Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Designed by the Soviets, bombed out by the Taliban

The World Bank is interested in having USAID retrofit (or rebuild) the Technical Vocational Training Centre in Kabul. After a meeting at the Ministry of Education with the World Bank and USAID, we took a short trip to visit the site. The first words that came out of my mouth when I stepped out of the car were "Holy shit". The guy with the World Bank turned to me and said, "Those were my first words too"

This is the layout of the campus. The school buildings were designed by Soviet architects and engineers (even though it was before the invasion of '79) and built in 1973. It wasn't until 1992 and 1993 when it suffered major damage from Taliban takeover. Amazingly, classes are still being held here. As we walked through the building, most classrooms were full of students. There is no running water, no power and only a temperately dry toilet block that was built in the past year for all of the 1000+ students that study and live here.

About to enter the campus.

The main classroom building

This is the column that was blown out, must have been from an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). The beam that intersects it is still hanging there, supporting the concrete slab above, and most likely students in a classroom too.

Blown out beam, not sure how this happened. like I said, classes are still being held here. Even the precast concrete panels above are blown out.

Another column

no joke, this is used as a bell. An old mortar shell

Main classroom building viewed from inside the courtyard. Does anyone know about Soviet structural engineering? This building is using a moment frame system but beams are only laid in the transverse direction, there are absolutely no beams in the longitudinal direction. Only the precast concrete panels span longitudinally. There are no shear walls in this building. Doesn't make sense. I'm looking forward to seeing the blueprints as the Ministry claims to have. Just hope it's not written Russian/Cyrillic.

The roof of the gym, a rocket blasted through the precast concrete roof panels.


Diving anyone?

The Cafeteria, which is in the best shape out of all of them.

And it is my job to determine if these buildings are salvageable? -- crap.

By the way, I didn't look at the dorms. From the main building I could see that most of the buildings are blown out from shelling. Most of the end walls were just gone. They're going to see the wrecking ball. And yet, people are living in there too.


Tom said...

Is it just me or does it seem like the mountains in the background look like Nevada or Arizona? Also, how fancy are the buildings supposed to become? Are they going to have a computer lab and ethernet cables or are they just supposed to be as basic as possible?

Forrest said...

I don't know, but for me it doesn't make any difference as it wouldn't affect the evaluation or design.