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NAM – Nicosia Archaeological Museum


Client: Cyprus Minister of Transport, Communication and Public Work
Type: Cultural Competition Entry
Program Area: 236,418 sqft
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
Status: Phase 1
Method Design Team: Reese J Campbell, Demetrios A Comodromos, Angela Rocchi, Ayman Alhajji, Ben Crocker, Katelyn Rauth, Matt Fugelsang, Mohammed Ali


Cyprus’ historical reputation is traditionally defined relative to its importance as an important crossroads for centuries of civilizations and empires passing through. However, its real legacy in history is held in centuries of developing as a center for cultural exchange. Cyprus produced its own distinct social ecologies that manifested contextually rather than as a vessel for the remnants left behind during colonization or extraction of resources.

The program of the New Cyprus Museum, with a focus on how an archaeological record can invoke a cultural identity, provides a unique opportunity to manifest this fundamental truth about Cyprus. This provides a question and strong challenge for the project as a connection to that history. How can the proposal bring to life the principle of social and cultural exchange in Nicosia’s and the nation’s civic, public, urban, and cultural realms? As a destination, people’s exploration of the notion of identity must be embodied in space, material and ultimately an edifice. Participation and pride in history can be embedded in the consciousness of both visitor to the gallery and recreational occupant of the site.

With this challenge in mind, the approach is to reflect the basic tension in the desire for the museum complex to be both an important and visually impactful destination representing Cyprus, while also acting as a sensitive connective tissue for the urban fabric of Nicosia’s fledgling cultural corridor. The ground plane of the site is transformed into a dynamic civic and public scape for infiltration of the city and its inhabitants. This is achieved by housing the Museum’s public-facing program and spaces for administration and conservation in copper-clad buildings that are scaled to Nicosia’s contextual character. These buildings are embedded in the urban landscape to create a new fabric, still allowing infill by the Phase B spaces, and additional expansion program for the museum. Visitors can have independent access at ground level, while below the urban landscape, a fully interconnected basement level houses support spaces with service and transport of goods and artifacts. Their site composition and the resulting interstitial spaces create a new micro-urbanism on the site that ensures dynamic and compelling spaces that can be occupied for a variety of events by the residents of the city of Nicosia as well as all visitors to the New Cyprus Museum.