Mainstream media makes it hard to believe, but Afghanistan has a rich cultural heritage that transcends war and terror, and Matteo Cainer Architects believes its residents deserve a sustainable tribute. 'Timeless Cube' is a monolothic cubic structure designed to host the National Museum of Afghanistan. It is carefully oriented on a Kabul site to take advantage of sunshine and the prevailing breeze, and it features a host of sustainable attributes which can all be constructed using local materials and labor.
Complete with a host of symbolic references befitting an Islamic state, this conceptual design is for a 55 square meter center with sculptural staircases overlooking a large foyer. The stairways lead to a succession of exhibits depicting both traditional and non-traditional Afghan collections while a large opening in the center permits daylighting and operable shutters mitigate excess solar gain.
Outside water features help to create a cool microclimate for brutal summer months, while the landscaping features only indigenous plant species that are well-adapted to the climate. A rainwater harvesting system collects water for irrigation and plumbing and there is the possibility to include a solar-power system to mitigate carbon emissions. Heating and cooling is provided by crypt cooling. This project, in addition to being an ambitious design for Afghanistan, is a symbol of hope for a saner future.