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Competition: Herculaneum restoration school, Italy

An open international ideas competition has been launched for a new 830m² archaeological academy at the Herculaneum UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy (Deadline: 15 April)

Open to teams of students, graduates and professionals, the competition seeks proposals for an innovative new restoration school on a 640m² site within the ruins of the well-preserved ancient Roman city which was destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows from nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The call for ideas, organised by Start for Talents, aims to identify potential solutions for a new complex which could inspire a new generation of archaeologists and help improve our understanding of the links between the ancient and modern worlds. Proposals may be of any height but must include at least four classrooms along with two laboratories, a library, café and toilets.

The ruins of Herculaneum

The ruins of Herculaneum

The ruins of Herculaneum

According to the brief: ‘The School of Restoration, in close contact with the archaeological site, must be imagined as the place where to form the new generations of restorers; the students will make the nearby ancient park the place where to apply the theoretical dictates learned.

‘The school, in addition to being an educational centre and an important element of urban reactivation, will become a contemporary sign capable of understanding in the relationship with the ancient an interesting bridge between the ages.’

Herculaneum was an ancient coastal city, possibly of Greek origin, which was buried under 20 metres of ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. The eruption, which also engulfed nearby Pompeii, was one of the most catastrophic of its kind in European history and left Herculaneum buried for centuries.

The city was first partially excavated in the early 18th century – reigniting interest in Classical architecture and sculpture – and significantly excavated in the late 1920s. Important finds within the open-air complex include ancient streets, a theatre, baths and several villas, while other structures such as the forum remain unearthed.

The ruins of Herculaneum

The ruins of Herculaneum

Source: Image by Qfl247

The ruins of Herculaneum

While large numbers of artefacts are preserved in the nearby Naples National Archaeological Museum, the archaeological site itself is now in a poor condition and at risk from erosion and water damage.

The latest project aims to generate new ideas for a speculative academy building which could enhance archaeological work within the complex and provide a suitable setting for researchers and visitors.

Proposals should feature a reception area, four classrooms, two laboratories, a library, café, staff offices, toilets, dressing rooms and a plant area.

The competition languages are English, Italian and Spanish. Submissions and submissions must include A0-sized project featuring images along with a 4,000-character description. The overall winner, to be announced on 30 April, will receive a €500 prize for each team member.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 15 April

Fee

Ordinary registration from 10 February to 30 March: €25
Extraordinary registration from 31 March to 15 April: €30

Contact details

Email: startfortalents@gmail.com

View the competition website for more information

Paracas Museum case study: Q&A with Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse

The co-founders of Barclay & Crousse Architecture discuss lessons learned designing a new archaeology museum for the Paracas National Reserve in Peru

Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse

Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse

Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse

How did your project deliver an appropriate archaeology museum for the Paracas National Reserve?

An archaeological museum must find the delicate balance between heritage conservation exposed and release to the public. A site museum, as the Paracas, acquires the additional challenge of having to integrate into the landscape that was the cradle of this culture, which is now part of the most important biological and landscaping reserve of the Peruvian coastal desert.

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

We worked simultaneously with physical models, BIM platform as Archicad, photo-renderings and sketches. Every visual method helps find what we are looking for and informs the other ones.

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new museum for Ercolano?

To be very attentive to the additional layer this museum is creating upon thousands of other layers of human and geographic history and to remember that it is a place where these historic layers meet.

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture

Paracas Museum by Barclay & Crousse Architecture