In the heart of Aachen, within view of its famed cathedral, is the city’s most beloved inner-city park, the Elisen Garden. During extensive archeological excavations amazing discoveries were made: spanning from the Neolithic period (4700 BC) to the high and late Middle Ages (ca. 910-1500) there is evidence of all essential periods of the history of settlement in Aachen from the birth of Christ to the present.
In order to preserve this discovery and so that the public can experience it, an area of 60m² was to be roofed with a protective shell, where two-meter deep excavations overlap. The architectural concept of the competition-winning design of the archaeological pavilion parallels the particularity of the site – the layers of various settlement structures of several eras of urban history of Aachen find an echo in the design of a pavilion with multilayered elements.
With conscious dissociation from the common glass vitrines found throughout the urban context, a stainless steel construction encases the necessary glass enclosure. An exciting in-between zone is thus created, opening up to the surrounding park inviting one to rest or engage with the urban history – a contemplative refuge in the midst of urban bustle. The outside shell consists of two delicate layers of diagonally overlapping steel profiles. The inner vitrine provides the second shell in the form of a glass enclosure. It enables various perspectives of the excavation site, regulates the natural air flow, and protects the spectacular finds. At the same time it serves as a resource of information: a revolving timeline, a site map as well as a compact and clearly arranged illustration of the found structures and artifacts (printed on a light translucent film), informing the visitor without obscuring the vision of the site.
+ Project facts
typology exhibition pavilion
construction volume gfa 160m², volume 590m³
client City of Aachen supported by DSA – Daten- und Systemtechnik GmbH
competition 1st prize 2009
project manager Benjamin Beckers, Jonas Kröber
project partner Dirk Zweering photographer Jens Kirchner, Jörg Hempel
+ All images courtesy Jens Kirchner, Jörg Hempel
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