Cultural center, Bamiyan
The Argentina-based team M2R – Carlos Nahuel Recabarren, Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán, and Franco Morero – was announced the winner of an international competition organized by UNESCO and the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture to build a cultural center near the Bamiyan Valley. Listed as a World Heritage Site, this enclave is characterized by the two huge Buddha statues, carved into a cliff, which in 2001 were destroyed by the Taliban. Awarded with US$25,000 the project ‘Descriptive Memory: The Eternal Presence of Absence’ is inspired in local building traditions, and adapts to the natural slope of the place to reduce its visual impact and blend into the landscape, in the process taking advantage of the thermal insulation provided by the earth.
Out of 1,070 entries submitted anonymously from 177 countries, the jury shortlisted four other proposals: by Ahmet Balkan (Turkey), Noël Dominguez (France), Costas Nicolaou (Cyprus), and Graham Baldwin (Netherlands).