Yona Friedman to Design Afghan Museum

Yona Friedman to Design Afghan Museum

The Virtual Museum overlaid on the Bamiyan Caves. (Courtesy Association Afghanculture)

The superlative 86-year-old designer Yona Friedman—widely known for his Ville spatiale and the 1956 CIAM Manifeste de l’architecture mobile—has been selected by the Paris-based group Afghanculture to design a digital Museum of Afghan Civilization.

The museum is reminiscent of Friedman’s open spatial systems and, according to the association, it will operate as a platform on which scholars, activists, and designers can place digital pavilions highlighting different aspects of Afghan cultural treasures and traditions. These will range widely, including existing works of art; works that have been destroyed or have disappeared; photos and etchings; anthropological, ethnological, and historical works; and art forms such as music, dance, poetry, and literature.

Friedman with designs for the musuem. (Courtesy Association Afghanculture)

The Hungarian-born Friedman, who fled the Nazis during World War II and settled in Israel before moving to France in 1957, would seem the perfect designer to understand and sympathize with the travails of the Afghan people. It is typical of his grasp of the cultural power of architecture that he has conceived the digital museum as housed within the Buddhist caves of Bamiyan, where giant Buddhas were destroyed by Taliban fundamentalists in 2002. The digital museum is due to launch this fall, with the first “digital pavilion” online by January 2010.