Archaeology Museum of Alava

Located in Vitoria, Spain This museum is located near the Palace of Bendana, currently the Naipes Fournier Museum. The architects evoked the idea of a "jewel box" containing archaeological treasures in explaining their design strategy. "We like to think of an archeology museum as a compact jewel box concealing the treasure that history has entrusted to us piece by piece," said the architect of the dark wood floors and ceilings, cross by "white glazed prisms".

The basic form of the building is all by its context and continuity, both in terms of concept and program, which it establishes with the adjoining Palace of Bendana. In the Permanent exhibition halls, the ceilings and floors are very dark. The wood floor which is almost black form a closed and dark "box". The facade walls are clad in a folded skin of bronze sheet, with pieces that are superposed or stepped depending on the lighting needs. "The facade defining the access courtyard is a grille of cast bronze pieces, a material with clear archaeological reference; and in the middle, a double-layered wall of silkscreen printed glass contains the stairs, which offer views of the courtyard as one steps up. In contrast, the facade fronting the lower street is more hermetic, and is made of an outer layer of opaque prefab pieces of cast bronze, with opening where needed, and an inner layer formed by a thick wall containing the display stands and systems." Explains Francisco Mangado the architect of the building.

The dark rooms are lite up by the light shafts that cut through the building in a slightly diagonal alignment are original and sculptural in their presence. The prisms are an exhibition piece of organization. They draw light in from the roof at daytime, and internal illumination in the night. The prisms are inlaid with graphics and information describing the items, but more importantly the light speaks of the adventure of interpretation, the metaphor that makes reference to light in a dark space, to the hope of being ale to interpret aspects from our past.

The Glass-Sided stiars are a big element in the building they guide the visitors as they travel through the significant historic periods of the region.


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