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. It’s lively program of exhibition spaces, public functions, laboratories, library and archive are all in direct contact with one other. By allowing maximum surface area contact between these different functions and by creating an internal central courtyard in which all program is accessible, knowledge too becomes more approachable and coherent to all types of user groups.

The heart of the new building is formed by a botanical rock garden in which the Cypriot landscape is represented by local soil, rock, plant and tree species. 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 organised 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 deeper chambers offers the full experience. The curators (its visitors) can short-cut the circular route through the central courtyard and experience thematic routes or cross-reference experiences; involving the library, laboratories or depot as desired.

The museum communicates the full history of Cypriote society and culture. Experiencing and understanding the context of the artifacts will be enhanced by the architecture in which they are presented. By using strong contextual materials and shapes, the building itself will become a part of the learning experience. The façade consists of various layers of soil types and minerals. The depth and angle of the roof eaves and the orientation of the deep façade openings are designed to efficiently regulate sunlight and shade throughout the year. The eaves are also an extension into the public realm which offer a place of respite and a chance for citizens to glimpse into the buildings public exhibition alcoves beyond or directly access some of the museums facilities including: educational spaces, the temporary exhibition, the conference hall and library, as well as the restaurant and shop. The eaves also become apart of the external public exhibition boulevard which runs through the greater cultural district.

The building also offers the possibility for future changes and expansions without losing any of its original qualities. Its robust, yet flexible construction can stand for hundreds of years and offers space for countless applications in the future.

  • Name: Cyprus Archaeology Museum
  • Location: Nicosia (CY)
  • Program: Exhibition rooms, library, conference room, laboratories, offices
  • Size: 20.400 m²
  • Commission: Open competition
  • Period: 2016-2017
  • Client: Cyprus Minister of Transport, Communication and Public Work
  • Team: Jan Lebbink, Gert Kwekkeboom, Rick ten Doeschate, Ingrid van der Heijden, Joeri Sowka, Kejdi Lulja, Mohammad Khalili
  • Partners: TCC Matters
  • Images: Civic Architects, 3d Studio Prins

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