OCCIDENS MUSEUM – VAILLO+IRIGARAY ARCHITECTS + GVG estudio

architects_ Antonio Vaíllo, Juan L. Irigaray + GVG estudio (Daniel Galar, Josecho Vélaz)
colaborators_ Felipe Pou, arquitecto. Javier Gil, arquitecto. Iñigo Beguiristain, arquitecto. Ángel Álvarez. Oscar Martínez. Eva Fernández
location_ Pamplona, Spain
site area_ 2 000 sqm
construction year_ 2011
cost_ 1 000 000 €
photography_ Rubén Pérez Bescos

from the architects_
OCCIDENS is not an exhibition; it’s a reflection about the West.
West is neither a civilization nor a geography, but a mental territory.

CATHEDRAL COMPLEX II c bC -XIX c
Occidens museum takes place into the Pamplona’s cathedral complex, crossing various spaces of different times: archaeological excavations II c fC-VIIIc aC, Romanesque palace, XI c,Archbishop’s Palace XII c, and the gothic constructions of the Archdeacon palace of the XIV-XVI c.

NARRATIVE PROJECT AND VARIOUS ATMOSPHERES
The Museum is conceived as a narrative project closer to a cinematographic discipline than to the conventional schemes of the museum through a discourse deployed through different frames and different reading levels: signs, images, objects, sounds, text, projections, codes, smells and atmospheres …
The project enhances the relationship between content-continent, between architecture and artworks by devising different atmospheres appropriate to each time and each space.

STEEL CARPET- GUIDING THREAD

The unity of the museum –composed of architectures of different times- is  achieved by using a carpet of steel that meanders through the various rooms of millenarian architectures floating between archaic atmospheres without touching the footprints of the past, giving unity to the whole exhibition.

The project is implemented by a single resource: a carpet of steel that works as a guiding thread of the whole exhibition sits, without touching, winding through the different rooms from different times. A single resource, flexible and ambivalent, is able to realize its potential to generating an iconography able to provide homogeneity to an uneven set in time and space.

A black steel plate 1cm thick is bent and drilled to become gangway, pavement, bench, lamp, exhibitor… the drilled texts explain while lighting, guiding and giving content to the travel…

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROYECT

 The Cathedral of Pamplona is located in the highest level of the historic city, which was founded in the year 72 bC by Pompelo over the primitive Iron Age settlement. The cathedral complex is one of the many from Europe that captures all the historical periods because so far, until XIX century the works inside the cathedral weren´t stopped. The nave and the fantastic cloister appear behind a magnificent neoclassic façade recently restored.

 

  1. MUSEUM’S LOCATION

The Occidens museum takes place into the Pamplona’s cathedral complex, crossing various spaces of different times: archaeological excavations II c bC – VIII c aC, Romanesque palace, Romanesque chapel XI c, Archbishop’s Palace XII c, gothic constructions of the Archdeacon palace of the XIV-XVI c, gothic kitchen and refectory.

 

  1. MODERNISATION, EXTENSION, REORGANISATION AND RE-INTERPRETATION

There was a small diocesan museum since 1960 which hold a sacred art collection. In the year 2012, it originates a strong renovation in many different rooms that were kept closed and also semi-abandoned. Therefore, the museum is redefined.The Museum is conceived of as a narrative project closer to a cinematographic discipline than to the conventional schemes of the museum through a discourse deployed through different frames and different reading levels: signs, images, objects, sounds, text, projections, codes, smells and atmospheres …

The project enhances the relationship between content-continent, between architecture and artworks by devising different atmospheres appropriate to each time and each space.
The unity of the museum –composed of architectures of different times- is  achieved by using a carpet of steel that meanders through the various rooms of millenarian architectures floating between archaic atmospheres without touching the footprints of the past, giving unity to the whole exhibition.

The project is implemented by a single resource: a carpet of steel that works as a guiding thread of the whole exhibition sits, without touching, winding through the different rooms from different times. A single resource, flexible and ambivalent, is able to realize its potential to generating an iconography able to provide homogeneity to an uneven set in time and space.

A black steel plate 1cm thick is bent and drilled to become gangway, pavement, bench, lamp, exhibitor… the drilled texts explain while lighting, guiding and giving content to the travel…

  1. SPEECH AND MESSAGE- INTANGIBLE HERITAGE

Archaeological research, organization of the ancient city. Traces and growth mode

Memory of events related to the place / Living traditions / Literature and music / Languages and ethnological heritage

OCCIDENS, discover the origins, offers the visitors a journey through the origin of the values ​​which are the legacy of our civilization: democracy, critical rationality, the rule of law, free economy based on private property, freedom of conscience, human rights and solidarity are achievements from the west.

Being narrated as a cinematographic script, it transmits a GLOBAL MESSAGE BASED ON LOCAL TRADITION, among the walls that lodged some of these historical and remarkable events.

The Gregorian chant and Baroque music are record live and are played personifying the “actors”.

 OCCIDENS is not just an exhibition of artwork. It is, above all, a place for reflection.

