Archeopark Pavlov, Pavlov, CZ

Function: Exhibition
Country: Czech Republic
Category: Recollective Architecture
Architects: Radko Kvet, Pavel Pijacek
Completion of design: 2010
Year completed: 2016
The new archaeological museum is situated in an excavation field of valuable prehistoric objects which is at the same time a protected landscape area. Considerations for the natural values of the site as well as the character of the excavations were the reason for submerging the museum spaces under the surface of the green slope. Only several grey blocks – that serve as lightwells – are visible on the meadow, with their shape and colour reminiscent of the limestone rocks nearby. The interiors with concrete wall surfaces and roofs offer differentiated spaces for expositions of archaeological relics found in the area and for a small lecture room, as well as a museum shop. The building has been chosen as the ‘Best Architectural Work of the Year’ in 2007 at the Czech Architecture Award. (Prof. Petr Kratochvíl PhD, CSc)
Project Description

For many decades now, excavations at the complex of Palaeolithic (the period of mammoth hunters) settlements have unearthed a huge number of stone and bone tools and artworks, as well as the skeletal remains of anatomically modern humans. This puts Pavlov and Dolní Věstonice high on the list of the world’s leading archaeological sites. The site reminds us of a past historic age. It is both part of the universal cultural heritage and a symbolic, integral element of the local culture, fundamentally shaping the relationship between the local population and the region. It embodies cultural values that the local population takes pride in and establishes their relation to the country. The outstanding and attractive architecture and the exhibition cover an area of more than 500 m² and combine contemporary audiovisual technology with traditional museum displays. They allow the public to become acquainted with the most important discoveries that scientific research has uncovered in the area. In addition to photographs and documents that detail the history of the various excavations on these sites, the museum also displays the actual finds and explains the spiritual world of the local ancient people. Special emphasis is placed on topics such as hunting, the everyday life of hunters, their art, burial rituals and other aspects of their world. Archeopark has a delicate location in the sense of its broader urbanistic setting. It is located on the border of a village and the open countryside and forms part of the Pálava Hills’ impressive scenery. The majority of the construction is situated underground with just the white concrete towers projecting above the ground. The architectonic solution is based on the location’s conditions and was formulated according to three principal aspects: 1. The construction site is part of a national cultural monument, limiting construction to the archaeologically already excavated and researched area, with the only exception being the “in situ” exposition. 2. It had been assumed that the archaeological excavations are located 4–5 metres under the current terrain. 3. The construction site is part of a protected landscape area (PLA). Based on these aspects, the concept of an underground construction arose together with the loose paraphrase of “limestone rocks standing out from green meadows and vineyards”. The main exhibition area—as well as the administrative, technical and social areas—is hidden in the hillside. The skylight tower projects to the exterior, as does the conical entrance and the look-outs to Děvičky and the lake below. The intention for the building was to be reminiscent of the shape of a cave. Regarding the materials, up-to-date means were used to express monolithic reliefs with concrete, oakwood and glass. The entrance area of Archeopark is defined by gabion walls and forms. This is a multifunctional zone, which can also be used for open-air activities, such as theatre performances, or as a further background for archaeological work. This open-air landscape project accommodates the spatial and functional use of the area while subtly contributing to the scenery under the Děvín hill.

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