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方案/巴米扬文化保护中心Bamiyan Cultural Center
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巴米扬文化保护中心Bamiyan Cultural Center
image © atelier alter
所有图片及文字来源:Atelier Alter 时境建筑

 

Worship of Culture in the Whisper of Light

Index: Classification of Civilization

People come to pray at Bamiyan before going into the Iranian plateau. From 5th Century on, caves were carved to shelter the spirit of Silk Road travelers. Believers, no matter what they believe in, would find a place on the cliff of Bamiyan.

The interior of the caves are covered with religious paintings of different time. Every cave depicts a moment in history. The cave is an index that connects to a large spatial and temporal context. The cave complex is a collective civilization sculpted in time. The co-existence of caves turns the Bamiyan cliff into an abstract vertical field of knowledge. The classification of civilization could have a non-chronological order in Bamiyan. Cross-connections between historic points could be drawn freely. Collective memory no longer ends with “written history,” but allows creative interpretations.

Bamiyan presents a new point on culture: culture is never alone but exists in co-existence. The same historic event could be represented differently in different culture contexts. Culture in Bamiyan is the unity of Hellenistic, Indian, Islamic and Buddhism. Seeing one culture through another is easier to understand how culture derives, permeates and transmits. One could find Christianity in Islam or Islam in Buddhism. Culture unites and divides; maintaining culture identity is crucial to the survival of a civilization.

Horizontal axis oriented towards Mecca—the praying direction of the Islam, as a way to contextualize the culture institute on the Silk Road in Afghanistan.

Vertical axis faces multiple deities from various religions on Bamiyan cliff.

The ultimate worship: the sky and the earth

Worship Culture in the Whisper of Light

Cave sanctuaries are small enclosed spaces that let limited light in. Each cave has a prescriptive path of ambience for religious ceremony. The annular path makes limited space unlimited. The circulation pattern signifies the incarnation of life across multiple religions.

Light crafted cave in the exhibition zone of the culture center

Fiber optic projection used to create a “light cave” that presents the interior space of the cave. Paintings and artifacts from the cave are presented on the wall. Indirect light is let into the space. In silence and mediation, visitors complete the ablution of culture in the whisper of light, just as praying through drawing for thousands of years in the caves.

Four major types of caves in Bamiyan cliff: circulated, axial, cave with three iwans and cave with multiple niches. The spatial logic in the typology of caves corresponds with the typology of urban spaces along the Silk Road. Urban space is the vital civic locus for public gathering and individual sanctuary.

Public Spaces is created by extracting spatial syntax from the typology of cave and civic locus.

Circulated caves

Urban space circulate around a center space

Pyramid like circulated space around the entrance platform

cave with multiple niches

urban square attached with enclosed spaces

landscape entrance to the culture center: eight stone sculptures surrounding a sunken courtyard.

Cave with axis

Urban religious complex with entrance building, circulated courtyard and main building in one axis

Circulated hall way with entrance bridge and public enclosed space on one axis

cave with three iwans

Mosque with a central space and three iwans on each side

Open court surrounded with research wing on the left and exhibition wing on the right

Large suspension from the midpoint of the building presents an anti-gravity statement of architecture. One would experience the immensity of space and time the site occupies. The strong presence of the void reinstates the gravitas of its subject matter: a profound history dates back to 5 BC. The suspended roof echoes the processional steps in section. A vertical landscape made in concrete drapes down to the ground. Geography and humanity converge at the very moment, as one penetrate the ground and reach to the exhibition zone on the right and research zone on the left. The silence of pyramid like processional steps signifies the inaccessibility of sacredness found in blind Roman sculpture, Egyptian Mamie and life of eternity. The contraction and expansion of scales in space, makes visitors ponder over question about life and death.

Tabula rasa

The primary intervention of the site is to cut into the ground.

Remote sacred landscape of the Acropolis: the shift to democracy is manifested through the placing of acropolis onto an elevated tabulate of the city, as Aristotle wrote in Politics “A citadel [an acropolis] is suitable to oligarchy and one-man rule, level ground to democracy.”

The project is trying to create a “Tabula rasa” on the top of the cliff, and developing the architecture program downwards deepened into the ground. The war and tragic in Bamiyan demands a leveled ground of democracy to be in the spatial dialogue with ancient citadels, Bamiyan caves, and the Acropolis.

Horizontality is the prominent existence of the site. A series of horizontal platform dropped down from the Tabula rasa to rest upon the stretching landscape of the site.

Constructability and Sustainability 

The project is constructed with rammed earth and concrete. Earth construction is a local material and familiar construction technique in the area. The combination of infill with double rammed earth wall creates a mass to work with the Diurnal swing of extreme day night temperature of the area. Courtyard is also used to create comfort zone in dry areas. The entrance court works with courtyard to increase circulation in the manner of the wind tower. The combination of glass wall and solid rammed earth wall creates a trombe wall that uses thermosiphoning to achieve sustainability.

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