Bryan Brooks + Patricia Wilhelm
During the Taliban regime, many girls’ schools around the country were shut down or destroyed. Since the end of the regime, development in the area of women’s education has been both encouraging and frustratingly slow. While the amount of women and girls attending school continues to grow, enough facilities currently do not exist to adequately house them. Our proposal for the the Gohar Khatoon Girls’ School takes on this challenge of a rapidly growing school population by planning for future expansion.
The school program calls for twenty-eight classrooms to accommodate 3500 girls during three daily shifts; our design foresees a possible expansion of the school to educate a total of 5000 girls. Additionally, each classroom building is constructed to allow for a flexible arrangement of classrooms. Initially, classes can be held in the standard five-by-seven meter classroom module, but over time, the non-load bearing partition walls can be removed as the school’s needs change and evolve.
This proposal envisions a variety of outdoor spaces that serve both the school’s formal and informal needs, from an entry courtyard for roll call and gathering, to small, intimate alcoves that encourage much-needed social interaction among the girls. Some of the interstitial outdoor spaces may also be adapted into outdoor classrooms as the need to educate more students arises. Women’s education is continually evolving and progressing in Afghanistan. The school is a microcosm for the unforeseeable but promising future. Our design provides a system of spaces that can grow, change, shift, expand, and contract in conjunction with the future needs of women’s education.