Distribution of Piscina Mirabilis - Proposal for Re-Use Italy competition

Year ︎  2020
Outcome ︎ Competition proposal 
Location ︎ Naples 
Team ︎ Lilla Árkovics, Bernadett Csendes, Attila Róbert Csóka, Virág Kiss, Szabolcs Molnár, Dávid Smiló, Marek Svobodova 

Publications ︎ Octogon.hu

Piscina Mirabilis was part of a large ecosystem of the Roman Empire, moreover one of the first attempts of terraformation with which humanity and human culture was able to spread and nourish. Nowadays, when these ancient infrastructures remain empty and idle, there is possibility to give them a new narrative, and new purpose.

By the time of history the abandoned Piscina Mirabilis became not only space for a few visitors in its mere emptiness, but a protected piece of heritage too, that is able to be introduced for the wider public. According to our proposal with the help of a new 33 years long program, it would be possible to highlight its duality: the Piscina Mirabilis can be a museum that are able to introduce pieces of art, and can be an exhibited piece of art in other museums too.

During the western history of the collection of pieces of cultural heritage, there are countless cases when whole monuments and building parts were transported from their original places and were exhibited independently of their own context. This is the way how the Pergamon Altar got place in Berlin at the Pergamon Museum and how the Nereid monument was relocated to the British Museum. If we would apply the same ideology and would think of the Piscina Mirabilis as something portable art piece, how would we distribute it?

Piscina Mirabilis is remarkable as it contains sixty-five geometrically and structurally identical vaults. The rigid repetition of vaults creates the feeling of endless possibility to experience the demarcation and the volume of the building. The architectural value of these reservoirs lies in the infinite structural logic of them - in its repetitive enfilades and at the same time in its own unique element: one unit of vault.

According to our concept the body of the Piscina Mirabilis will be cut through its structural axes, producing 33 equal pieces of vaults. These vaults will be transported to 33 different destinations, different museums and institutions around the world, becoming part of their collection, while forming a new space inside these museums. One piece of vault will stand on a pedestal that has similar cross shape to that torso which will be left behind at the Piscina. In each vault the arches would be covered with revolving doors made of mirror. These mirror doors in closed state are able to imitate the infinite enfilades from the inside of the vault, and creates the feeling of the spatial quality and endlessness of the Piscina Mirabilis far away from its original location.

The Piscina Mirabilis as a new institution will give 33 presents to museums of the world meanwhile going to build a worldwide network with these other museums. The purpose of this collaboration will be to turn the simple transportation of the vaults into an exchange program. Hence the 33 selected museums that going to have one vault from Piscina Mirabilis will give back 33 art pieces in 33 years to fulfill the large open air blank space that Piscina Miralbilis is finally going to have. In each year a different institution will be responsible to organize the process in order to produce a unique piece of contemporary art to the courtyard of the Piscina Mirabilis.

At the end of the 33 years Piscina Mirabilis is going to be the only museum of the world which is going have art pieces from the most important cultural institutions of the world.

This way Piscina Mirabilis will spread culture again without remaining the same. And it will become objects without losing its quality of being space.