The curtain is coming down on the West as we have known it since it first saw the light of day in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. We are witnessing the birth of a new global civilisation, a civilisation born of the union of all the world’s cultures and in whose construction our own culture has a fundamental role to play: its architecture, its music, its market economy, it democratic organisation, its critical rationality, its concept of the person… are all taking on a universal character.

We would like to present the roots of the West through the history of Navarre, taking a tour of the Pamplona Cathedral Complex, a place which saw these principles and the great events leading up to them first take shape.

In so doing, we wish to discover who we are, to gain through our past a greater understanding of our present and, therefore, stand in better stead when it comes to facing up to the future.

 

  1. CONTAINER AND CONTENT- MATERIAL HERITAGE

Tangible heritage / Refurbishment of the container, which is the content itself / Removable performance

An offer to the society of the hidden heritage / A selection, preservation, restoration and incorporation of artistic work.

An action upon a Site of Cultural Interest,  Cathedral complex  formed by overlap, from the Iron Age to the early XXth century, battered by the passage of time and disuse.

The patrimonial tissue has been remade by retrieving the container, with a minimal intervention and offering the visitors the chance to enjoy for the first time the heritage which remained hidden.

A clear and outright mechanism, the insertion of the guiding element, as a carpet that respects the perimeter and floats, unifies spaces and gives content.  The total reversibility nature of the action respects the container meanwhile it enhances its value by contrast.

A selection of restored and updated outstanding artistic works is enhanced.

THE MUSEUM EXHIBS ITSELF

  1. INTERACTION- LIVING HERITAGE

You are the main character / Cultural-recreational activity / For everyone

The challenge of a heritage must be its communication.

The integration of the visitors inside the museum´s reality so that they become aware of the importance of preserving, protecting and transmitting the heritage is one of the main ideas which have been considered since the very first moment.

OCCIDENS proposes different narrative lines that allow several reading levels. Through the different languages, the spectator conforms- together with his own background experience -his own exhibition: live archaeological excavations, dynamic models which require the intervention of the spectator, the use of modern technology at the service of the millenary manuscript documents that have been digitized allows the interaction by using different materials.

 

  1. MUSEOGRAPHY AND DOCUMENTATION OF THE PROCESS-FUTURE LEGACY

The museography is incorporated at the service of the container, content and message

Documentation of the process-Living heritage- active disclosure

Museographic elements offer a speech in line with the deployment of the different narrative plot. These are submitted to the container and get integrated and therefore, they become part of the content. The whole process, from its beginning, has been documented and is being used as a media dissemination tool.

 

  1. CURATORSHIP AND DISCLOSURE- CULTURAL CATALYST

Cultural management / Citizen debate forum with current lectures / Cultural catalyst –City / Universality of the intangible heritage

 It consists on a comprehensive project, generated, coordinated, directed and carried out by  VAÍLLO+IRIGARAY: storyboard, refurbishment, architecture, museographic project, content generation, media and communication planning, catalogues, creation of cultural events…everything from a global view  which unifies and gives identity.

It consists on regaining the cultural catalyst nature that the cathedral complex always had, opening it to the society, and involving the city of its own identity.

The project goes beyond an exhibition. OCCIDENS has a universal vocation and seeks to reproduce similar exhibitions in other western countries, so that they can serve as a stimulus to reflection   and as a permanent reminder of the origins of our culture.

 

  1. PUBLIC QUALITY

The strong renovation that has been done at every level allows the visitant to enjoy the local cultural heritage with a universal vision. The location in the very heart of the city, in the Way to Santiago, it is strategic for many pilgrims from different countries, so to the people who live in Pamplona.

Therefore, it is a brochure translated into different languages such as English, French, Euskera and Spanish, which contains every one of the exhibition texts. Nowadays, there is also a general catalogue being made.

But the museum goes a further from the cultural heritage offered in the buildings and objects which are exhibit, and through different public acts, the museum pretend to open itself to the citizenship and get back were all started, to the cathedrals main origin, neuralgic heart of the city. That’s why there are talks, lectures, and temporary exhibitions from very well-known artists as Antonio López García (Spanish artist alive better valued nowadays), who has installed two sculptures in the cathedral access.

The accessibility of disabled people has been considered, suppressing for that reason the physical barriers from the old buildings. Furthermore, the way of displaying the message it is related with all the sensitive perceptions and the lack of one of it doesn´t mean enjoying fewer the experience. There are specific programs for people with visual incapacity or hearing impairment.

Projection technologies, augmented reality and digital books have been used in a way so they increase the experience. Tons of documents from the cathedral´s master file have been digitalized and are shown to the public through interactive tools, appreciating them despite their conservation rules, which made them impossible to offer directly to the public.

The nature of the speech provides information designed to be open to people of many different educational backgrounds and intellectual abilities. And because of this, it is also attractive to adults and children. The result is a fantastic reception on the part of the citizenship and public institutions, which see how the cultural attractiveness has increased considerably, spreading the cultural heritage and the history through an optimistic message, but also realistic, of the future that between all we built. A message that brings all cultures even closer one to other from respect and promotes human rights and democracy values inside the society.

 

The West is not a civilisation or a geography; it is a territory of the mind which provides a horizon of humanity, based on freedom, solidarity and human dignity.