National Museum of Afghanistan




OpdrachtgeverAfghan Ministry of Information and Culture / National Museum of Afghanistan / U.S Embassy Kabul

TeamDirk Jan Postel, Vincent van der Meulen, Hashmat Fagirzada en Michel Zethof (KOOL ontwerpers)

GFA16378 m²

The concept of the design for the National museum of Afghanistan is a ‘treasury’: an iconic, singular volume that contains the majority of the program. At the same time the building is storing the collection in a safe way and makes the  very existence of the Museum - the collection - visible. Instead of being a prototypical, closed  ‘white cube’, the Museum opens up in the middle. A portal structure that allows the visitor to see the world (the mountains!) beyond the building when approaching it.

By opening up, the entrance area is a well-shielded place from where the interior of the Museum can be experienced for the first time. On the right the visitor’s entrance, on the left the ‘professional’ entry for the ‘non-public, non collection’ part of the program. In accordance with the concept of the ‘treasury’, the perimeter walls of the Museum are solid.

By lifting the exhibition areas to the highest level, the public passes by the collection on the lower floors. Here, a suggestion is given of the vast richness of the National heritage. Also, the building volume becomes appropriate in its context, while framing the perspective from the park. Finally the upper level is an excellent location for the ‘public-non collection’ zone, housing the most advanced technology to interact with the public. The roof open up with a large map of Afghanistan. On the observation deck the ‘view to the outside world’ becomes literal, functional ànd virtual: by the latest techniques of digital binoculars, reality and 3-D reconstruction can be mixed and juxtaposed.