Hansjörg Göritz  Studio - Works

Bamiyan Terraced Gardens

Bamiyan Cultural Center

Bamiyan, Afghanistan



The pleasure of gardens, with orchards, bosks, and pools, inside temenos enclosures made from earth, are an iconic Islamic and Khorasaan legacy. Regardless of scale, a deeply rooted cultural identification with a mini mundus imprint of paradise, as an ideal world within a world, is a conceptual essence to potentially become a most compelling, authentic, hence timeless paradigm for both private and sublime high architecture on the Silk Route.



This garden precinct of an oasis for Bamiyan - The Place of [intense] Shining Light - interprets such cultural roots, to simply relate, shelter, and inspire cultural life. As an institution it terraces the verge, connecting the plateau to the river valley fertile land. Grand staired gardens connect to the local market, that one day may turn into a grand bazar. Enclosing walls towards east and south, and a cantilevered terrace towards west and north, succinctly demarcate the protective claim, at the same time opening this plinth generously to the grand vistas. Simply blending with the site's topographical drop it cuts a clean horizontal datum, with the tea pavilion at a spacial juncture of all components. Gathering on and in this festive forum of programmed plane is a minimal modern, infinite mise-en-scène, also celebrating the vistas as main assets that make this place unique.



Rather an enchanted garden plateau than a house, this simple imprint and place is a serenely contemplative composition, of sequencing, procession and descending, through gates, across squares, with gravel and grassy beds, through garden rooms, with bosks, orchards, and pools, down into the mystic maze of a hypostyle, well known from grand mosques. The communal space fills with iridescent, indirect, lateral and hypaethral twilight, from colonnades, loggias, and wells of sunken patios. The horizontal programmed plane of this plinth is accessed by a sunken grand staired outdoor theater, flowing through a vestibule into the performance hall and a patio. A programmed loggia wall serves the hypostyle, and houses a procession ramp. The hypostyle's modular structure allows for adjustable space planning, accommodating diverse and changing needs. The destination of the exhibition hall benefits from northern lights and valley vistas.



This stereotomic structure and overhang is an enduring thermal mass at all seasons. Pure pigmented, board formed, rammed-earth-like concrete from local sands modestly interprets historic construction methods with simple sophistication. Its massive dimensions account for less ambitious reinforcement and relate to inherited paradigms. Cavernous slabs and beveled mushroom columns carry orchards and collect moderate precipitation, from the grand tiled terrace, into foundation cisterns.


As if this culturally rooted clay colored terrace was always there, this oasis should become minimal backdrop for the joyful gathering of people.




Melissa Morris