The Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works and the Getty Conservation Institut
e of the U.S.A. announce that after a long-term process, the winner of a joint international competition inaugurated in Fall 2019 for the design of shelters for the mosaics and other sensitive archaeological remains at the archaeological site of Nea Pafos, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the architectural office of Hugh Broughton Architects.
This competition was promoted in the framework of the Conservation and Management Plan prepared by the Department of Antiquities with the Getty Conservation Institute for the protection of this important archaeological site and the mosaic floors that are unique in the entire eastern Mediterranean, as well as the rest of the remains and monuments dating to the Hellenistic, Roman, Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval and Ottoman period. During the elaboration of this Plan, the creation of shelters for the protection and optimal presentation of mosaic floors and archaeological remains was considered necessary and of great importance.
After examining the proposals submitted by many architectural firms internationally, six architectural firms were selected for the final phase of the competition: Carmody Croarke, Cullinan Studio, Studio Gionata Rizzi, Hugh Broughton Architects, Machado Silvetti and Sela James Architects (in collaboration with Gort Scott). At this stage, the six offices were asked to prepare Proposals with Architectural Designs (Concept Designs) for two shelter prototypes. The first shelter is for the House of Theseus and will cover the mosaics with a scene from the life of Achilles, Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and a complex of baths with geometric mosaics. The second shelter will protect the House of Orpheus and the mosaics with the battle of Hercules and the lion of Nemea, Orpheus and the animals that surround him listening to his music and a smaller complex of baths.
For the needs of the competition, the Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute, in collaboration with scientists from abroad, experts in conservation issues and protective shelters for archaeological sites, created a detailed Design Brief which included the main criteria: the need to protect sensitive archaeological remains from anthropogenic and environmental threats, the importance of maintaining the relationship between the shelters and the surroundings, the creation of the appropriate conditions for viewing the mosaics and facilitating the movement of visitors, the use of sustainable materials and systems. Also, the architectural offices were asked to suggest ways to implement their plans in other places and remains of the site, in addition to these two houses. The architectural offices then visited the archaeological site, in order to understand its special features and needs so as to complete their ideas, discussing with an Archaeological Officer of the Department of Antiquities and a scientist specializing in the archaeology of Pafos.
The proposals with the Architectural Plans were evaluated by an international committee consisting of members of the scientific staff of the Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute and independent international scientists specializing in the fields of conservation, archaeology, architectural design, structural and environmental engineering, with extensive previous experience in archaeological and historical sites. The committee was chaired by a Professor of Practice in the Field of Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. It is noted that, in addition to the international committee, the Department of Antiquities proceeded to the establishment of a special local evaluation committee. The latter consisted of representatives of the Departments of Antiquities and Public Works, an architect and a civil engineer with many years of experience in similar projects, as well as a Professor Emeritus of the University of Cyprus specializing in the archaeology of Pafos.
The six offices presented various ideas in the proposals they submitted and responded with creative solutions to the challenge to balance the various and often conflicting design requirements. The Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute are grateful for the participation and dedication of all teams throughout this time-consuming and highly competitive process.
The Commission considered that the proposal submitted by the Hugh Broughton architects office for the creation of a semi-open shelter provided the most comprehensive and balanced answers to the complex criteria set out in the Design Guide, with priority given to the protection of mosaics. The structural design that keeps the interior of the roof intact and the inventive solution for the foundation of the structure without the need to carry out further excavations, minimize the impact of the proposed project on the archaeological site. At the same time, it provides protection from earthquakes, winds and other hazards.
In addition, this proposal is based on an understanding of the general environmental threats to mosaics, such as the creation of salts, and presents solutions for effective control. The individual elements of the proposal for the shelter prototype, such as the roof and the use of local materials such as clay tiles, wooden elements on the walls and in other places, are consistent with other existing structures within and near the archaeological site. The proposed shelter does not compete with mosaics and other remains due to the simplicity of its design, while the proposed flexible system with pedestrian bridges allows various options for the development of visitor traffic routes. The shelters can be expanded or replicated with a solution proposed by the team for the use of „kit of parts”, with materials that are available locally and can be easily replaced.
The Director of the Department of Antiquities stated that “the protection of the mosaics of the important UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Nea Pafos, which are of unique value, is among the priorities of the Department of Antiquities. For this reason, it was decided to collaborate with the Getty Conservation Institute for the creation of a Conservation and Management Plan, as well as for initiating this international competition for shelter designs which will protect the sensitive archaeological remains. The concept design developed by „Hugh Broughton Architects” considers the main criteria put forward as part of the competition, such as the need to preserve the integrity of the site and the broader area, and other environmental factors and visitation issues. The proposal will be finalized following discussions with the Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute and will be implemented based on governmental procedures”.
According to Jeanne Marie Teutonico, Associate Director of the Strategic Initiatives and Publications section of the Getty Conservation Institute, “the design of shelters on archaeological sites is a complex undertaking that must balance a number of competing demands. „Hugh Broughton Architects” creative and thoughtful design concept provides protection for the site’s mosaics with structures that are sustainable and sensitive to the archaeological context”.
As Hugh Broughton, winner of the competition, mentioned, “It has been a privilege to develop ideas for shelter prototypes at Nea Pafos and we are thrilled to have been selected as winners of the design competition. We have proposed solutions which minimize physical and visual impact on the site and make best use of sustainable passive design techniques to protect the remarkable Roman mosaics and archaeology. Our designs reflect a creative and methodical collaboration between architects, conservation specialists and engineers, all of whom are looking forward to working in partnership with the Department of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute to develop proposals to preserve the future of this stunning historic place.”
For the purposes of informing the public, it is stated that the Getty is an internationally recognized organization in arts, which is active in the field of exhibitions, as well as preservation and understanding of the world’s artistic and cultural heritage. It collaborates with institutions around the world, while the work of the Getty Foundation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute, aims to understand the relationships between cultures. The Getty Conservation Institute, with which the Department of Antiquities has been collaborating for many years, focuses on the development of conservation practices for archaeological sites. It supports conservation through scientific research, education, field research and the dissemination of information, thus creating and offering knowledge.