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kazakhstan uzbekistan

kyrgyzstan china

turkmenistan

afghanistan

tajikistan

iran pakistan

r evitalizi n g b am yan

india

seeking self-sustainability in central afghanistan

Safira Lakhani, University of Waterloo School of Architecture

bamyan province

light taliban / insurgent activity

major rivers

bamyan town

substantial taliban / insurgent activity

major roads

major cities

heavy taliban / insurgent activity

map of afghanistan

bamyan buddhas

buddha destruction, 2001

bamyan valley c. 1960

bamyan valley c. 2010

There is a growing conviction that architecture has a capacity to transform the quality of human existence (Aga Khan IV). This emerges from the notion that architecture is simultaneously a subject of, and responsive to, forces that arise out of a set of existing conditions. Herein, architecture can further foster human potential, capacity building, and empowerment, especially in the rehabilitation of post-war environments. The issue at hand thus becomes one of developing a paradigm of self-sustainability. This is particularly evident in the rural central-Afghan town of Bamyan. Suffering from significant devastation of infrastructure, ethnic discrimination and challenging climate conditions, the people of Bamyan have become increasingly dependent upon the presence of foreign aid and troops which, while contributing significantly to the decrease of Taliban activity in the region, has instigated a move away from local means of income. Revitalizing Bamyan is a research and design proposal that finds its premise within this given set of conditions, and responds accordingly to foster a culture of self-sustainability. Specifically, the project speaks to two principal issues; rebuilding the local agricultural industry to increase self-sufficiency, and secondly, to incorporate within that, the notion of personal safety and security that is achieved through the construct of a home, of dwelling.

bamyan town plan


built snow fence

collection canal

cistern = 23,825 m3/yr

[3m x 50m] x 5 fences captures 4765 m3/yr

roof catchment area

cistern

collection canal

annual water capture per year as proposed by this design is 24,425 m3/yr.

= 15 m3/yr

living snow fence

uar

collection canal

cistern

feb r

em dec

(Value is conservative based on data from the US Army Corps of Engineers, 2009.)

[108 m2] x annual average precipitation

y

ber

january

(per household)

= 15 m3/yr (per household)

greenhouse

rch ma

er

mb

nov e

= growing season extended, from march to november

The project proposes a three-fold programme consisting of multigenerational housing that regenerates vernacular typologies, locally constructed greenhouses which will april

existing conditions design interventions

october

extend the growing season and allow for crop diversification, and water-retention

fruits + nuts

infrastructure including built and planted snow fences, additions and renovations

almond

mulberry

walnut

apple

0.000009 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00004 m3/yr

0.00006 m3/yr

potato

carrot

cabbage

onion

cauliflower

spinach

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

0.00002 m3/yr

wheat

cowpeas

0.00003 m3/yr

0.0002 m3/yr

vegetables

to destroyed canal routes, and underground cisterns. The focus on infrastructure embedded within architecture speaks to Afghanistan’s resource issues: Bamyan is today t sep

significantly impoverished, subject to an arid climate with a single growing season

cash crops

ma y

ber em

where water acquired principally from snow melt is not managed effectively, resulting in gradual desertification of the area. st

e jun

aug u

multigenerational family unit

= 87 m3/yr cow

sheep

22.0 m3/yr

3.6 m3/yr

0.7 m3/yr

x 10/family

x 10/family

human

rural farms require 800 m3/yr water per person in order for crops to yield adequate nutritional value. (UN-Water 2007)

july x 2/family

solar panels

planting harvesting sunlight

winter

fruits + nuts

snow

spring/autumn

vegetables

rain

summer

cash crops

current growing season

home = 740 w/day

other factors 1979_war with Russia destroys the majority of water infrastructure. 1992-2001_under Taliban rule, reconstruction was nearly non-existent as the country’s economic situation remained poor.

4x 185 watt

1997-2002_widespread drought in conjunction with war and regime changes has begun to increase desertification of certain areas. 2001+_while the presence of foreign aid and troops has instigated reconstruction work, it has also increased demand for water, and the use of borehole wells with pumps overexploit the resource. military operations have also further ruined irrigation systems and dams.

infographic

r e vit a lizing

bamyan


Accordingly, the design proposal begins with the larger-scale issue of water retention, fetch: area upwind of snow fence. must be relatively free from tall vegetation

implementing snow fences, fifty-percent porous membranes of light-frame timber construction oriented perpendicular to the prevailing winds, to efficiently capture snow.

prevailing wind

when wind passes through a porous snow fence, its velocity slows, causing heavy snow particles to fall and accumulate on the downwind side of the snow fence

Snow accumulates on the land, where it percolates into the ground water supply and into canals which lead to underground storage cisterns. Placed at specific topographic

1

intervals on the given site, these snow fences begin to carve out areas for built 1 metric ton of snow = 1 m3 of water

program. Localized planted snow fences stretch along horizontal planes delineated by topographic lines, parallel to greenhouses whose construction involves simple wooden

if the fence is 50% porous, the snow storage capacity in metric tons per meter-width of fence is given as Q = 8.5 (h)^2.2 where h = fence height.

snow fence design 2 3

arches over which a sheet of plastic can be draped to intensify growing conditions.

