Recognition & Credits
2018 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award
2017 AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Award
2015 Architecture Review School Awards Finalist
Sahar/Janet W. Ketcham Foundation and Balkh Province Ministry of Education
Robert Hull, FAIA in collaboration with the University of Washington, Department of Architecture
Elizabeth Golden, AIA, Associate Professor, University of Washington
David Miller, FAIA
University of Washington Studio Participants
Bryan Brooks, Marcus Crider, Grace Crofoot, Sarah Eddy, Yasaman Esmaili, Christopher Garland, Mariam Kamara, Michelle Kang,
Kevin Lang, Carolyn LeCompte, Benjamin Maestas, Jaclyn Merlet, Holly Schwarz, Mazohra Thami, Andrew Thies, Mackenzie Waller, Patricia Wilhelm
Jason Simmons (Afghanistan American Friendship Foundation), Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
Sayed Ali Mortazavy, Hussain Ahmady, Farkhonda Rajaby, Airokhsh Faiz Qaisary
Structural and Civil: Solaiman Salahi, Herat, Afghanistan
Environmental: Allan Montpellier, PAE Engineering, Seattle
Jason Simmons, Afghanistan American Friendship Foundation, Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, in collaboration with the University of Washington design team
Michael Gilbride, University of Washington Integrated Design Lab
Jack Hunter, Argent Fabrication, Seattle
© Nic Lehoux, Sahar/Farkhonda Rajaby
Located in the center Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth largest city, the Gohar Khatoon Girls' School provides kindergarten through grade twelve classes, serving 3,000 students a day.
Gohar Khatoon is run by the Balkh Ministry of Education and was realized by the aid organization Sahar with funding from the Janet W. Ketcham Foundation. The design of the school was a collaborative effort involving students and faculty at the University of Washington, the architect Robert Hull, the school staff, and the Balkh Ministry of Education.
Larger cities such as Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif are currently witnessing the disappearance of outdoor green space due to urbanization. Gohar Khatoon provides local children much-needed access to fresh air, plants, and trees.
School is oftentimes the only place where women are permitted to socialize outside the home. Gohar Khatoon’s outdoor activity spaces give students a culturally acceptable place for physical fitness; seating and gathering areas have been designed to promote social interaction.
Art in Afghanistan was initially produced almost entirely by men, but more recently, women have also been encouraged to pursue artistic interests. A mural competition provided some of these emerging artists an opportunity to share their work and inspire the students of Gohar Khatoon.
A central stairwell in each classroom block forms a “sunspace” that captures heat for warming the building in winter. Operable vents and door transoms allow warm air to circulate through the north-facing classrooms. South-facing classrooms receive enough direct solar gain to operate autonomously.
Cooling during the summer and shoulder seasons is achieved with a combination of cross and stack ventilation. Large seasonal doors at the end of the sunspaces can be opened in the warmer months, and transoms, located over the central hallways, help to pull air through the building.
The project was constructed from some imported materials, but the use of locally produced brick and other materials was significant. All of the windows were handmade by local artisans, and the tile and pavers were produced in the city.