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UK teams dominate shortlist for Cyprus mosaics shelter

image by carole raddato
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Four UK teams including Carmody Groarke and Hugh Broughton Architects have been named finalists in an international contest for a new interpretation shelter at the ancient ruins of Nea Paphos in Cyprus

The full shortlist includes Carmody Groarke, Cullinan Studio, Hugh Broughton Architects, Sela Jaymes Architects working in association with Gort Scott, Milan-based Studio Gionata Rizzi, and Machado Silvetti of Boston, USA.

In December, The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) launched an open call for architects to put forward concepts for a new shelter to protect a series of ‘highly significant’ mosaic pavements and floors while also allowing visitors to study and enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The pilot project will create one structure to cover a 900m² area featuring two decorative mosaics and the remains of a Roman bath complex, and an additional 350-1,800m² structure covering several additional mosaic pavements and masonry walls. If successful, the shelter concept may be harnessed for several other locations across the former Greek and Roman city.

GCI associate director for strategy and special initiatives, Jeanne Marie Teutonico, said: ‘The GCI has a longstanding relationship with Cyprus and the site of Nea Pafos, which was the focus of one of our first field projects some 30 years ago.

‘Our enduring cooperation with the Department of Antiquities in Cyprus has allowed us to return to the site and engage with these talented architects to create long-term protection for the site’s extraordinary ancient mosaics — and to develop approaches to sheltering that will benefit other archaeological sites worldwide.’

The city of Paphos is about 50km west from Limassol – Cyprus’s largest port – and its urban area is home to 62,000 residents along with an international airport. The competition focuses on a series of ruins located with the coastal Paphos Archaeological Park within the Nea Paphos district of the settlement.

Landmark ruins within the campus include the House of Dionysos, the House of Aion, the House of Theseus and the House of Orpheus, which all feature decorative mosaics. There are also two theatres, a basilica, agora and several private villas.

The two-stage call for concepts will select an ‘innovative, yet practical’ shelter prototype for the historic site. Proposals must respond to local climatic conditions while also considering the long-term maintenance of the shelters.

The six shortlisted teams will be invited to proceed to the second stage and receive US$12,000 to create design concepts. An overall winner will be announced in 2021.

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