We see the museum not as a dizzying architectural icon, but as a public asset and a first step towards a new cultural district for history, archeology and arts in Cyprus. We propose to build a central plaza that will connect the new archeology center with the future Byzantine museum, the reused house of representatives, the Municipal Theatre and the Pediaios River. The potential exists to erect new pavilions with the purpose of hosting cultural events, making the new central plaza a truly integral addition to Nicosia.
The heart of the new building is formed by a courtyard garden. It offers visitors and staff a moment of relaxation and contemplation. The garden contains specific soil and rock types from different parts of the country and a selection of the country’s most typical plants and trees will form a green oasis, creating a small botanical garden for the museum visitor.
Within the museum, history constitutes not only a linear lesson from the past, but also a dynamic source of inspiration for the future. Each visitor has their own personal interests and motivations; therefore, the permanent exhibition is organized in an open circular system that offers several exhibition routes. The inner ring gives a quick tour along the museum’s highlights, while the alternative route through the interconnected chambers offers the full experience. Through the central courtyard, the curators can short-cut the circular route and offer thematic routes or cross-referenced experiences, involving the library, laboratories or depot when needed.
The museum facilitates interaction with local inhabitants as well as tourists by means of horizontally oriented, permeable facades creating lively public space profiles. The museum spaces are directly connected with the outdoor spaces on Eichon Street, Pediaios River Park and the central plaza. Immediately in front of the main façade, a public exhibition boulevard runs towards the river park, offering views into the museum and into public exhibition alcoves within the building. Many museum functions are also accessible from this boulevard, including educational spaces, the temporary exhibition, the conference hall and library, as well as the restaurant and shop. The cantilevered and partially perforated facade provides a comfortable shadow on the boulevard, allowing people to stop and spend some time.
The new National Cyprus Archeology Centre is a dynamic mix of museum, factory, depot, learning hub and experience center in the heart of the new cultural district of Nicosia. The museum communicates the full history of Cypriote society and culture, starting with the archeological findings the museum possesses. Experiencing and understanding the context of these findings will be enhanced by the architecture in which they are presented. By using strong contextual materials, the building itself will become a part of the learning experience.