Kéré Architecture has placed first in a competition to design a protective shelter on the UNESCO-protected Meroe Royal Baths in Sudan, North Africa. Believed to have served nearby palaces from the great African Kingdom of Kush (now modern-day Sudan), the Meroe Royal Baths were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and is the focus of joint research by the German Archaeological Institute and the National Corporation for Antiques and Museums. Still marked by temples, palaces and over two hundred pyramids, the ruins of Meroe are a testimony to the exchanges of culture between the Mediterranean and Africa. Find out more about the proposal after the break.
Kéré Architecture’s proposal for a protective shelter preserves and celebrates the heritage of the site. Using local clay and stone, the shelter offers a contemporary yet humble design. A 60 centimeter thick mud brick wall protects against natural eroding forces outside, and maintains a stable interior climate. Natural ventilation and humidity control is promoted with the use of vaulted brick ceilings and courtyards, helping preserve artifacts.
Semi-suspended walkways allow visitors to experience the historic ruins, which include a bathing pool, an opulently decorated wall, and an exedra with four majestic seats. To minimize damage to the ruins, a combination of foundations and structural systems work together to support all new construction. Furthermore, the shelter maintains its structural stability while allowing for further research and excavation to continue.