The architectural artifacts discovered in an excavation in Antakya near St. Pierre Church (an important Christian pilgrimage site;) directed the employer formerly planning to build a five-star hotel, to building a museum-hotel on the site. The dichotomy between the public program of the archeological park and the private use of the hotel becomes a major input in the design process. The artifacts discovered during the excavations and the physical and sociological characteristics of Antakya act as primary sources of contextual information.
The hotel, a placeless building-type defined by its own programmatic codes; turns itself inside out to deal with the specific characteristics of this unique situation and place. The project will be situated on a site characterized by archeological artifacts. In order to deal with this unique situation the program elements are treated as individual units and spread across the site under the protective canopy, rather than building a compact introverted building.
The configuration of the artifacts discovered on site determines the exact location of the columns. The composite columns are situated in the former riverbed that goes through the middle of the site and on the periphery in order to minimize any potential damage to the artifacts. The canopy supported by these columns acts both as a marker for the archeological park and as a platform housing program elements such as the ballroom, meeting rooms, swimming pool and fitness center. This platform provides vistas to the city and St.Pierre Hill and continues the local tradition of roof terraces. Slits on the platform act as skylights for the archeological site below and provide a visual connection between the artifacts and the hotel amenities located on the platform.
The main hotel structure consists of piled up prefabricated hotel-room units. The rooms placed on the steel sub-structure are connected the main circulation with walkways and bridges. The rooms are located under the main canopy and this semi-open space provides an inner world where one can experience the climate and local conditions and has visual contact with the excavation site. Terraces and gardens located under the canopy strengthen the experience. The lobby, restaurant and lounge are located on the lower levels near the archeological site. The hotel with its fragmented characteristics becomes a site-specific building without compromising spatial standards.
The open-air circulation path composed of ramps and bridges, allows visitors to experience the archeological park from different perspectives. The InfoBox marks the beginning of the path and displays information about the artifacts found on the site.
The pre-fabricated components of the hotel help minimize in-situ fabrication. The building is assembled on site rather than being built there, and reminds one of the temporary structures built by archeologists during the excavation.
Text provided by Emre Arolat Architects