As architects, so we can face seriously the project of Afghanistan National Museum, we have to make ourselves a series of questions that allow us to do the job with honesty: What is to be a National Museum in a city like Kabul and in a country like Afghanistan?

At what immediate and future real needs of people we have to respond?

In our world, the size and proliferation of data, the speed of the changes resulting from advances in science and technology is growing exponentially. This situation, although challenging, leads us to the opacity, the isolation and the irrelevance, by our inability to select and therefore to understand.

Somehow this leads us to think that, for different reasons, and in almost opposite contexts, the challenges we face in our world are the same ones Afghanistan is facing: inability to access to a knowledge capable of accompany us with efficiency and compassion in the construction of our lives.

Exceeded the nineteenth-century concept of cultural facilities that make available to the citizen an agreed academic knowledge, stable and closed, it's time to make spaces for meeting and debate where is conducive the real meeting of people and sharing of knowledge at various levels (intellectual, experiential, aesthetic, emotional). Places for collective work for creation and dissemination of symbolic images and messages that allow us to begin to draw tools for the understanding of a world we want to transform for the benefit of all

The main purpose of a museum will be the training of persons who could be active and conscious part of their environment. To facilitate literacy in the language codes that are to build our shared future, it is necessary to facilitate the understanding of what shapes us into the present from the past. The construction is always rebuilding, and every society needs to know what is available to start over. In the case of Afghanistan it is even more dramatic and urgent.

The first and most important of the objectives of this project is to increase the openness and dialogue of the building. As stated in the introduction of Kazuyo Sejima in the Venice Architecture Biennale:

"The idea is to help people to relate to architecture, help architecture to relate to people and help people to relate between them."

We think this building should not be thought of as a tight, closed, self-referential and a priori representative object. We must think of a strategy of occupying space that allows us to recognize the space as you go by.

This leads us to think of a space in which architecture doesn’t aspired to be a form from the beginning.  Flexible spaces capable to be adapted to the passing of time ... and we can not stop thinking about a place like the Mosque of Cordoba as a referent.

An architecture capable of accommodating our activities, from the more corporals -shadow, freshness, body wellness, relaxation, meeting- even those that allow us to interpret the world and exorcise our fears through art, poetry or magic. Being an active part of an effective transformation process, being a citizen, is only possible through knowledge of the foregoing.

We do not want to rescue the forms, but the strategies and attitudes to develop the project: tradition and modernity, knowledge and creation are concepts that always go together in our understanding of architecture. We design and build with the attitude of exploration of that which tries to establish the foundations for moving forward.

The enclosing wall might seem undesirable imperative linked to security, but is to us a key element for defining a clear boundary and allows us to create a complete interior universe. This allows us connecting with the tradition of the courtyard house or the mosque. A perimeter that allows us confining nature and life to preserve and protect it from a hostile environment.

Within this wall the flexible topologies like the ones of mosques, markets and courtyard houses, which can respond quickly because of the establishment of a structural module to the unexpected requirements.

The cover is the element that contains and protects the program that is not developed in the open air. The cover is equivalent to the trees of the garden and so is seen from the sky. A covering of ceramic tile, which interprets and geometrizes the nature it is replacing.

Geometry and Organic

As the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy said: "Arabic comes from the desert. He owes his simplicity, hospitality, his penchant for mathematics and astronomy and even the family structure to it. His experience of nature is bitter. Land, landscape, are for the Bedouin a burning cruel enemy. The only good thing is the sky, clean and refreshing, beneficial rain with its white clouds, it is consider the house of God "

The architectural design, whether in a close or a distant physically and culturally environment, always involves a creative leap that is based on an interpretation of reality, is always subjective and derived from the rational and aesthetic experience of the places in its complexity and temporality.

Thorough and intensive analysis can be as crippling to the time of creation, as the irresponsible lack of it.

Our project is based on a theoretical assumption not intend to be characterized as "truth", but that is the basis for making a series of design decisions that end up generating a coherent building and as beautiful as possible.

