Location: Lisbon, Portugal.
Architect: Carrilho da Graça aquitectos.
Lisbon: the project for the musealisation of the archaeological site of Praça Nova at the Castle of São Jorge was carried out at a cost of one million euro.
Carried out over an area of 3500 square meters, the project, commissioned by the Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural of Lisbon, won the Piranesi Prix de Rome 2010, delivered to João Luís Carrilho Da Graça in September at the Casa dell’Architettura of Rome by a jury chaired by Angelo Torricelli and composed of Francesco Dal Co, Amedeo Schiattarella, Luca Basso Peressut, Romolo Martemucci, Lucio Altarelli, Luigi Spinelli and Pier Federico Caliari.
The hill occupied by the Castle of São Jorge represents the first human settlement of Lisbon known by scholars, a panoramic point overlooking the Tagus estuary and its hinterland. Beginning in 1996, archaeological excavations have brought to light the finds relating to the various historical phases that have marked the anthropization of the site.
Carrilho Da Graça’s project envisaged as the first intervention the clear delimitation of the area through “a precise incision”: a corten steel wall designed to contain the perimeter surface of the historic area at its highest altitude.
Stairways, paths and seats are inserted ex novo within the area, away from the metal curtain. A mobile structure protects the remains of the mosaics belonging to a palace built in the fifteenth century, its lower part is covered with a black mirror surface that reflects the textures and decorations of the floors.
An ethereal volume-non-volume was created to protect the 11th century Muslim houses and the related frescoes: abstract and spectacular white walls, floating on the foundations, touching the ground in just 6 points, and recreate the original divisions of the interiors, while a cover with a semi-opaque surface filters the sunlight.
The finds of the village that occupied the hill during the Iron Age are exhibited in a new essential and minimalist building, through which visitors can access the lower levels of the excavation and observe the ancient foundations of the architecture that once populated the area .