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The symbol of the Column within the history of the Romanians has a mythical
dimension. The amazing story of the peasant Badea Cartan going to Rome to
connect and be connected with the foundation of the Dacian Latinity: the project of
building the Column that is lasting for 150 years, time dimension that can be
compared with the building of Gothic cathedrals; all these legends put this Copy of
the Trajan Column with its own history at the centre, as a milestone and iconic image
of The History of this nation. | Hence it is a natural choice to build the entire museum
around The Column. | But this is a copy! It is just a copy. A copy always remains as
a copy, and no matter if it is or isn’t Place Vendome or another famous place it will
not be the same as the original in the Trajan’s Forum. The history of the other
Trajan’s Column in Place Vendome, Paris, certifies of the fragile status of a copy
when it is deemed to be “a monument”. | But this should not be the case here. | What
matters is the ‘written-in-stone’ history that stays. What also matters is how to bring
this history alive again. How to make it visible to the public, how to let it follow the
Roman conquest, stage by stage, in a spiral that led to the new era, the Latin
civilisation of the Area. This is a huge papyrus that we, mortal humans, are
supposed to read by building a structure around it. Then, after reading it, it becomes
more understandable and it radiates in the entire nearby area. However it should
also be read as a document and seen as a … Kaleidoscope. | Through It the scenes
of the Column will dismantle themselves and travel through the space of the
courtyard. | This should be the layout of the project; a place for a column. Let’s not
build an amphitheater for those who want to see the monument, but an Anatomical
Theatre as those of the Baroque period, a place for students not for worshippers. |
The scenic ‘mis-en-place’ is there. A large peristyle links the inner yard with Calea
Victoriei Street. The gates lead to the pedestrian zone of the old city. The Nave
(‘Naos’) is there. Europe has got this space in the British Museum and in the inner
covered places of other classic museums. Let it be here too. The decision is to open
the doors of the building and to have a public open space from the Entrance in Calea
Victoriei to the entrances in Postei, covering the inner court with a glazed membrane
that takes different shapes. | The artefacts of the museum shouldn’t be dead matter.
Bringing them alive is the purpose of Restoration. This is an activity that should be
seen and should interact with the public. Hence the other decision is to make the
Restoration Work visible and to link it with the visitors. Then, the first basement level
is to be a place for encounters between visitors and Restoration. All the restoration
workshops have large bays toward the public space.These public spaces are fitted
with the classrooms for School groups and connected activities. The Reference area
will no longer be a buried treasure but one of the jewels on which the rest of the
Museums lays. | A minimalistic approach to interventions in the Monumental 19th
century Building is another principle. The building is keeping its aspect of a large
bureaucratic institution and this is not to be destroyed; because in the end, the
History also absorbs that of the Postal service. Hence interventions are kept in
clarifying the grand design of the building and facilitating the routes. The stairs and
lifts are there to serve the different spaces but the building remains the one that
delivered the post. The grand intervention here is the opening of the claustrophobic
museum space toward the inner courtyard. Further interventions consist of
transforming the roofs over the balconies on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors; these are
areas where the visitors stop and return to continue their tour. | The top of the
building is to be the fulfilment of the journey, and it is prepared to be so. On the last
level of each side of the complex there are spaces that await to become significant.
The domes at the front of the building will become cafeterias; the addition of
mechanical devices will open the sides of the domes allow a panoramic view of the
old city of Bucharest. | Both Auditorium and Library will be accessible by the ramp
that surrounds the Column. The movement will continue with paths suspended from
the ceiling providing this space with the required importance. | Terraces will be
formed by extending the roof to float over the building; these terraces will lead to
panoramic views over Stavropoleos church, St. Dumitru church and square and over
the inner courtyard. These spaces will become social lounges providing the
necessary meeting areas. | Mixing the transit function with the liveable space
concept in this 50.000 sqm area could be an issue. There is a major risk of this
space becoming a pilgrimage area which does not enable the interaction with living
history but with a dead one instead. The history has to stay alive inside this
perimeter. | The Museum should come to life as a vast lounge area where students
and tourists meet, discover and recreate the History. However accessibility is an
essential part of this. As we have pointed out, the ground floor level is mainly open
for the public interested in history but it is also dedicated to those who do not have
any historical interest but are happy with observing history from the sidelines. This
space includes a large ticketing and transit area as well as a large cloakroom. In
addition to these for marketing, study and newsrooms as well as cafeterias and
resting areas are also situated on this floor level. | The access to the basement level
is also free as long as these areas include activities leading to them becoming
learning space. | Tickets are electronic and gates are supposed to permit access to
different areas on the upper floor levels. Gates are to be installed as well on the main
ramp and at the entrances to each section of the exhibition. They will also provide
access to the Auditorium as well as to the Library.