“Sustainability through adaptability”

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    Roman settlement excavation center Augusta Raurica, Augst, Switzerland

    Visual transparency in the field condition promotes mutual awareness across the departments and builds a common identity for an institution that had been physically disaggregated for too long. The process from the discovery of an artefact to its eventual archiving in the collection becomes part of an exposed sequence of collaborations between departments that occupy this common grid.

Last updated: June 03, 2017 Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

Part workspace, part archive, part exhibition, the archaeological excavation center presents the first headquarters for a significant yet financially challenged cultural institution safeguarding the largest Roman site in Switzerland. Offices, restoration labs, workshops, and storage, previously dispersed in various buildings, are united within a robust and economical spatial system that emphasizes visual transparency and a common identity. Equally pragmatic as it is expressive, the lightweight steel structure balanced on top of ancient ruins provides a continuous and flexible field condition that anticipates future change and growth. Low-tech solutions are favored over high-tech construction.

The building hovers in the landscape, an abstract archaic form that is as familiar as it is foreign. A handsome, flexible structure succeeds – through a few clever tweaks – to appropriately house many uses. Doing so brings together disparate parts of the archaeological process, fostering coordination and collegiality. The jury was impressed by the structural system that allows the building to adapt to new functions as the Center’s needs change – a sustainability through adaptability.

More about the project: Radical Archaeology in Switzerland