afghan women's development centers

"Empowerment is the process of carving out new space where none previously existed. In designing the Afghan Women's Development Centers Greg and his team had an innate understanding of the organic relationship between empowerment as a process and the physical space wherein empowerment is to take place."      - Farshad Rastegar, President & CEO of Relief International

Designed by Inscape Studio for Relief International and the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs there have been three centers built, one each in Jalalabad, Taloqan and the province of Laghman. The Afghan Women's Development Centers will provide medical services and educational and vocational training opportunities for women, enabling them to improve their health and economic welfare. The plan of the center was derived from the necessity for a private compound that would provide both shelter and security to the members of the community it serves. The result is an introspective facility that creates outdoor as well as indoor space through voids and solids and allows a free flow of movement from inside to outside. 

The centers are designed to be responsive to the climate in which they are located, mostly arid with daily temperature extremes. The courtyards, designed to allow for prevailing breezes, will help with passive cooling in the heat of the day. Other passive heating and cooling techniques include shaded colonnades, sunscreens and masonry walls that act as thermal mass. The roof system is designed to divert rainwater through scuppers and into cisterns, reclaiming this precious resource for the center's use. Locally manufactured indigenous materials such as fire-baked bricks made from the clay soil are used throughout the project.