Text description provided by the architects. Winning the national contest for the rehabilitation of the Theresia Bastion (the first of the nine Vauban Bastions which formed the defense system of Timisoara, built between 1738-1738), a Class A Monument according to the National List of Monuments in Romania, represented a both difficult and extraordinary professional experience.
The concept theme catered on reintegrating and defining a new urban pole by applying creativity on the public space – an area in which too little has been invested in the past twenty years in Romania.
Part of a structure from the 18th century concerning the image or the volume, it profoundly changed in the past years due to the development of the city in the central area, which brought around new functions (bank headquarters, the seat of the Chamber of Architects Timis, the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, the Medicine Faculty). As such it was a space in greed need to be opened and reinvented for a developing society, which learns to take charge of its urban life.
At first, the project was supposed to tackle only some infrastructure issues, but at a thorough analysis we discovered that the site, found at the edge of the historical core of the city (completely rebuilt after conquest of the by the Austro – Hungarian Empire in 1716), had a much higher potential. We decided to underline this potential, by using the following main guidelines:
• Implement cultural and socializing functions in a space currently forgotten
• Define a new urban space by redesigning the Honour Court and connect this space with the existing square framework of city
• Reassemble the image of the monument through a careful restoration process, moreover as the city intents become a candidate for the European Cultural Capital title in 2020.
We paid a great attention to the potential of the indoor spaces or the spaces currently unused (as such, the attic became an exhibition space) as well as to defining new contemporary volumes mostly for cultural use. The intervention concept is based on the following principles:
• eliminate cement mortars and the concrete poured during the 1970’s restoration process, as well as the interventions on the historical surfaces due to the use of such materials
• insert all the plumbing and electrical installations through the floor or by using metal supports, thus reducing to the minimum the intervention in the historical core of the building
• Use new, reversible materials, easy to eliminate in the following interventions.
• subtly accentuate the contemporary intervention
• intervene on the existing materials with care and only after through studies
We chose materials that age nicely, in an easy contrast with the historical surface - copper-sheets, wooden carpentry with non-ferous metallic inserts, plasters and paints based on lime, as well as metal structures easy to eliminate. The floors are installed on sand, using historical technologies. As a support for the whole monuments, we used a limestone, which hides the spaces in the courtyard, increases the potential thorough contrast and reinvents unused places.