The paper aims at studying the relationship between architecture and archaeology, in the field of open-air museums’ design in archaeological sites. The issue of the heritage musealization and its implications on the design methodology are analyzed by comparing two examples, realized in different periods at the opposite sides of the Mediterranean world, but expressing two similar compositional approaches in using the ruins as an essential part of the new architecture. The first one is the archaeological museum of Karatepe, located near Adana (Turkey) and designed by Turgut Cansever between 1957 and 1961. This structure has been the first archaeological open-air museum in Turkey, demanded by the famous archaeologist Halet Çambel to host the ruins of 9th-century BC Hittite fortification, in particular those of two monumental gates. The architect aims to realize a permanent building separated from the ancient walls, but able to reintegrate them into the landscape. Therefore, he designs a modern system of shelters, composed of two U-shape roofs and two linear ones, which develops in high the ruins’ floor plan, giving an exact interpretation of the dimensions and niches of the ancient gate. The building structure is highly innovative for that time: thin pillars arise from the ruins and support impressive reinforced concrete roofs. The light filters and spreads from a set of wooden slats, so that sharp shadows on the remains are avoided. The architecture is fragmented, nevertheless, the whole system, made of roofs, archaeological remains and nature, is conceived as a unit. Thanks to the architectural reinterpretation of the ancient ruins, we can understand the past monumentality of the gate and its antique role in the landscape’s composition. The second case study is the musealization of Praça Nova archeological site at São Jorge Castle in Lisbona (Portugal), realized by João Luís Carrilho da Graça between 2008 and 2010. The site consists of a stratification of Phoenician, Roman and Arab settlements, discovered during the 1990s in the courtyard of a 16th-century royal palace. The architectural shapes and volumes are designed by Carrilho da Graça to give a formal definition of the archaeological ensemble and, at the same time, to identify each historical layer. The whole area is delimited by a corten-steel wall, from which a volume arises to host the remains of a prehistoric settlement. A dark movable structure protects the 15th-century mosaics, but the more interesting intervention is the rebuilding of the 11th-century Arab houses: white suspended volumes seem to rise from the ruins, while the floor plan of the ancient houses is readable on the roof structure made of wood and polycarbonate, conceived to share uniformly the light inside the buildings. The two architectural samples differ in intention and conception; nevertheless, both are designed to give a modern interpretation of the ancient ruins and to redefine them. The new arising volumes are thought, in both cases, to rebuild the ancient form and to make the archaeological ground plan identifiable, even at great distances, so that also the landscape is recomposed.

Rebuilding the ruins. Mediterranean open-air museums

Eliana Martinelli
2021-01-01

Abstract

The paper aims at studying the relationship between architecture and archaeology, in the field of open-air museums’ design in archaeological sites. The issue of the heritage musealization and its implications on the design methodology are analyzed by comparing two examples, realized in different periods at the opposite sides of the Mediterranean world, but expressing two similar compositional approaches in using the ruins as an essential part of the new architecture. The first one is the archaeological museum of Karatepe, located near Adana (Turkey) and designed by Turgut Cansever between 1957 and 1961. This structure has been the first archaeological open-air museum in Turkey, demanded by the famous archaeologist Halet Çambel to host the ruins of 9th-century BC Hittite fortification, in particular those of two monumental gates. The architect aims to realize a permanent building separated from the ancient walls, but able to reintegrate them into the landscape. Therefore, he designs a modern system of shelters, composed of two U-shape roofs and two linear ones, which develops in high the ruins’ floor plan, giving an exact interpretation of the dimensions and niches of the ancient gate. The building structure is highly innovative for that time: thin pillars arise from the ruins and support impressive reinforced concrete roofs. The light filters and spreads from a set of wooden slats, so that sharp shadows on the remains are avoided. The architecture is fragmented, nevertheless, the whole system, made of roofs, archaeological remains and nature, is conceived as a unit. Thanks to the architectural reinterpretation of the ancient ruins, we can understand the past monumentality of the gate and its antique role in the landscape’s composition. The second case study is the musealization of Praça Nova archeological site at São Jorge Castle in Lisbona (Portugal), realized by João Luís Carrilho da Graça between 2008 and 2010. The site consists of a stratification of Phoenician, Roman and Arab settlements, discovered during the 1990s in the courtyard of a 16th-century royal palace. The architectural shapes and volumes are designed by Carrilho da Graça to give a formal definition of the archaeological ensemble and, at the same time, to identify each historical layer. The whole area is delimited by a corten-steel wall, from which a volume arises to host the remains of a prehistoric settlement. A dark movable structure protects the 15th-century mosaics, but the more interesting intervention is the rebuilding of the 11th-century Arab houses: white suspended volumes seem to rise from the ruins, while the floor plan of the ancient houses is readable on the roof structure made of wood and polycarbonate, conceived to share uniformly the light inside the buildings. The two architectural samples differ in intention and conception; nevertheless, both are designed to give a modern interpretation of the ancient ruins and to redefine them. The new arising volumes are thought, in both cases, to rebuild the ancient form and to make the archaeological ground plan identifiable, even at great distances, so that also the landscape is recomposed.
978-88-3338-152-7
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1538639
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