Goharkhatoon Girls School

Location : Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan

Status : Built in 2014

Architecture: Robert Hull, FAIA in collaboration with the University of Washington, Department of Architecture, Project Architect: Elizabeth Golden, AIA, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Project Team: Yasaman Esmaili, Christopher Garland, David Miller, FAIA

Located in the center Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth largest city, the Gohar Khatoon girls’ school opened on June 2nd, 2015. The school was commissioned by the Balkh Province Ministry of Education with a U.S. based non-profit organization, and has been integrated into the national education system. The new building replaces an older school that was in an extreme state of disrepair and expands the capacity of a historically significant urban school.

The 2,000 m2 complex provides for kindergarten through grade twelve classes, serving at least 3,000 students or more a day. Mazar-i-Sharif is home to several universities, and Gohar Khatoon–acting as a gateway to higher education–is positioned to become a key institution for educating several thousand women and girls in an important urban center.

Girls’ schools are already considered to be major contributors in Afghanistan’s push toward development, and these institutions serve as powerful mechanisms for inclusion within Afghan society. Schools are the setting where women and girls will negotiate this transition, and Gohar Khatoon has been designed to support this process by promoting stability, comfort, and community engagement.