Afghanistan architecture, Architecture, Arcop, Bamyan, Healthcare design

Arcop designs hospital on historic Silk Road in Bamyan, Afghanistan

Canadian architecture firm Arcop has designed a hospital in Afghanistan’s central highlands that consists of a sequence of courtyards to “foster healing and well-being”.

Part of an urban masterplan for the town of Bamyan, the Bamyan Provincial Hospital sits in Village Mullah Ghulam on the route of the historic Silk Road.

Spanning two and a half hectares, the hospital is located on a gently sloping site that’s bordered by the Bamyan River on one side and a mountain range on the other.

Reinterpreting the architectural heritage of the area, Arcop’s design sought ideas and construction methods traditionally used to build homes and villages in Afghanistan.

“Overall, our attempt is to take a ‘biophilic’ approach to design, where through natural light and ventilation, views of mountains and gardens and access to outdoor courts, an architecture is created which fosters healing and well-being,” said the architects.

The series of courtyards help end-users navigate the hospital — from the public outdoor spaces near the entrance to the private spaces used by patients for treatment or relaxation. And their landscaping reflects the contrast between the mountainscape and the lush valleys of the surrounding geography.

Arcop worked with construction forms and materials that respond to the region’s tendency for earthquakes: the external walls consist of stabilised rammed earth and reinforced cement concrete, erected using techniques adapted from vernacular building methods.

The building’s materials include stone and brick, while traditional decorative details were incorporated into the interior.