The site’s location adjacent to Nicosia’s most important cultural buildings and in between the old city’s Venetian walls and the Pedieos river create a dynamic context for the design decisions taken in the design of Cyprus Museum. The potentials and the shape of the site, alongside its location, inspire a building typology that is free-standing and accessible all around – a pavilion in the park.
The building is positioning in the heart of the site as a central polarity that is surrounded by generous public and green spaces, as well as a series of open spaces for various cultural activities all around it. The volume is rotated in such a way that it can have clear alignments and relate to the house of the Representatives and the existing Cyprus Museum. As a result the building is standing between the urban and the natural realm, aiming to become an incubator of activities.
The ground based volume is shifted towards the Venetian Walls and the existent museum connecting them with Pedieos river and the extension of the municipal garden. The position of it is creating an urban passage that is the main entrance of the new Cyprus Museum. Subtracting the volume of the urban passage, we are creating a void that is a placeholder for all the interactive and public program of the building and separates the building into two different podiums that they serve separately public and restricted access functions.
The lower part of the building is divided into two different podiums with independent access, program and circulation. On the northern podium, the temporary exhibition is located on a stepped continuous surface and a ramp that are creating both accessibility and dynamic exhibition spaces, proposing a different- more challenging curatorial structure. Such spatial arrangements motivate the visitor to meander around the exhibits and, on key moments, to observe a landscape of exhibits.
The proposal refers to the qualities of the cabinet of the curiosities (Kunstkammer) and the museum of Soane. In the same time, this surface is leading the visitor to the upper two floors of the permanent exhibition. The permanent exhibition is located on the top floor and is a well defined rectangular and flexible space with indirect controlled lighting from the roof. The floor-plan allows for multiple exhibition layouts and performs as a generic background for the archaeological exhibits to stand out.
The museum is designed as an open programmatic condenser featuring a large urban room in the heart of it, a generous space of gathering for the visitors and a challenging ground for curators to exhibit archeology in an open and non linear format that has been previously unforeseen. The void is connecting the city with the permanent exhibition space on the top floor through a series of large and monumental stairs, ramps and stepped interior landscapes on which visitors can also seat, use and celebrate.
We proposed the creation of three different buildings of different scales and architectural language: the box-shaped large museum building, the cross-shaped building that will house the department of antiquities and the library building, to be housed inside the renovated and extended existing building. The lower part of the building is divided into two different podiums with independent access, program and circulation.
The Southern podium is housing the visitor’s amenities and services on the ground floor, the laboratories on the three levels above and the administration on the fifth floor. It is also connected with the storerooms that are located in the basement of the building through a large circulation core and freight elevator. This podium is steep and creates different platforms on which the employees could hang out while being at work. The visitors are able to see the work at the laboratories without having access to it.
The Northern podium serves the educational part of the program and on its surface, a part of the temporary exhibition of the museum is located. A stepped continuous surface and a ramp are creating both accessibility and dynamic exhibition spaces, proposing a different- more challenging curatorial structure. Such spatial arrangements motivate the visitor to meander around the exhibits and, on key moments, to observe a continuous landscape of exhibits.
- Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
- Architect: Architects for Urbanity
- Project Team: Irgen Salianji, Marina Kounavi, Karolina Szóstkiewicz, Roxana Aron, Eugenio Cardoso
- Client: Department of Public Works of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works
- Status: Competition Project
- Total Area: 16.000 m2
- Year: 2017
- Images: Courtesy of Architects for Urbanity
Article by Marco Rinaldi