NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFGHANISTAN
KLINGMANN participated in an invited idea competition, sponsored by the US Embassy in Afghanistan, seeking to build a new addition to the National Museum.
Many lessons had to be learned from the existing museum, which faced countless attacks and looting, during which 70% of their collection was vandalized or stolen. It is apparent that a new landmark building in Afghanistan will continue to face risks that range from security to conservation to funding, environmental issues and institutional capacity. Inspired by ancient fortresses, the design team incorporated measures that strike a balance across these concerns with an added emphasis on ensured safeguarding of the artifacts to prevent further destruction. The project resembles an inverted mountainscape, where the galleries are nestled like precious rocks inside a series of thick perimeter walls grouped around an open courtyard. Built from recycled materials that are collected from disaster sites, the galleries serve as documents to the stark landscape of Afghanistan and to the strong commitment of rebuilding Afghanistan’s identity through art and culture. Beyond safeguarding the artifacts, the external envelopes create double-layer buffer zones that reduce solar gain and cooling loads. The spatial organization suggests an inward focus that is conducive to study and contemplation, allowing for a moment of serenity in an unsettling urban environment.