4

0

0.5

1

2m

6 5

The use of inexpensive and local materials is at the core of this design proposal, as is further exemplified in the dwelling complexes which revisit the vernacular mud-brick cave dwelling

courtyard and cave typologies, and are oriented for optimum sunlight exposure while

principally found in bamyan, currently home to over 300 displaced persons

burrowing partially into the earth. Supportive of multiple generations, the dwelling’s basic functions are met through simple systems of energy, water and waste movement in and out of the landscape. mountain dwelling usually located in forested areas of northern afghanistan

1

4

2

5

3

6

site plan courtyard fortress compound (qala) principal dwelling type of bamyan

vernacular dwelling typologies 0 1

r e vit a lizing

bamyan

2

5m

height: 3 m | width: 50 m | net water accumulation: 4765 m3 of water *based on the guidelines outlined by the US Army Corps of Engineers, 2009


i

c

d

h

e

e j

f

f

f

b k

k

a

g

a_animal area b_latrine [composting toilet & traditional washing area] c_washing d_kitchen e_storage f_family area g_winter courtyard h_summer courtyard i_solar panels j_precipitation catchment area k_greenhouse

0

dwelling: lower level floor plan

r e vit a lizing

bamyan

1

2

5m

dwelling: upper level floor plan


m fro

me tch ca p fto roo

a nt

rea

d yar ng urt aili co rev er m p

rl y ste ea

win

d] on

l ve ob r le a d loomud + f r pe lar up nacu

o mm s fr su helter [s

on ec

ti uc st r

]

s ce ] evi tion g dnstruc n i ad co

r

[ve

spring

rp

ola

)

(4x

s 5w 18

el s an

sh od or wo eri me ext ghtfra [ li

d g yar ilin urt reva c o om p r r te s f win lter

ste we

rly

d] wi n

e [sh

li

no gs vin

wf

ce en on

3 4 6 7

el

lev ob or ad flomud + d un ular gro rnac

on ec

ti uc st r

]

[ve

1

energy systems energy

on cti er] ll e l i n co water n tio w/ ita nal

cip r ca preplaste

e t greshee

+ ud [m

e

oo [w

summer

rch na de

es

p dra

/ dw

waste thermal energy

active-living_solar energy is harnessed through four 185 w solar panels which are connected to a local solar battery, wiring, and various fixtures to meet lighting and other related needs.

2

se ou tic] nh plas

thermal energy

active-heating_domestic cooking is done by burning firewood, vegetation, animal excreta, and agricultural residue as fuel in the tandor a below-floor oven. excess heat from this oven is channelled through a serpentine duct system to heat the floor below the family room.

8

passive-winter_solar energy is captured and retained to heat the home via direct gain through thermal mass construction. the lower floor is buried into the hillside for heat retention purposes. proximity of the animal stable to the family room provides additional warmth.

5

c

ti ec oll

on

c is

n ter e

es

st wa

ag tor

e oss] tur er l uc ce wat r t ras redu inf to

gre

r ate yw

n ter cis

e ter grad wa elow [b

passive-summer_shading devices protect from direct thermal gain into the home. small courtyards surrounded by high walls serve to perserve the nighttime coolness of the interiors. interior vertical circulation makes use of the stack effect to expel heat in the summer, and melt snow in the winter.

water systems precipitation filtered greywater

used water waste water

1_precipitation collects in a landscaped canal. snow is melted by waste heat from the home. 2_water passes through a filter before entering cistern. 3_filtered water is pumped into the home, used for cooking, bathing, and washing. drinking water is further boiled. 4_used water from aforementioned activities passes through a biosand filtration pipe. 5_the now filtered grey water collects in a second cistern. 6_filtered greywater is used for the composting toilet, and is directed out to irrigation channels. 7_waste collects in a storage bin for compost. 8_nutrient-packed urine is diverted directly to the greenhouse.

r e vit a lizing

bamyan

winter

project specifications

not shown_water collected via built snow fences collects in similar ditches which carry into the existing irrigation channels.


site section

Revitalizing Bamyan is thus a design proposal that capitalizes on the existing and the essential to uncover the transformational potential of architecture by simultaneously respecting and challenging forces at play in the given society. The project ultimately aspires to generate a culture of self-sustainability through the marriage of vernacular and modern technologies to respond to pressing social issues, foster growth of a local economy, and improve the livelihoods of the people of Bamyan.

A full list of references and works cited is available upon request.

r e vit a lizing

bamyan


Revitalizing Bamyan