shortlisted project

A house for Ötzi / A haven between Bolzano and Bozen

by Jonas Vanbelle from KU Leuven – Faculty of Architecture – Campus Sint-Lucas Ghent: Master in de Architectuur (Dutch course), Belgium
Tutored by: Paul Robbrecht

Author comments:

The iceman died 5,000 years ago and rose again from a glacier close to Bolzano as a natural mummy. The mystery surrounding his person has an enormous attraction for everyone who studies and visits him.

Bolzano or Bozen
These two names for one city communicate at once that it is a place of contrasts and differences. We are on Italian territory; the culture is German, while we are spoken to in Italian. A fantastic past still characterises the city. It is precisely this contrast that constitutes the basis of this city and provides a unique flavour. The concept of compromise takes shape here. Where black and white come together, a beautiful and variegated grey is created that will sometimes tend more toward white and sometimes more toward black. Taking this fundamental controversial fact as a point of departure, the design becomes a quest for grey.

The design builds continually on the tension between two fractious opponents. Black and white is originally opposites, but a compromise produces an unexpected attractive grey that also has a spatial translation. Little by little, central frictions become apparent around which the museum gains its shape.

The design seeks to create a spot where both towns can flourish. This involves respect for the past, but at the same time the daring to develop innovative compromises. It was clear from the beginning that the museum had to be a connection and a haven between Bozen and Bolzano.

Tutor comments:

My student studied the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, which preserves the remains of Ötzi, a 5000-year-old mummified man who was found on a glacier high in the mountains of South Tyrol. The student takes this fact as the basis for reflection on the general culture of the past and the present. His project shows a wide range of architectural identities, bound together in an intriguing ensemble. Contrast, the relation between base and tower, and the inweaving of different tectonic patterns are all ingeniously and idiosyncratically incorporated .

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