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Project strip 1-Mirabilis.jpg


(Team: Ana Luisa Rolim, Isabella Trindade, Vera Freire and Eduardo Santos)


The competition entry proposes a museum within the former cistern, Piscina Mirabilis, aiming to establish an 'archaeological route' connecting Roman Empire vestiges in the Bacoli region. By maximizing cultural value and identity, the museum plays a key role in the region's heritage.


Respecting Cesare Brandi's principle of distinguishability, the design preserves the monument's architectural features while adding contemporary elements for viewing art. Utilizing the voids of the cistern's structure, a floating path reminiscent of the Augustan aqueduct is introduced, creating a dynamic space for art and movement.


Visitors are guided through the museum via a glass bridge and cantilevered platform, descending into the atrium below street level. Along the floating path, sculptures evoke Giacometti's works, complementing the massive structural piers.


Whimsical staircases allow visitors to view the space from different heights, leading to a new exhibition space below the ruin's footprint, visible through underwater skylights. A lower-level space houses contemporary art exhibitions, conference rooms, and facilities, offering views of the monument through ocular skylights.


The rooftop is transformed into a public space with a reflective pool mirroring the aqueduct path below, creating a cooling element. Streets surrounding the museum are pedestrianized, emphasizing the monument's significance.

Exhibition level 1: the new floating path between existing piers is immersed into a reflective pool

The territorial scale: the proposal aims to establish an ‘archaeological route’ connecting landmarks of the Roman Empire in the Bacoli region

The ruin’s rooftop becomes a public space with a winding reflective pool that responds to the aqueduct path on the lower level

Longitudinal section: What once stored water now houses art and movement, transforming the former voids into what Louis Kahn has called a ‘society of spaces’.

The new roof deck translates the shape of the Roman Aqueduct

The new limestone roof deck pays homage to this typical Southern Italy material, featuring a sculptural bench and inclined planes that relate to the old aqueduct’s configuration.

Ground floor plan with reception desk and viewing platform towards the spaces below

View towards lower level featuring whimsical staircases which represent the shorter branches of the former aqueduct

The path through art on lower level 1

A floating path through sculptures is placed amidst the cistern piers, creating a counterpoint to these massive structural elements.

Mezzanine and lower level 2 floor plans: the descend towards the exhibition spaces are gradual, inviting visitors to explore the ruin

View from atrium on lower level 2: a new and flexible exhibition space with soft-edge translucent volumes (conference room and toilets)

Framed by a sinusoidal concrete slab alluding to the ancient vaults, visitors are granted unprecedented views of the monument through ocular skylights

Longitudinal section: bringing a new space within the former cistern

Lower level 2 can be accessed at the end of the floating path on level 1

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