Design Competition for Bamiyan Cultural Centre

Competition:  UNESCO is administering an international design competition to select a winning design entry for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. The international Design Competition for this project started November 15, 2014 and ends on January 22, 2015. It will draw submissions from a wide range of individual architects, engineers and students from around the world.

Organizers: UNESCO Afghanistan, in coordination with The Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan.

Awards: One winning entry will be given 25,000.00 (USD) and four runner-ups 8,000.00 (USD)


  • Enrich community life through programs and cultural events such as festivals, films, drama, music, dance, etc., that reflect the culture of the region and use these forms of communication to disseminate information and to raise awareness on cultural heritage.
  • Provide a venue and organize a variety of cultural, educational and recreational programs for the public to learn and appreciate different facets of Afghanistan’s heritage, history and cultural context.
  • Foster and cultivate cultural exchange between different ethnic groups in Afghanistan in order to contribute meaningfully to the spirit of multi-culturalism.
  • Promote the creation, performance and appreciation of arts by coordinating arts advocacy.
  • Serve the community by establishing, maintaining and operating a unique facility and provide services that contribute to strengthening the community.
  • Serve democratic processes by providing a public space for civil society.


  • Site: 26,000 square meters approximately
  • Building gross area: 2,220 square meters

Critical Principles of Design:

  •  Create an innovative design.
  •  Create a vital centre for the cultural community of Bamiyan allowing individuals to commune and share ideas.
  •  Integrate the Bamiyan Valley view into the building design and create a positive visual impact on the Cultural Landscape of the Bamiyan Valley.
  • Integrate an environmentally conscious design, which in the Bamiyan context should consider locally resourced materials, climate and efficiency.
  • Connect to the historical context of the World Heritage property.

Jury Members: 

  • Zahara Bereshna, Architect
  • Young Joon Kim, Architect
  • Robert Knox, Museum curator, former Keeper of the Asia Collection at the British Museum
  • Elizabeth O’Donnell, Architect, Acting Dean of The Cooper Union
  • Ajmal Maiwandi, Architect, CEO of Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Afghanistan
  • Jukka Jokilehto, Special Advisor to the Director-General of ICCROM, Member of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  • Cameron Sinclair, Executive Director, Jolie-Pitt Foundation, co-founder of  Architecture for Humanity

Competition Website

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