120 HOURS COMPETITION
LOKACE: PYRAMIDEN, SVALBARD, NO
"Experimental preservation" was the theme of 120 HOURS 2015. The participants were asked to illustrate their vision for what could be the future ideals, principles and methods guiding architectural preservation.
Pyramiden, a deserted Russian settlement on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, was the given site for the assignment. The abandoned town represents a unique cultural heritage site, tracing the century-old mining traditions of Svalbard's recent past. Environmental and climatic extremes as well as economic, political and cultural circumstances are all conditions that have shaped Pyramiden.
The buildings of Pyramiden have a whole story to tell and that’s why they should keep the spirit they had years ago. For this reason we decided to make the preservation at its extreme level – to make each element of the structure an exhibit. Protected from devastation by human hand, the buildings will keep changing according to the natural conditions, but still giving a spacial impression of how it looked like at the time when Pyramiden was a living organism. The story remains, exalted to our eyes.
We focused on enhancing the experience of abandonned city.To reach this target, we decided to remove the surrounding terrain in a circular shape with the radius starting at the centre of the town and ending on the top of the work elevator. Therefore the hole left is filled up with water from the sea. Thus, only the buildings will remain, each standing on its pedestal and becoming an exhibit in a huge museum. The heights of the pedestals are chosen according to the original terrain. This gives the visitor escalating feeling of monumentality as he keeps on approaching the mainland and the pedestals are getting bigger.