Museum of Copan Archaeology Part II

MUSEUM OF COPAN ARCHAEOLOGY. PART II.This studio will be concerned with the design of a new facility for the Museum of Copan Archaeology, located in the town of Copan Ruinas (Honduras), adjacent to the archaeological park of Copan. This will be the second phase of a study that will complete a design investigation we begun in the spring of 2006. As in the first phase, students will be asked to produce design alternatives for a comprehensive museum facility devoted to exhibiting the history and artifacts of the cultures that evolved in the valley of Copan from 1200 BC to the times of the Spanish colonization. But this second phase will explore and generate design hypothesis responding to a different set of variables and conditions than the first. Chiefly among them two different locations for the Museum: while in the first phase we conceived of the new Museum as a continuous part of the archaeological park experience exploring the interrelationship between the building and its natural settings, this year we will envision this new facility as distant from the ruins and as part of the historic urban fabric of the town of Copan Ruinas in two urban sites – a condition that generates a unique set of constraints and opportunities and for which a series of programmatic changes and distortions will be necessary. Throughout the semester we will explore different alternative designs for the program provided by the team at the Harvard Peabody Museum and the Instituto Hondureno de Arqueologia e Historia (IHAH), which have been involved in direct work at the site for decades. Specifically, as byproducts of our work, this two-part design/research project intends to provide these two sponsoring institutions with programmatic and technical information about the needs of this museum, site studies and design alternatives, as well as a context for the discussion of formal, aesthetic and expressive related issues. Special attention will be given to interpreting the specific requirements of an archaeological museum and its exhibition needs as different from the typical art museum, and to the very distinct local conditions of extreme tropical climate and available construction technology. In addition, this year and in response to is central location a fully developed program for visitor\’s services will be included.The studio will receive direct assistance at the beginning of the semester from the Peabody Museum in the form of introductory lectures on Mayan/Copan civilization and exhibition techniques, guided visits to their Galleries and Collections at their Museum on campus, and would accompany and guide the studio during the on-site, fully funded visit to Copan Ruins and its Archaeological Park during the second week of the semester. Funding for studio travel is provided by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Harvard Peabody Museum. In addition, other Harvard Faculty will provide technical assistance, and some students who participated in the first phase during the Spring 06 will join early on to transmit their experience. Studio will meet on Tuesday and Thursdays. Given the charge we received from the sponsors the studio will focus and aim at producing a fully developed conceptual architectural design. To achieve this in a semester time architectural design experience at the level of Graduate School Studio Options will be required. Enrollment is not recommended for students without such experience.While the first and only obligation of the Studio is pedagogic, the work produced in the studio hopes to serve our colleagues at Harvard and our friends in Honduras at the end of this two phase/two studios exploration with a useful demonstration in the form of twenty four complete conceptual projects that explore and exhibit the possibilities of the chosen sites, the accuracy of their program and diverse and possible architectural expressions that the museum