Architects and engineers tasked with the renovation of Afghanistan’s historic Darul Aman Palace on Wednesday said work will resume come spring although architects are still working on the designs of the palace’s rooms.
They said work has been scaled back this winter.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MoUDH) said the new contract for the renovation of Darul Aman Palace has been put out for tender and that the contract will be given to a company that has experience with such projects.
According to MoUDH, up to now, nearly 50 percent of the renovation process of the palace has been completed.
Currently over 80 engineers and architects are associated with the renovations of which 25 percent are female engineers. The renovation process started two years ago.
“We are working on the designs and decorations of the rooms. It will put out for tender once the designs are completed. 90 percent of the designs have been completed and we are waiting for the contractor to start work next spring,” said one female engineer Najma Haidari.
“We are working collectively, but now the number of our colleagues have decreased, we are working on internal designs of the building,” said one archetict Nastaran Bahar.
The government had set a four year deadline to complete the renovation process.
In 2016, President Ashraf Ghani approved the plan and the government announced the allocation of $16.5 million USD for the reconstruction of Darul Aman Palace.
Darul Aman Palace was built in the early 1920s as part of the endeavors of King Amanullah Khan to modernize Afghanistan. Many people consider it testimony to the 100-year friendship between Germany and Afghanistan as a German engineer Walter Harten and his team of 20 architects designed the landmark building.
Darul Aman Palace was gutted by fire in 1969. It was restored to house the Defense Ministry during the 1970s and 1980s. In the Communist coup of 1978, the building was set on fire. It was damaged again as rival Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul in the early 1990s after the end of the Soviet invasion. Heavy shelling by the Mujahideen left the building a gutted ruin.
The palace is an imposing neoclassical building on a hilltop overlooking a flat, dusty valley in the western part of Kabul.