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Bamiyan Cultural Centre: Revision Application of Competition Results

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Dear organizers and sponsors of Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition:

Ministry of Information and Culture Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea, UNESCO Office in Kabul

In response to the unfair and unprofessional decision of Jury to select the winner and runner-ups in this competition, on 18 February 2015, we hereby officially complain, to the respectable organizers of this competition. Regarding the competition brief, many criterion and important facts have been neglected and ignored by the Jury members, and their final decision shocked most of us, as professionals. We believe, it is unethical to call the professional architects from all over the world, to put their energy, time, money and give their free ideas; and in response to their effort Jury decide to declare projects for winner, which seem to neglect many points and criteria mentioned in brief.

We believe, and have seen definitely in our professional lives, even if all the entries lack essential needs of a competition, there must no winner be announced. In that case Jury declare the most reliable projects, and ask for further works in 2nd and even 3rd round.

1. Neglected essential criteria of design

a. There have been considerable number of omission in the calculation of the ramps, use of elevator, adjacency of spaces, sustainability issues, orientation of spaces, service accessibility to the site, superficiality in landscape design, etc. The brief, seems to be completely avoided in Jury’s decision.

b. The winning proposal has no elaboration on the concept of architectural innovation as the brief was requesting. The design does not show any special connectivity between Afghan cultural backgrounds, the environment, the used materials, construction methods and the way it is designed.

c. A notion of site specificity is completely absent from the scheme. The scheme does not promote local tectonic as a tool of cost saving. In particular the site strategy appears to be very costly and very disruptive of the environment.

d. The entire design proposal hasn’t been properly represented at the right scale. There is also no right architectural dialogue, in the way the winning works are presented.

e. The northern part of the site, seems to be completely ignored by the winning entries. No deliberate design, concept and connectivity to the southern part is being found in any of the winning entries.

2. Discrepancy of the selected design and the construction budget

a. In great contrast to the emphatic instructions of the brief, to avoid massive excavation, the winner entry obviously is carved massively in the ground

b. The winner entry, proposes roof gardens and open green spaces on the roofs, which demands a great attention for construction details and is very expensive and needs high-maintenance. This questions the sustainability of the project.

c. The winner, along with the runner-ups, do not propose any sustainability drawing or details. That bring the energy supply and waste management methods under the question.

d. Construction methodology is absent in winning entries, which is very suspicious for a proposal that is about to go under construction in few months.

3. No elaborate explanation of the Jury’s decision process

a. Submitted 1070 works of the professionals, from all over the world, needs a more complex method for reviewing all the works in a democratic and fair process.

We, as professional architects, who devoted our time and energy to this competition, kindly ask the organizers of this competition to revise their decision about winning entries and the Jury members. At least, it is expected from such veteran organizations, to answer our complaints and questions.

Yours respectfully,
Applicants of Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition

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