courtesy Getty Conservation Institute and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus

The following is an Aug. 11 press release from the Getty Conservation Institute announcing that, with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, the organizations have selected the London-based firm Hugh Broughton Architects the winner of their latest international design competition in Cyprus, Greece.

The Getty Conservation Institute and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus have named Hugh Broughton Architects the winner of an international competition to design protective shelter prototypes at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nea Pafos in Cyprus.

In 2019, the GCI and DoA launched the competition to advance the conservation and management of this important archaeological site.

“It has been a privilege to develop ideas for shelter prototypes at Nea Pafos and we are thrilled to have been selected as winners of the design competition,” said Hugh Broughton, director at Hugh Broughton Architects. “We have proposed solutions which minimize physical and visual impact on the site and make best use of sustainable passive design techniques to protect the remarkable Roman mosaics and archaeology. Our designs reflect a creative and methodical collaboration between architects, conservation specialists, and engineers, all of whom are looking forward to working in partnership with the GCI and DoA to develop proposals to preserve the future of this stunning historic place.”

Since 2018, GCI and DoA have been developing a conservation and management plan to guide the preservation of Nea Pafos (also known as Nea Paphos), one of the richest sites of mosaic pavements in the eastern Mediterranean region with significant remains from the Hellenistic, Roman, early Christian, and Byzantine periods, as well as Frankish and Ottoman monuments. The construction of protective shelters is imperative in order to secure and present the mosaic pavements and other excavated remains for the future.

In fall 2019, the GCI and DoA issued a Call for Expression of Interest from architectural design firms worldwide. From the many responses received, six firms were shortlisted: Carmody Groarke, Cullinan Studio, Studio Gionata Rizzi, Hugh Broughton Architects, Machado Silvetti, and Sela Jaymes Architects (working in association with Gort Scott).

The firms were asked to develop concept designs for two shelter prototypes: the first for the Villa of Theseus, which includes a surviving panel from the life of Achilles, a mosaic depicting Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, and a bath complex with several beautiful geometric mosaics; and the second for the House of Orpheus, to protect a mosaic that depicts the battle between Heracles and the Lion of Nemea and another that features Orpheus surrounded by animals listening to his divine music, in addition to a smaller bath complex.

courtesy Getty Conservation Institute and the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus

The detailed design brief for the competition, developed by GCI and DoA with an international group of experts in conservation and protective shelters, included numerous requirements: most critically, to ensure the protection of the fragile remains from human and environmental threats; to connect the design to the site and setting; to create conditions for viewing the mosaics and facilitating circulation of visitors; and to use sustainable materials and systems. The shortlisted firms visited Nea Pafos with the DoA and other experts to help conceptualize their prototypes.

The concept designs were evaluated by an international jury composed of GCI and DoA staff, as well as independent international experts in conservation, archaeology, architectural design, and structural and environmental engineering—all with past experience at archaeological or historic sites. The jury was chaired by Pamela Hawkes, FAIA, Professor of Practice in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design and Principal with Scattergood Design in Portland, Maine.

The jury found Hugh Broughton Architects’ design concept for a shelter prototype the most comprehensive and well-balanced response to the complex criteria established by the design brief, with priority given to protection of the mosaics. The structural design with its column-free interior and innovative surface-bearing foundations minimizes physical impacts on the archaeological fabric, while providing protection from seismic, wind uplift, and tsunami hazards.

“The design of shelters on archaeological sites is a complex undertaking that must balance a number of competing demands,” said Jeanne Marie Teutonico, associate director for strategic initiatives and publications at the GCI. “Hugh Broughton Architects’ creative and thoughtful design concept provides protection for the site’s mosaics with structures that are sustainable and sensitive to the archaeological context.”

The proposal also demonstrates understanding of other environmental threats to the mosaics, such as those posed by ground salts, which are addressed through carefully considered passive controls. The shelter prototypes, with their hip roofs and use of local vernacular materials, are compatible with other structures on the archeological site and in the adjacent city. The simplicity of the interior design does not compete visually with the mosaics and other archaeological fabric on view. The shelters can be expanded or replicated using the “kit of parts” approach proposed by the team, with materials that are locally available and easily replaceable.

“The protection of the mosaics of the important UNESCO World Heritage archeological site of Nea Pafos, which are of unique value, is among the priorities of the DoA,” said Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. “For this reason, it was decided to collaborate with the GCI for the creation of a Conservation and Management Plan, as well as for initiating this international competition for shelter designs which will protect the sensitive archaeological remains. The concept design developed by Hugh Broughton Architects considers the main criteria put forward as part of the competition, such as the need to preserve the integrity of the site and the broader area, and other environmental factors and visitation issues. The proposal will be finalized following discussions with the DoA and GCI and will be implemented based on governmental procedures.”

Hugh Broughton’s team includes conservation specialists Martin Ashley Architects, structural engineers Expedition Engineering, environmental consultancy Harley Haddow, and cost consultants Jackson Coles.