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Retracing Pella

6IEAP - 1057
German Jordanian University / jo Jordan
1 members
Aqel Abueladas

Project type:

Pella “Tabqat Fahel” is strategically located in the northern part of Jordan Valley and considered one of the oldest settlements in Jordan which consists of 7 historical periods along with several unique archaeological sites thus made Pella get nominated and currently be on the waiting list of UNESCO’s world heritage list. Also, It is still under archaeological excavation from international workshops. Unfortunately, Pella is not being well recognized locally and is under the threat of vandalism and destruction. Also, not well organized excavations as some archaeological remains is left not covered after excavating them. Therefore, and architectural intervention was vital to the area.

The intervention laid in creating an Archaeological and Awareness Center in Pella that serves archaeologists and gives the local community and site visitors the opportunity to learn more about Pella’s archaeological history throughout a journey that exhibits the different layers of the site while also merging the visitors with archaeologists through workshops to raise the awareness on the importance of Pella’s archaeology.

Design strategies that emerged from the challenges of the site:
• The site is sensitive since it still has archaeological remains some of which are still unexcavated. Therefore, the main challenge was selecting a building plot for the project that does not affect these remains yet creates a good connection between them. After several studies and analysis the DIG HOUSE plot matched all these requirements and was chosen.
• Keeping the site as original looking as possible and preserving the existing trees and without forced external architectural intervention.

The program has a dual functionality; Archaeological Center and Awareness Center. In addition, the functions serve the visitors on permanent basis with some temporary activities during certain times.
• Permanent: Classrooms, workshop rooms, offices, labs, cleaning and sorting rooms, archiving preparation room, active archiving, rest rooms/changing rooms and the main exhibition.
• Temporary : A reversable structure to host accommodations and sorting shelters for artifacts. Added when there is a workshop in site for maximum 2 months.

The journey starts with a descending, long walking path between ground layers reaching the Reception Area/Welcoming courtyard slightly hinting the project to the visitor. The path continues to take you down through ground layers passing through courtyards, workshop rooms, archaeologists offices, analysis labs and other functions to let the visitor experience the layering of Pella’s history through archaeology. The courtyards serve as a small outdoor exhibition points, they also supply the surrounding rooms with sun and ventilation. The courtyards are chronologically ordered from the newest period “Islamic Period” to the oldest period “Neolithic Era”, each courtyard is designed in a way that represents the period it belongs to and displays remains from its period.

The lowest level of the project represents the end of the journey, where the visitor arrives to the main exhibition hall after passing by all historical courtyard layers, the exhibition displays the recently found archaeological artifacts from nearby archaeological expeditions. From the exhibition hall a vertical core lifts the visitor up to an outstanding view of Pella’s archaeological sites overlooking the Jordan valley.

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