The project for the cover of the Roman Villa in Appiano (BZ) is designed with the primary goal of protecting and, at the same time, rebuilding a memory, a lost image. The project refers to the archetype of the Tent to recall the place in which archaeologists unearth ancient ruins. Covering excavations sites has become necessary since the birth of archaeology: The reference to the transitional and elementary shapes of the Tent relies on the visual and memorial experience of the visitor, to be aware of the peculiarity and the nature of the building and of what is hidden on the inside. Through the definition of the volume of the project, the fragility of the cloth is then stabilized, crystallizing its ethereal and timeless shape as an architectural object.

The sculptural and single-material volume, made by dark aluminium panels, fits into the context through a clear and decisive design but is still suitable to the natural environment. The smooth and soft exterior volume contrasts with sharper and more regular lines on the inside, which evoke the geometries and proportions of Roman architecture. The façade overlooking the valley, visible from via S. Paolo, looks like a cloth hanging on two side supports, a dividing line between the vineyards and the mountains behind, able to surprise and stimulate the imagination of visitors and passers-by. The only glazed opening facing east is identified by a protruding volume, designed to create a visual connection with the surrounding landscape.

The entrance is identified by a wide hollow able to accommodate the visitors, where a «strip of the Tent» creates a cover on the front side. The protruding volume is made of perforated sheet metal and is tapered up to the end, defining an acute angle in order to lose the visual sensation of three-dimensionality and thickness, appearing as a two-dimensional figure, almost like a suspended veil. The surfaces of the perimeter skin contribute to remark the transition between outdoor and indoor: on the outside the walls are rarely orthogonal and tend to adapt to the conformation of the lot, while on the inside the walls are shaped by ruins of the Roman Villa, which defines its geometries and directions. Therefore, a virtuous tensive relationship between archaeology and architecture is established and contributes to the reading of the ruins and the spatiality of the Villa.

In order to rationalize the functional distribution and to improve the perception and fruition of the archaeological remains, the perimeter walls are configured as a functional envelope, as well as representing a filter between the external and internal space. The perimeter skin accommodates the totality of the service spaces, such as toilets, storage and technical room, allowing to completely free the main core, divided only by the few diaphanous partitions of the entrance.

The museum visit is set along a ring path. It is spaced out with several breaks that allow small groups of people to stop. The path penetrates the perimeter skin through an opening where is created a panoramic room, connecting the inner space of the excavations to the surrounding landscape, in particular toward the valley and the village of S. Paolo.

credits

architects: BSTR architects, Rosso 19, AEI Progetti, Rethink Energy  |  client: Provincia autonoma di Bolzano  |  status: Competition (2021)  |  clasification: 1 rang  |  location: Eppan, Italy  |  climate: Temperate, Humid subtropical  |  material: wood  |  environment: Mountain  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 384 m2 small  |  types: cultural, museum  |  views: 952