Preserving the ruins below the building proved challenging for the design team. It was determined that a long span system would not work as the massive foundations required would do significant damage to the existing structures. Instead, small foundations were laced into the ruins at optimal points creating a system of arches that are less regular that those in the galleries above. These subtle structural shifts allowed the building to touch the ground gently in and amongst the remains. “For this reason Roman systems of construction have been literally adopted, entrusting to them, and not to molds and orders, the satisfaction of the desire to be near the Roman world which is clearly the basis of this project.”1 In essence, the brick used in the walls does not compete with the ruins for prominence; it complements them.
This is an excerpt from Chapter 18 of Introducing Architectural Tectonics.
Drawing | © Chad Schwartz
1 Rafael Moneo as cited in “National Museum of Roman Art Merida,” ed. Ministry of Culture General Directorate of Fine Arts and Archives Directorate of State Museums (Madrid: I.G. Saljen, S.A., 1991), 72.