The competition aimed for a new building to host the Visigoth Collection of the Roman Museum at Merida. Located on a site neighbouring the Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre, the plot holds an interesting existing archaeological remains that ought to be part of the new museum. This condition begot the main technical and programmatic feature of the competition´s brief, given the minimum structural support allowed on the ground.
The exhibitions layout is organized by means of a continuous floor slab that runs from street level to the accessible roof terrace, conceived as a public viewpoint to the Roman complex and the city . The itinerary sews together the different inner and outer spaces as it runs form the conditioned areas through the open courtyards. There is a strong visual relation between the exhibiting and working areas. The visitors look into the restoration and archaeological workshops as they walk the museum. This is one of the main intentions of the architectural concept as the contents of the museum are permanently increased as new excavations discover remains; the pieces are permanently being restored.
The building is conceived as a minimum energy-consumption construction. Local climate is rather extreme during the summer so the concept of an inside looking building takes command. The enclosure must provide solar protection but versatile enough to allow views and ventilation. The material is a continuous hygrothermic skin of terracotta panels in the shape of early Visigoth motives.
The narrow courtyards are natural ventilation funnels and as the building rises one floor from the ground, the obvious different pressure refrigerates the whole building.
As solar thermal panels are not allowed (by Heritage planning) the building implies geothermal production through a series of energy nodes plugged 30 meters into the ground. They exchange the temperature maintaining the constant 20º Celsius of the ground.