Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Volubilis Visitor Centre ~ Progress at last?

The Visitor Centre at Volubilis seems to have been under construction for years. According to locals the problems centred around non-payment of contractors. However, now things appear to be back on track and the architects are happy with what they see.

The architects, Kilo, from Meknes, say that the project, set within the most visited archaeological site in the Kingdom of Morocco, seeks to enhance the historical and symbolic significance of this unique UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is an exceptionally well-preserved example of an ancient Roman colonial town and one of several antique sites in Morocco. Due to the lack of urban development in the immediate surroundings, the site today closely resembles what the Romans saw in their time. In order to highlight the dramatic visual impact of the antique ruins upon entry to the site, the volume of the museum is embedded into the hillside so that visitors do not initially perceive its presence.

The project is conceived as a narrow imprint on the perimeter of the ancient territory, eight meters wide by two hundred meters long. The building consists of a succession of wooden volumes along an extended retaining wall, simultaneously buried and suspended in relationship to the rolling landscape. The project behaves much like the ruins it houses, and the tectonics of its construction and the lifespan of its materials inherently propose a strategy for the building’s eventual disappearance.


Architects: Kilo Architectures
Location: Meknes, Morocco
Client: Ministère de la Culture
Structural Engineers: TESCO
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 4,200 sqm
Photographs: Elio Germani, Luc Boegly

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