Excavating as an abstract concept


After yesterday’s pin-up presentation it became quite clear to me, that I need to look at the idea of excavating as a much more abstract concept – seperate from the existing structures at the site.

In that way. Multiple smaller excavation sites could lead people around the whole fortress, and let them discover different parts of the program for themselves.

We had a good discussion about how doing so, would more clearly display the remnants as objects while inside these frames. But from our talks yesterday I feel that not only the word excavate is important to this discussion, but also exhibit and examine. These frames could act in different ways according to their context; the landscape around them, the meeting point of different building elements, being outside and inside.

The idea is, that once you have been inside one of these frames and walk out again, you will see the built structures in a new way – both as buildings and as objects of examination at the same time.


This does leave a great amount of unanswered questions though. What are the strategies of excavation and exhibtion that should be used? should the areas follow a grid ? should they be arbitrary or related to special areas of interest? Should they be physically connected? How do you enter these areas? should they be able to overlap? and in that case what happens in the intermediary zone? should some of them be climatized? which ones? How much or how little is needed to make people see and area of the site in a different way?

Do I level out the areas in the middle of the hilly landscape? do I pave them? put out a frame of wood? do I dig a straight wall down or do I dig down in a manner like rice fields or even architectural context models? Do I make stairs or ramps or let the landscape ‘naturally’ change to let people come down in to the excavated sites?

I think the answer is yes… to most of them. The hard part is finding out what to do where and what not to do. I still have this nagging feeling that the fact that I need to use bricks as the major component of my intervention is really a cause of annoyance. I need to find a way to make it work for me again.

More on all of that later…

The image is of the entrance to Peter Zumthor’s building framing the excavations of Roman ruins in Chur.

Be the first to leave a comment. Don’t be shy.

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>