design was initiated to express the culture as if it has been with its heritage for centuries and centuries by emphasizing whose characters are natural environment, richly enormous sculptor, open valley of mountain and bright sun lights that penetrate thru patterned frames of the exterior walls.
DESIGN PROCESS DIAGRAM
Design of the new museum is very much challenge. The most difficult one is about that there is almost nothing to start through the context of the current environment. Ruined desert is the major element. TheeAe’s Design team has to find a way to start to bring this vague situation turning into a landmark. The heritage and its cultural asset from the past was the key to relate the existing ruined nature. We have believed that the existing ruins, yet it provides the future of Afghanistan are to create the spaces that convey characteristics of architecture of Afghanistan.
From the outside facade materials, it is simply designed with each patterned wood frame in individual exposed concrete box unit. The exposed concrete was to relate the existing environment, as well as the patterned frame mimics the historical elements of Afghanistan. The frame itself is to bring the lights to the interior space as much as its space is to be found from Afghanistan’s historical building. The major public space inside is much opened into the nature. The supporting mega-column is the shape of arch that transformed to express the richness of culture. Thus, it provides unique space to give a feeling of rest to public and non-public, VIP members, who visits the museum. The collections under the mega-column are well arranged in a proper distance and they are cased in glass boxes not only for the security, but also for the protection of the moisture from the artificial pond inside.
The area of the collections and storage space that is secured are opened from basement area to Level 3 ceiling space which is around 22m height. Plus, the south interior wall is designed to install mirror entirely to give the space even looking more opened than what it is. So that, the visitors will experience as if they are in the valley of mountain in Afghanistan. The structural element for this museum is very much challenge. The east and west boxed walls are designed to work as Vierendeel truss system to support the extensively prolonged cantilever to the main entrance collection area. This cantilever is supported by this truss and the mega-column in the center of the north area. The additional support for the glass wall is supported by the tree-like truss at the north open area. The space that creates more interesting is the level 3 public collection area. The natural lights penetrates through the skylight above. It still continues to pass down to the main collection space. Even the public will enjoy the beauty of mega-column in a different view from the level 1.