The first projecting part of overcoming the dichotomy between geometry and organic that is stated in Islamic architecture. A dichotomy in which the higher mental-construction geometry-imposed with authority to the chaos of the inhospitable and irreducible nature. Overcoming this dichotomy means using geometry to sort programs, applications, things with a method. But it also means leaving space for freedom and surprise, incorporating chance. We propose a project in which the organic and mutable nature finds its place in the geometric order. The geometry does not produce an inert space, but also guarantees the conditions for the organic develop, live, reproduce and die, in a supportive environment. Oasis, gardens, patios, planters ... is the way in which our culture has tried to preserve life against the aggressions (wind, sun, drought ...). Our building is to do the same. The building is recognized as a closed universe inside a wall, which in this case is justified for security reasons, but also its reason for being in the will of nature protection in a harsh and inhospitable.

This "pre-existing" perimeter support the vaulted roofs that generate a continuous isotropic space. The domed structure introduces a clear directionality allowing versatility in the longitudinal direction of the building. In this space a priori spatially homogeneous differ by entering certain areas of domes and courtyards.

These domes slow down and focus the tour, introducing the vertical and "heaven" in the building. The courtyards extend the visual and introduce controlled natural light into the building.

Domes, water and vegetation introduce a visual dimension of infinite perspective that transcends the finiteness of the materiality of the building. This will not limit the look and suggest an infinite sequence of planes (either the sky with its stars, or the orchard, the garden, with its succession of layers of vegetation crossed by light) are at the origin of the lattice and mosaic.

This fundamental Islamic design element of architectural tradition, in which the wall is not an element ... is an opaque veil that suggests an infinite dimension in which the eye is lost, the light is screened, the stars are drawn and the imagination takes paths that are never the same.

The perimeter walls are dematerialized and become shutters that filter and regulate the entry of light.

The movement of people inside the building is a elapse reason for an exhibition that its presented in an chronological line, in which spaces and pieces are single out that advertise and stop the path at times.

The light is controlled, filtered and diffused. A Look inside, diffused and screened. The architecture builds from within an entire landscape. The nature is abstract, it is garden and courtyard ago, and the sky is evoked in the perfect geometry of the infinite which is the dome. The furniture exhibition is part of the building structure. Furniture, architecture and exhibition systems are treated in continuity to make the supports invisible and versatile, so that parts can be provided with minimal visual interference possible. The close relationship between architecture and media exhibition allows us to most efficiently integrate the necessary facilities. The isotropic lattice structure gives us, at bottom, maximum versatility exhibition as possible. The exhibition spaces are raised primarily on the basis of a system of perimeter windows whose section is adapted based on the parts to be expose. We propose to single out the most important pieces giving them a central position and the special exhibition that requires treatment.

The internal working spaces are placed on the same floor of the exhibition space. Warehouses and storage spaces are located in the basement, in which the insulation and thermal control and lighting are stricter. These areas remain natural lighting through the courts.

The enclosing wall perimeter of the plot is an element of a dimension and important presence. This wall responds to a very severe safety requirements that can not be avoided. So on its outer face is treated as a clearly solid and impassable. On the inside, in the view from the garden, should be seen as a more visually friendly element to incorporate those qualities of which we spoke when we described the lattice. In that sense the inner surface arise as a wall of changing vegetation and allows to be visually incorporated into the garden and not perceived as a clear boundary, resounding and impassable.

The garden is a fundamental part of our project even if the intervention is of low intensity. We propose to keep the foliage trying to recapture the spirit of the legendary Mughal gardens.

We introduce a new line of direction that prioritizes access to the new building and allows good access to the old. In the gateway, which is a broad transition threshold between the exterior and interior, the visitors centre is located. The space of "courtyard" in front of the museum is actually building the first space of the museum and we believe it should be understood as an active part of it. This garden is like the “Patio de los Naranjos” of the Mosque of Cordoba, the prelude to the mosque. It is actually the mosque, but without cover. For us, this space is similar: an outdoor urban space, geometrized, rule, guidelines and articles. A place where the visitor, which comes from "outside" world prepares to enter a place that requires a different attitude.