The project recovers the environment of Roman Temple of Diana, which was old forum and center of the Roman city.
Acting in a place with that important historical and archaeological load was a challenge that has meant working, from the beginning, both with existing traces and with those traces that existed in Roman times. We believe those traces are still valid although they are not entirely recognizable. Thus, the work answers two historical periods separate by nearly 2,000 years and gets a space from Roman times which always served as the framework to the temple of Diana. In turn, using contemporary language, we incorporate those social and cultural needs from nowadays. It allows keeping this new civic center alive and full of uses.
Together with a team of archaeologists, we defined the working rules and guidelines getting to a project syntax. This language is able to assume all the irregularities and modifications from archaeological discoveries. These guidelines create an open system that can develop through time.
To recover the downtown in Roman Age, the perimeter structure places in the edges of the site, as far as possible from the temple, obtaining the maximum void. Thus, the Roman void is recovered respecting the Roman archaeological features that constituted the ancient sacred space: the temple, the side ponds and the cryptoporticus, now incorporated into the plaza. The project solves with a perimeter piece in L-shape which sews city edges. A great square around the temple is liberated. This L-section comes from the union of a platform and a vertical screen. The platform is located at a similar height to the podium of the temple and allows a new relationship visitor-temple. The structural screen puts on value the temple and frames it. The space in between the perimeter piece and the city is occupied by a series of volumes which host future uses.
Thus, the project, more than a building, is a raised platform. It is a structure capable of generate a new layer of city full of program. In addition, it gives a long shadow over the square.
The structure cannot work by isolated parts. The action of the cantilever, of up to 5 m. span, is balanced by the weight of the volumes that rely on the perimeter wall. These volumes act as a counterweight. The foundation is based micro-piles as respectful as possible with the archaeological remains of the place. Therefore, we dispose the minimum number of columns to minimize the contact with the floor of the building.
The piece in L is understood as an artificial stone. It is a white concrete similar to the granite from the temple´s podium. The executions, the detailing of formwork or dosages have been carefully studied to get the finished searched. The square ground is done with soil, as it was originally.
from: José María Sánchez García