Eptagwnia Museum and Cultural Center Competition – First Prize

Location : Eptagwnia, Cyprus
Building type : Cultural
Size    : 1000 s.m.
Schedule     : Expected completion 2015

The project attempts to reinterpret the experience of the vernacular interior courtyard of the Cypriot village house to the scale of the community, creating the opportunity for the experience of a social gathering. A ramp which begins from the existing road and church becomes the main architectural element which connects the upper and lower plots. This together with the transparency of the individual buildings which occupy it along the way, help to orchestrate the new cultural, religious and engaging center of the community. This can become the center for local events but also for the neighboring community of villages.

The ‘circular’ ramp helps to frame the outdoors spaces and also allows views into the lower courtyards, reinforcing the idea of visual communication between the different levels and functions. It becomes the connecting element between existing and proposed buildings and uses. The ramp helps to connect spaces horizontally but also vertically where architectural protrusions occur. Entrance to the lobby, the library, and the coffee shop become visual ‘resting points’ along the way but also act as vertical circulation nodes. These offers alternative scenarios of use by the visitor/user.

The organization of the different functions and spaces introduced becomes interdependent with the central outdoor space at both levels and with the existing buildings on the upper level. These can function independently but also facilitate circulation among the different spaces and the two different levels. The library can become a passage from the lower level to the upper level and the coffee shop can also function as an entry point to the cultural center and the existing buildings above.

Existing and proposed spaces and passages set the boundaries to the vast natural landscape surrounding the site. This is more critical to the east, unlike the west where the village is allowed to unobtrusively flow into the proposed square and the uses that surround it. Furthermore there is a conscious effort to maintain a scale of spaces and buildings that while conversing with the expansive landscape can sustain the intimacy of village life.