The Piscina Mirabilis — Museum of Live Arts
The Piscina Mirabilis is a unique architectural object. The impressive architectural order of its plan and space is remarkably affecting its visitors and viewers. The Reuse competition design question made us in first place discuss on dilemma: do we prioritize creating a museum with sufficient free exhibition space no more what or – do we keep the original structure intact? The specific features of the form and typology of the building pushed us to debate and investigate the mission of the modern museum as a whole. Seeing the modern museums tendencies as of today we have looked into far predictions of evaluation of understanding of the role and form of modern art. The near future of modern art shall have a new set of attractive to visitors’ elements, different from available today.
We propose a 21st century participatory museum project. In this project we are shifting the main focus - from objects and media onto society, visitor and interaction. We see Piscina Mirabilis as The Museum of Live Arts. Where standardized museum of modern art role is supplement to Main platform for constructing new forms of physical and emotional experience. The Live Arts unites many diverse practices: performance, contemporary dance, social theater, Immersive art, pedagogical experiments, site-specific art, retreat therapy and art residences and more to come.
The vision of Water as the source of life that has been filling the reservoir over century is powerful. Water is represented in idea of the Live Arts, as the perception of fluid and volatile subjects. And just like water with its permanent memory was filling reservoir in past we seek to create an Reservoir Archive that will serve to accumulate, preserve and transmit materials on the history and theory of Live Arts. An ancient water reservoir becomes a museum and an archive of art of the future.
The design of the project seeks to provide the function by minimal implementation into the object and leaving the solid impression of the historical architectural elements of the ruins. The project plans only 4 new elements:
- Gallery-path along the perimeter of the reservoir at a middle elevation. The galleries contains video archives and a library. The gallery allows you to view the space at different levels and make your own individual path quest. The visitor’s path, including bypassing the lower level, is cyclic. In the past, an endless circulation of water took place in the reservoir, and now it is filled with flows of peoplp>
- A new two-level underground part contains a multifunctional space of a conference hall and a restaurant/bar, kitchen, storage, office, toilets and access to the patio.
- The tower is a classic element of the Italian public museum square, as well as the main social element of our participatory museum. A correctly selected place for vertical communication allowed to place the old and new entrance next to each other, as well as all the main functions of the museum and starting and ending point of any visitor and exhibition path.
- Mobile city square - a transformer on the roof. In our case, the usual public square in front of the museum is transferred to the roof in the form of light platforms that allow to hold any event or exposition. The main historical openings are preserved under glass and visitors have access to the central ones. In the dark, these holes emit light outside as a symbol of water that was once pumped out of them.
The project does not change the transport scheme. It is proposed to improve the materials of the roads, since they will simultaneously be walking areas, and the north-western side along vault-covered little rooms will become the main recreation area and will be complemented by an avenue of trees.
We seek to save the current state of the monument. The reconstruction project involves the highest possible preservation of the internal structure of the object, including all pillars, stairs, the covering terrace and doors opening in the vault, two step entrances, twelve vault-covered little rooms and to underline the water inlet pipe (we make eternal circulating waterfall at the main entrance) and water output pipe (we fill the basin with water) .
New function implementation into historical ruins requires us to open out a fragment of the face northwest wall to create a new additional functional underground space, a small courtyard, an entrance group setup and vertical communication. This decision will make possible to see into the deep structure of the monument, that has informational and educational point. A gap is formed, through which new life, people and the light flows into the the Ancient Roman ruins and reveals their essence and design features.
In any historical volumes we offer to clean, strengthen and preserve the maximum of possible historical surfaces - columns, walls, arches, and floor.
All blocks of tufa that remained from the demolished part of the historical wall will be used for restoration purposes and as a material for the reception desk and recreation areas.
The new constructions of stairs, galleries, and roof platforms do not touch historical surfaces, and look more like temporary light materials that are used to construct archeological sites
In newly constructed space the new floor and wall decoration is partially applied along the perimeter of the reservoir to create an archive space and the possibility of a gallery type of exposure.
We aim to obtain contrast effect of bright vs dark between newly constructed elements and old kept volumes.